Posted: October 28th, 2010 | No Comments »

A message to all friends, fans and those curious about Taqwacore and the documentary:

TAQWACORE: The Birth of Punk Islam (the documentary) is now available for download in North America.  If you live in the U.S. you can purchase and download the film from Doc Channel U.S.A.’s online store.

For residents of Canada, you can now purchase the film from iTunes Canada.  Go to the movies tab, and scroll down to TAQWACORE and other Music Docs to find the film (or just type in Taqwacore: The Birth of Punk Islam in their search).

Please help us spread the word by forwarding this information  to all friends and contacts who’d be interested.  For those holding out for an official TAQWACORE: Birth of Punk Islam DVD release, you can help by requesting the film at NetFlix or your local video rental chain.



Posted: September 12th, 2010 | No Comments »

Hey everybody in the Toronto area, check out this cool new film by Morrocan-Swiss-Montreal filmmaker Halima Ouardiri.  Its very arty, beautiful, strange, mystical and totally Taqwacore in its own way.  In these ‘burn a quran’, ‘ground zero mosque’ days, I think we have to support daring Muslim filmmakers who express their unique point-of-view.  This film is the start of a new wave. Details below.

a film by halima ouardiri


WORLD PREMIERE at the Toronto International Film Festival


Tuesday September 14 at 7:30 pm
Wednesday September 15 at 4:30 pm

Based on a true story, Mokhtar recounts the tale of a young boy who lives with his family of goatherds in aremote, Moroccan village. One day, the boy finds a fallen owl and decides to keep it, despite the fact that the owl is considered a bad omen. Mokhtar’s new pet becomes a symbol of rebellion against his family and an icon of his fledgling independence. Kinship, religion and spirituality are all confronted in this film that celebrates inner and outer strength.
EyeSteelFilm presents “MOKHTAR” Featuring ABDALLAH ICHIKI, S’FIA MOUSSA & OMAR BELARBI, Editor HÉLÈNE GIRARD, Cinematography DURAID MUNAJIM Sound Design BRUNO PUCELLA Production Design BRAHIM BATTA Original Music by RADWAN MOUMNEH Associate producer BOB MOORE Executive Producer DANIEL CROSS Produced by HALIMA OUARDIRI & MILA AUNG-THWIN Written and Directed by HALIMA OUARDIRI

Running time: 15 minutes / Language: Tachelhit (subtitled in English)


Posted: April 21st, 2010 | No Comments »

Taqwacore: The Birth of Punk Islam is having its Boston Premiere tomorrow night at the IFFBOSTON (Independent Film Festival of Boston).  It’s playing at the Somerville 4 theatre in Somerville, MA at 7:15 followed by a Q&A with The Kominas, Michael Muhammad Knight, and myself (the filmmaker).

And after that – the KOMINAS bring the noise over at the ROSEBUD BAR. 9pm onwards.  So MASS. come on out and get the full story — Taqwacore, Muslim Bollywood Punk, Jihadi rappers, and all sorts of haram.  To quote The Pixies in their exquistie punk masterpiece UMASS – “And here’s the best part….IT’S EDUCATIONAL.”


Posted: April 12th, 2010 | No Comments »

Message from The Kominas (straight from the mothership…):

In case you haven’t heard the news yet…We have been nominated by the Boston Phoenix as Boston’s best punk band, so we’re asking you guys to support us during the online ballot this month. The winner gets some really great Boston shows and other goodies, so we’d really appreciate the help and if you could spread that shit like wildfire to everyone you know. Make sure to CAST your ballot. Just follow the on-screen instructions and you should be fine (submit, cast, cast again during email registration). Here’s the link, and thanks so much for all your support over the years:



Posted: April 12th, 2010 | No Comments »

Check out My Film Blog on:


Where I’m posting about the various influences that went into making TAQWACORE: The Birth of Punk Islam.


Posted: March 22nd, 2010 | No Comments »

I’ve taken the invitation to join the bloggers over at Lorber Films on the My Film Blog website.  I will be posting my filmmakers blog through My Film Blog and will be posting announcements and aggragating other relevant Taqwacore news here.  Please feel free to check out my first entry on highlights from our showcase at SxSW Film Fest 2o10.

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Posted: March 2nd, 2010 | No Comments »


Message from Basim Usmani:

The banks of Lake Ontario will turn red on March 11th. The Kominas return to the Great White North for Canadian Music Week 2010.  They’d previously annexed the T-Dot at the El Mocambo following the premiere of the documentary   TAQWACORE: The Birth of Punk Islam (taqwacore.com) last November.  These Boston-based taqwa-punks sliced through the United states, slaughtering the infidels of the north-east, arriving at the pagan Sundance Film Festival – where the fiction-film adaptation of Michael Mummahad Knight’s The Taqwacores was screened (www.mtv.com/videos/movie-trailers/471188/the-taqwacores.html)

The Kominas are eager to crush idolators at the REVIVAL BAR on Saturday March 11th with their blend of Punk, Qawwali, Ska and Bhangra (a.k.a. Skawunkara), with help of the Tabla Guy – Gurpreet Singh.

