Music

And Now the Dead Hariris Will Sing "Islamofascist Punks Fatwa Off"

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The Texas Observer traces the rise of taqwacore, a San Antonio-born movement of Muslim punk rock:

During the trip, the Muslim punks encountered the same issues they have struggled with separately. The Islamic Society of North America invited them to perform at its conference in Toledo, Ohio. For the first 10 minutes, the concert was a success–young Muslims packed the conference, cheering the taqwacore bands from their respective male and female sections. But when a female group, Secret Trial Five, took the stage, conference leaders called the police and had the taqwacore bands kicked out–Muslim women are forbidden to sing in public. The taqwacore groups also had to deal with discrimination. On the road, other drivers flipped them off. One driver held a "Fuck Allah" sign up to his window.

This time, however, rather than bottling up their anger, the Muslim punks responded with humor, mostly dark. The Kominas performed songs with provocative lyrics such as "suicide bomb the Gap" and "Rumi was a homo" (a stab at an anti-gay imam in Brooklyn). The musicians started a joke band named Box Cutter Surprise, after the knives used to hijack planes on September 11th. Marwan Kamel, from a band on tour called Al-Thawra, Arabic for "revolution," said members created the group to shock audiences.

"The sole purpose was to light a fire under people's asses," Kamel said. "We were totally exploiting Americans' fear of terrorism, but maybe that's what everyone needs right now."

Via Andrew Sullivan. Bonus link: Secret Trial Five's account of the aborted concert:

I scream out "ISNA ARE YOU READY TO ROCK?!" and start up with Middle Eastern Zombies. People get scared and start streaming out when they hear my scratchy punk vocals. There is an off-stage argument between the head dude of the something or other and Mike Knight. Omar from Diacritical goes on with Kominas backing him up, sings "Ignorance" and has people in the audience screaming "STOP THE HATE". I see two hijabis give the devil horn hand gestures. Handful of people left are rocking the fuck out. It's brilliant. Kominas come on for their set, say they are going to sing Aisha, which is a song about a hijabi girl being harassed, crowd waits in anticipation, then the police storm the stage. They demand that we stop playing to the protest of the rest of us and the audience. Mike Knight grabs the mic and screams "PIGS ARE HARAM" and storms off.

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  1. I have an almost unlimited appetite for dark humor, but “suicide bomb the Gap” and “Box Cutter Surprise” and an avowed intention to “exploit Americans’ fear of terrorism” are perhaps not well advised for groups that claim to be promoting peace.

    Still, good on them for getting up the nose of the Islamist conservo-fundamentalists who apparently control The Islamic Society of North America.

  2. “PIGS ARE HARAM”

    Leave it to the Muslims to come up with the best police put-down. Ever. Epic win.

  3. It’s about time the Muslims stood up to the bullshit their parents tell them. Just like any other group.

  4. Muslim punk chicks are hot.

  5. Islamopunks in Toledo, Ohio?

    What a long strange trip it is becoming.

    Burkas and beer

    Up against the wall, redneck mullahs

  6. Why is it that, for better or worse, Punk Rock seems to be surfing the waves of cultural change?

  7. EDIT: …Punk Rock always seems to surfing …

  8. i want secret trial five and secret chiefs 3 to make a supergroup together called eight is enough.

  9. “We were totally exploiting Americans’ fear of terrorism….”

    I see a bright future in the American government for these kids. One of them could grow up to be head of the TSA.

  10. cheering the taqwacore bands from their respective male and female sections

    I used to go to punk shows back in the day and I remember that it was pretty much the same way. All the girls stood in the back.

  11. That is to say, all ten or eleven of them.

  12. there are no photos? those kids really don’t sound that “punk rock” to me.

  13. “PIGS ARE HARAM”

    Leave it to the Muslims to come up with the best police put-down. Ever. Epic win.

    Seconded.

    Toledo isn’t so much redneck as it is…well, completely and totally depressing. It’s more like a small Detroit, except that glass is the dead industry instead of automobiles/everything.

    But Jamie Farr (a Lebanese) is from there!

