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Taqwacore: The Birth of Punk Islam » the bands

The Kominas are fronted by two Pakistani-Boston natives, Basim Usmani (bass, vocals) and Shahjehan Khan (guitar, vocals). Fellow Pakistani-American Imran Malik plays drums, and Arjun Ray, a Bengali-American plays guitar.  All four contribute to songwriting duties.

Basim and Shaj met at their local mosque as teenagers and immediately became fast friends. While at the University of Massachusetts in Lowell, they came across Michael Muhammad Knight’s novel, The Taqwacores.

Soon after devouring it, they decided to form their own band, The Kominas (which means ‘the bastards’ in Urdu).

They’ve been written about in Newsweek, The Guardian, CNN,NBC and Rolling Stone. Their album, Wild Nights in Guantanamo Bay, made a Boston Globe critic’s Top 10 list for 2008.

Their music can be hear and purchased at http://the.komin.as/store

They can also be found on myspace

The Secret Trial Five is fronted by Sena Hussain, a Pakistani Canadian drag king from Vancouver. Sena, who came out to her Muslim parents in her early 20s, decided to start the first all-girl Taqwacore band after finding The Kominas’ MySpace page. “I thought, Brown guys playing punk?” she says. “I’ve got to get in on this.” Sena and her band were invited to tour with The Kominas in 2007. When they all crashed the Islamic Society of North America’s annual meeting in Chicago, they caused a riot, with organizers and police on one side and excited hijabi girls rocking out on the other.
Visit The Secret Trial Five on Myspace

AL-Thawra is fronted by Marwan Kamel, a 21-year-old Syrian American from Chicago. Marwan isn’t overtly religious, but he takes pride in his Arabic culture. He joined The Kominas and the rest of the Taqwa Tour at Michael’s request. His band, Al-Thawra (Arabic for the revolution), creates doom-crust punk music with strong Middle Eastern influences. Marwan released the first-ever Taqwacore compilation and is currently slated to open for Rachid Taha at SxSW this year.

Their music can be heard and purchased at Amazon.com.
Visit their myspace page>

Omar Waqar first discovered his passion for Sufism and South Asian music when he visited Pakistan His first band was a Washington, D.C. punk-influenced group called Diacritical. Through his songs, Omar explored racism, intolerance and Sufi philosophy. His latest project, Sarmust, brings together punk, rock, qawwali and classical Indian music.
Visit Sarmust’s Myspace page. Omar’s previous band is Diacritical – check out their myspace page