We are eager to take interviews, offer our cd for reviews, and revel in all the media attention you can give us. Or die!



Posted: February 19th, 2010 | No Comments »

So very very cool.  The SENSURROUND Music Film Festival is Malmoe, Sweden is having a screening of TAQWACORE: The Birth of Punk Islam.  Two graffiti artists, Joakim Starkenberg and Osian Theselius, have transfered the wall of a parking lot into a piece of Taqwa-Art promoting the screening on the 25th of feb at Inkonst in Malmoe (http://www.inkonst.com) .  Also following the screening, Michael Muhammad Knight will present some kind of Taqwa-Seminar, or something.

I don’t understand it, but the Swedes love us!  We’ve played at Gottenburg, this festival and the upcoming Tempo Film Festival.  I may not understand where all this love comes from, but to the people of Sweden – we love you too. 

Click here to see video piece.

Click here to see video piece.


Posted: February 17th, 2010 | 1 Comment »

For the first six months that TAQWACORE: The Birth of Punk Islam has played in theatres and festivals across the globe, people are dying to ask me the same question.  It either takes the form of “Have you gotten any death threats?”  or “Have you received a fatwa?” or “What do Muslims think of your film?”  And I’ve been happy to defy stereotypes by grinning and replying that the result has been overwhelmingly positive.  About the worst comment I got was from a Muslim Auntie who told me that she wouldn’t want her son to see the film (and that of course, pleased my inner punk).

No, for every showing of the film so far has only brought me the the young faces of supportive Muslim men and women, who having heard about this whole thing, came to check it out because they related to taqwacore or thought they might relate to the ideas in the film.

The last two weeks, however, has revealed some new hostile moments.  A young woman, and her posse, walked out of the screenings we had in Ottawa (MAYFAIR theatre, you guys still rock!).  She told me that she thought I was bashing Islam.  I tried to argue my point-of-view back, but she told me she wasn’t interested.  The best I got from here was a half-hearted promise to give the film another chance someday when she felt she could handle watching it.  Part of me felt an adreline rush of excitement, after all the film was pushing buttons and provoking responses – and hey that’s punk, right?  But the difficulty is feeling that you can’t talk to both sides — that you have to be in one camp or another.  The best moments of the film ephasize the possibility that one doesn’t have to exclude one for the other, so as the young woman walked out, I did feel a pang inside – like I’d failed her with the film’s rude punk posturing and that I’d missed an opportunity to reach someone in a kinder, gentler way.

But that was nothing compared to the emails that have started to pop up in the inbox telling me how I’m going to burn in hell.  Couldn’t say it was totally unexpected, given our current social climate, but still knocks the wind out of you a bit.  These emails just irritate me.  At least the girl who walked-out gave my film a chance.  At least she had enough respect for me as a human being to say she might give it another chance.  At least, and this was important, there was communication.   These angry, threatening emails, on the other hand, only reinforce some of the things I fear about religious people: that the blind fury of fanaticism cannot be reasoned with.

TAQWACORE may be many things.  Sure it’s rude at times.  Sure it’s trangressive.  Sure it flirts with blashephous notions.  But one thing it is not is anti-Islam.  These characters give Islam an important place in their identity.  They pray, they visit the mosque (sometimes), they read Islamic literature, philosophy, etc…they treat religion seriously, even if they dare to ask questions or push for different interpretations, they are trying to work WITHIN the faith, not against it.  And for that they and everyone around them deserves to burn in hell?

Supposedly it’s because we are not practicing Muslims the way our critics imagine we should be.  And that is worth the ultimate punishment.   Does that mean that non-Muslims like Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela, Mother Theresa and Mahatam Gandhi are going to burn in hell too?  Because they didn’t fit the narrow pocket of the recognizable ‘traditional’ Muslim?  And what of the Sufis, the Ismaeli’s, the Shias?  Do they also deserve hellfire?  The Sufis dance, and listen to drums and guitars, and smoke hashish, just like some of the Taqwacores do.  The Shias don’t hold the exact same interpretation of the Quran and hadith as you might, also like some of the subjects of my film.  Yet all of them call themselves Muslim, all of them have uttered thanks to Allah in prayer, and all of them have fasted, given to charity, and observed the other core values.  If that’s not enough to call someone brother, and honor them their way, even if you don’t agree with it, then I don’t know what to say.

Actually, I think I do know, and its the most punk thing I can think of:  Never Mind the Bollocks.


Posted: December 14th, 2009 | No Comments »

As 2009 draws to a close, and everyone is making frantic year-end lists, I’m pleased as punch to see TAQWACORE: The Birth of Punk Islam make it onto Spin’s Best Music Doc List for 2009.  Check out the link below:


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