  14. Isn’t this just as stupid as a Christian punk rock band, or B-Rad?

  15. Islamopunks in Toledo, Ohio?

    Not as surprising as you may think…Toledo is a stone’s throw from Detroit and both (along with Cleveland and Minneapolis-St.Paul) are becoming magnet cities for Muslims.

    Which, in the case of Toledo, is unfortunate because it means that these new immigrants have to read that barely-legible rag The Blade. Oh, and pray five times a day to Jamie Farr. I guess we’re going to find out who’s crazier: imams or Carty Finkbeiner. I got dibs on Finkbeiner.

  16. One of the coolest sounding death metal bands of the ’90s was avowedly Christian. It was pretty good stuff. “Believer” was the name, I think.

    It was strange only if you knew ahead of time that it was a Christian death metal band. Otherwise they blended in perfectly.

  17. What nationalities of Muslims are coming to Cleveland in great numbers? I haven’t heard all that much about it and I’m just down the road in Akron.

    I know Akron has a quite a few Hmong (but they’re not Muslim, so…).

    Columbus, OTOH, has a shedload of Somalis.

  18. Still, good on them for getting up the nose of the…conservo-fundamentalists who apparently control…North America.

    There, that’s better.

  19. The world is moving so much faster nowadays. It wasn’t until 50 years after WWII that there was a band called “Zyklon-B.” We’ve got Box Cutter Surprise only 5 years after the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon.

  20. Isn’t this just as stupid as a Christian punk rock band

    I had my first encounter with some self-proclaimed Christian punks in the late ’80s. I liked them: a bunch of independent-thinking teenagers trying to figure out who they were. Besides, it was good to see the community moving beyond Christian metal.

  21. Columbus, OTOH, has a shedload of Somalis.

    As a Columbus resident, I can testify to this. Especially in the northern part of the city near Karl Road. Good-night…although those Somalis make some pretty tasty food; a Somali friend of mine runs a restaurant…mmm, boy.

    Timon – W117th to W132nd was called “Little Arabia”, although I guess in all fairness not all Arabs are Muslim (though most are).

  22. R C Dean,
    The fact that you are put of by their songs means they are doing something right.

    “Rumi was a homo”

    Awesome.

  23. Insert an “f” in my comment somewhere.

  24. young Muslims packed the conference, cheering the taqwacore bands from their respective male and female sections

    Memo to self: Do not bother attending any Muslim concerts.

  25. Edward Said is wincing in his grave.

    Here we have some artists being brave, rebelling against an oppressive presence in their lives, “getting up the nose of the Islamist conservo-fundamentalists.”

    But the market that will adopt them, indie yups seeking a little quasi race exotica to take the edge off their whiteness, will only have them if they can repurpose that rebellion into a display of pseudo-rebellion against their preferred fantasy figures, America’s “conservo-fundamentalists.” And they know this.

    So they adopt the rhetoric of the dominant white culture, feed them facially implausible claims of redneck harassment, and give them the “We were totally exploiting Americans’ fear of terrorism” boilerplate which alone can make Whitey love them, make them useful to him.

    It’s sad that they have to abase themselves like that.

  26. Timon – W117th to W132nd was called “Little Arabia”, although I guess in all fairness not all Arabs are Muslim (though most are).

    IIRC something like 85-90% of Arabs in the United States are Christian.

  27. Timon19: How shouldn’t it? Christianity is (quite literally) a cult about suffering and death, after all.

    According to them, it’s the cross that liberates, not the day on the beach.

  28. One of the coolest sounding death metal bands of the ’90s was avowedly Christian

    They may as well be Christian.
    Satanist, Muslim or Christian, no one at a death metal show is getting laid.

  29. Concern trolling + delusional ideas about the opinions of young Muslims = I wouldn’t put my name on that crap either.

  30. It’s sad that they have to abase themselves like that.

    one man’s debasement is another man’s potpourri.

    obligatory muslimgauze reference here.

