Stripped down and laid bare of all cultural referents,Taqwacore: The Birth of Punk Islam is a rock ‘n’ roll road movie. Made by Canadian filmmaker Omar Majeed, it feels similar to its frenetic and lionized antecedent Another State of Mind, which showcased and documented the efforts of Better Youth Organization-related bands, like Youth Brigade and Social Distortion, to tour and connect disparate communities in far flung locales during the heyday of early ‘80s hardcore punk.
Are Americans ready to embrace the integrative pluralism offered by Muslims in America, who desire to live in full light of our forefathers’ ideals – the right to freedom, liberty, and respect? Taqwacore, the Muslim punk movement itself, provides a bitter, hopeful, and insightful soundtrack to American youth unwilling to heed the racial and religious bigotries spun out in the national conversation and political maneuvers. Whether the bands in the film won their battles or not is irrelevant. At least they fought and staked their ground.