Muslim punk music dates back to the 1970s with such early bands as the Texas-based “Fearless Iranians from Hell” group, but Michael Muhammad Knight’s 2003 novel, The Taqwacores, breathed new life into the movement. Today the genre is full of young Muslim artists living both within the US and around the world, searching for their own interpretation of religion and their own style of living.
The word “Taqwacore” is a portmanteau of the English word “hardcore,” a term long associated with the punk rock scene, and the Arabic word “Taqwa,” which is usually translated as “pious” or possessing an attitude of humility–one who is “God-fearing.” The term “taqwacore” carries a sort of duality, describing both fear and love of the divine.
One of the earliest bands to use the label taqwacore, the Kominas are a Pakastani-American group. Though some have dubbed their music “irreverent” and “un-PC,” the Kominas have nonetheless developed a wide following. When asked about the message they hope to portray to their fans, the Kominas stress their originality saying “it’s better to tell your own story than buy your story from someone else.” For the Kominas one of the earliest motivations for beginning their band was to strengthen the presence of non-white punk in America.