  31. Pop-o-Pies for the new century…

    Anti-terrorism and stuff man, yeah.
    12341234

    =/;^)

  32. Vote Hezbollah is also a great record by Muslimgauze…

    http://mp3nations.blogspot.com/2007/12/muslimgauze-vote-hezbollah.html

  33. And continuing in the “everything’s on the web” tradition…

    http://www.pop-o-pie.com/ for all your pop-o-pie news.

    Weird.

  34. The original lyrics to Pop-o-pie’s A political song…

    Sure to please the libertarian heart.

    A Political Song

    1-2-3-4, 1-2-3-4.

    We don’t want your apathy.
    No fuckin’ government gets down on me.

    Can spare any change?
    Can spare any change?

    Anti Reagan and stuff man, yeah.

  35. when talking about muslimgauze – as i am wont to do at parties when no one has broached the subject, causing people to flee in all directions – you have to break it into three distinct periods.

    1) early ethno-ambient/ethno-techno type stuff
    2) more song-based traditional arrangements experimental
    3) harsh tape delay/distortion pedal dub, heavily repetitive; i.e. most of his post death releases

    for the first, united states of islam is probably the most interesting. the second? gun aramic is pretty good, and blue mosque is worth a pickup, as is veiled sisters.

    but the last period – which has the best and the worst of his work, i think – is where the gems are. observe with sadiq bey (my favorite), lo fi india abuse, vs. the rootsman (also excellent), your mines in kabul and the deceiver double disc.

    i went on a muslimgauze bender in the late 90s that resulted in my owning a whole bunch of rare stuff i have to sell at some point, including a clear vinyl pressing of nadir of purdah and a mint copy of the box of silk and dogs (9 cds)

  36. dhex,

    Ah, the Muslimgauze bender.
    Given the number of releases (hovering around 200, iirc) that can be a looooong weekend.

    My fave is Re-mixs Themselves.

  37. “harsh tape delay/distortion pedal dub, heavily repetitive; i.e. most of his post death releases”\

    Cut the guy some slack, dude. Most artist’s don’t release *any* new material after their death – they just use a bunch of stuff they wrote before kicking the bucket.

  38. I used to have some neighbors who would have noisy parties with their door open. When I wanted them to close it, I would play Lo-Fi India Abuse at top volumne.

  39. dhrx,

    a whole bunch of rare stuff

    But most Muslimgauze releases were limited to 500 to 1000 copies. They are almost all limited release and rare.

    Only the truly hardcore fans ever have enough overlap in the discs they own to even share points of reference.

    The best part about muslimgauze, of course, is the pointed nature of the lyrics.

    😉

  40. “Christianity is (quite literally) a cult about suffering and death, after all.

    “According to them, it’s the cross that liberates, not the day on the beach.”

    Liberated by a day at the beach? I don’t see how that would work, unless you’re talking about Normandy Beach and liberating Europe from the National Socialists.

    If you can escape from suffering and death on the beach, what accounts for the popularity of the saying, “life’s a beach and then you die?”

  41. and I seem to recall a movie called “On the Beach” which dealt with suffering and death.

  42. Here’s one I hadn’t heard: Salaam Alekum, Bastard

    http://www.rhapsody.com/goto?rcid=alb.13123240

  43. I used to have some neighbors who would have noisy parties with their door open. When I wanted them to close it, I would play Lo-Fi India Abuse at top volume.

    that is a good choice. also super annoying is the second disc of deceiver and pretty much all of fatah guerrilla.

    hey is there a case to be made for bryn jones being the proto islamist fifth columnist?

    re: insular fans: yeah i’m basically going to sign up for the new islamaphonia email list and post my for sale stuff there. ebay doesn’t seem to do too well in this regard.

  44. Salaam Alekum, Bastard

    Haha!

  45. dhex,

    hey is there a case to be made for bryn jones being the proto islamist fifth columnist?

    I was under the impression he was not, himself, a muslim…is that correct?

  46. Mad Max gave me a great idea:

    Title your album “A Day at the Beach,” and use a photo of soldiers getting off a Higgins Boat onto Omaha Beach for your cover art.

  47. This is pretty cheering. Unless you’re at all concerned that women should be treated a tad better than cockroaches.

    Of note is that some of these people are sufis, pretty much the only sane version of Islam.

