Words, ink and photos: GH
Tag Archives: subculture
Noel Ibay is exhibiting his images of Bears and Chubs at Magnet. The show is called BEarMUSEMENT, and includes graphite drawings, electronic media, cartoons, and pop-culture parodies and is intended to queer audience notions of male beauty. At Magnet in San Francisco through June. 4122 18th Street in the Castro district. Part of the 14th Annual Queer Arts Festival. More on that here.
When The Clash sang “Sharia don’t like it” thirty-some years ago, they could never have anticipated Taqwacore, the emerging hybrid of Islam and punk. In another instance of life following fiction, the term came from a novel. American convert Michael Muhammad Knight left his Philadelphia home at 17 to travel to Pakistan, where he studied at a madrassa. Years later, disillusioned, he wrote The Taqwacores, which centers on a fictive “Muslim punk house in Buffalo, New York, inhabited by burqa-wearing riot girls, mohawked Sufis, straightedge Sunnis, Shi’a skinheads, Indonesian skaters, Sudanese rude boys, gay Muslims, drunk Muslims, and feminists.” Taqwa means “piety” or “god-consciousness” and “core” is a suffix that refers to punk genres. Queercore and Homocore are other examples. Unknown to Knight when he self-published, a subculture of punk-influenced young Muslims was already simmering. Small groups, formerly largely unknown to one another, now had a term to refer to their movement.
The meme succeeded. Current Taqwacore bands include The Kominas, The Secret Trial Five, Al-Thawra, and Sarmust. Two Taqwacore films are currently screening, The Taqwacores, based on the novel, and the documentary Taqwacore: The Birth of Punk Islam. As for Knight, he is now a graduate student in Islamic Studies at Harvard University.