Muslim Punk in the USA
Publication Date: June 2, 2009
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Writer Michael Muhammad Knight coined the term "taqwacore" for his novel about a Muslim punk house in Buffalo, NY, which Knight initially distributed from the back of his car as a DIY photocopied zine. In time, the book found widespread publication through Autonomedia and garnered supporters, even inspiring the first woman-led prayer of a mixed-gender Muslim congregation in the United States in 2005. But something far grander was in the works; unbeknownst to Knight, a real Muslim punk scene was starting to emerge, based on the one he had imagined for the book.
Photographer Kim Badawi first met Knight around this time, and bore witness as the taqwacore phenomenon began to take hold. Beginning in 2006, Badawi traveled across the U.S., chronicling the burgeoning subculture and the musicians who had been spurred to action by Knight’s creative vision. In 2007 he was invited to accompany the TaqwaTour, traveling to major cities across North America alongside bands including The Kominas and Secret Trial Five. As the genre continues to take shape and influence a rising generation of artists and intellectuals, Badawi’s The Taqwacores stands as a photographic companion to the original text and an indispensable document of the making of a movement.
Born in Paris in 1980, Kim Badawi is American photojournalist and documentarian of French, Egyptian, and Slovenian background. He began his photographic career photographing the plight of refugee families from Mississippi to Texas in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, while still interning for Contact Press Images and Magnum Photos in New York. Selected for publication by the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University, Badawi’s work appears in 25 Under 25: Up-and-Coming American Photographers (powerHouse Books, 2008).