  48. Of note is that some of these people are sufis, pretty much the only sane version of Islam.

    Technically speaking they are the most spiritual version of Islam, which makes them quite “irrational”. The most rational of the Sufis is Ibn Arabi, who is quite popular and one of my favorite thinkers. Islam without spirituality is just another organized religion, with all the hallmarks of organized religion: abuses, war, terrorism, literalism, etc.

    If you liked Crusoe and/or ?mile, you’ll like Hayy Ibn Yaqdhan.

  49. Hey, Ali,

    Rumi was a homo!

    That can’t get old.

  50. ‘Technically speaking they are the most spiritual version of Islam, which makes them quite “irrational”.’

    On the other hand, you can be reasonable without always be ‘rational’ or engaging in ‘rationalism.’ Hypnosis is not rational for example. Buddhists Lamas are not rational necessarily (when doing meditational practices) yet they argue quite reasonably that you need not believe what they say – you can simply do your own practices and test them for yourself. Sufis seem similarly reasonable, despite being mystics.

    This contrasts with fundamentalist Muslims who are neither rational nor reasonable.

  51. “Muslim women are forbidden to sing in public.”

    Horseshit. I watch the Venus channel almost every day and there are plenty of women singing in public. Shit, even Saudi stations carry women singing.

    And, yes, Lebanese women, especially their singers, are hot. Too bad the music mostly sucks.

  52. highnumber-

    Ha! Could be. Dunno.

  53. Nat Brand- Sure. Agreed. The fundamentalists are literalist rationalists, which results in them sounding “reasonable” to the impressionable, frustrated Muslim youth. These literalist rationalists have existed over Islamic history, but usually left no major impact until the emergence of Wahabism and its influence over the Saudi royal family (for purely political reasons). Wahabis, in their theology, are the Puritans of the Middle East. Unfortunately they were not contained as were the Puritans.

  54. Of course they’re not, damram. Being able to treat women as badly as the Muslims do is pretty much the ultimate nerd misogynist fantasy. I’m sure these little shits will go far.

  55. I was under the impression he was not, himself, a muslim…is that correct?

    this is indeed true.

    which makes it all the more insidious!!!!

    (or something like that)

  56. I think “Fatwacore” would have been a much, much better name.

  57. (a stab at an anti-gay imam in Brooklyn

    Umm, is there a pro-gay imam?

  58. Arabic for “revolution,” said members created the group to shock audiences.

    A punk group did what? Wow, these aren’t your dad’s punk-rockers!

  59. Why is it that, for better or worse, Punk Rock seems to be surfing the waves of cultural change?

    Yeah, it’s kind of predictable that way. I say we talk about something totally new and edgy. Does anyone think Bob Dylan sold out when he went electric?

  60. Ok, I’ll promise I’ll stop after this, but what I’d like to see that would raise my eyebrows is a Tehran-born punk rock movement while the bus drivers show a “fuck allah” sign out the window. That’ll get ya up in the morning.

  61. Forget Muslim punk. I’m waiting for Muslim country music.

  62. Paul,

    Tehran-born punk rock movement

    I think it was on Frontline World that I saw an interview with a Tehran based band that might fit the bill…

    Here’s an article
    http://www.qantara.de/webcom/show_article.php/_c-310/_nr-47/i.html

  63. Mike Laursen,

    Forget Muslim punk. I’m waiting for Muslim country music.

    http://www.csmonitor.com/2007/0404/p20s01-almp.html

  64. I like the idea of a punk rock band named “Fuck Allah”…

  65. Forget Muslim punk. I’m waiting for Muslim country music.

    Haha… there is in fact Muslim country music…. but in Arabic, Swahili, Punjabi, Malay, Persian, etc. Country in the local Oriental sense of course!

    This has been a fun thread 🙂

  66. NM- I have never heard of Salama. Thanks NM. Cool!

  67. Would Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and Party be like Pakistani country music? Maybe like Norte?o?

  68. Neu Mejican comes up with the goods! He doesn’t sound very country to me, but his accent makes up for it.

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