The Goldeneh Medina for those who face Mecca

Land of chessed, land of blasphemy. What a free society will do to your children…

If you will it, it is no dream. How a young American writer penned a scandalous, riveting underground novel that single-handedly inspired the invention of Muslim punk rock.

The New York Times writes about “The Taqwacores” by Michael Muhammad Knight, and kids like Hanan Arzay:

Hanan Arzay, 15, is a daughter of Muslim immigrants from Morocco who lives in East Islip, N.Y. In the months after the Sept. 11 attacks, pedestrians threw eggs and coffee cups at the van that transported her to a Muslim school, she said, and one person threw a wine bottle, shattering the van’s window.

At school, her Koran teacher threw chalk at her for requesting literal translations of the holy book, Ms. Arzay said. After she was expelled from two Muslim schools, her uncle gave her “The Taqwacores.”

“This book is my lifeline,” Ms. Arzay said. “It saved my faith.”

Something about this story makes me think “Lower East Side yiddish culture, circa 1920″, and while I’m not into the idea of a band called “Vote Hezbollah”, it’s interesting to see similar processes of culture, immigration, religion, and rebellion across time.

10 Responses to “The Goldeneh Medina for those who face Mecca”

  1. Something about this story makes me think “Lower East Side yiddish culture, circa 1920?,

    Huh? That makes no sense to me at all. The last thing rebellious Jewish youth were doing during this period was lionizing anti-American fundamentalists in any way, shape, or form.

    What on earth are you talking about?


    DK · December 23rd, 2008 at 4:10 pm
  2. is this the band that has the song “suicide bomb the gap”?


    Justin · December 23rd, 2008 at 4:34 pm
  3. actually DK, it was the 1920s yiddish speaking Jewish community that was SOOOOO friggin active in worldwide socialist politics and many possibly acted as informants for the Bolsheviks. So… analogy stands?


    Justin · December 23rd, 2008 at 4:35 pm
  4. [...] immigration experience to today’s immigrant groups even where little or no parallel exists. Jewschool’s writer, chillul Who?, has decided that today’s Muslim punk rockers, who paint figures such as ““Osama McDonald,” write songs [...]


    Blogger stands back in shock (shock!) as social liberal Jew overreaches to find parallel immigration experiences where none exists — The Kvetcher · December 23rd, 2008 at 4:43 pm
  5. actually DK, it was the 1920s yiddish speaking Jewish community that was SOOOOO friggin active in worldwide socialist politics and many possibly acted as informants for the Bolsheviks.

    The majority moderate Old (Yiddish) Left assiduously attacked and defeated the minority Yiddish far-Left in virtually every battle they engaged, and they engaged in many.


    DK · December 23rd, 2008 at 4:54 pm
  6. DK, different era, different tools, different cultural milieu, same instincts. Thanks for missing the point.

    It will be a news story when DK fails to excoriate a metaphor, parallel, or allusion, especially when the criticism misses the point.


    Kung Fu Jew · December 23rd, 2008 at 6:18 pm
  7. DK, different era, different tools, different cultural milieu, same instincts.

    What “instincts” are those, KFJ? Those of…oh, I don’t know…”The OUTSIDER,” KFJ? Let me guess…we have so much in common with all who are OUTSIDERS,” right? Because we are all such terrible victims of WASP hegemony. We are all in the same BOAT (get it? We came to the United States of Oppression via boat! See, I can do metaphors too!). Oy, the oppression never ends.

    Whaaaaah!!!!


    DK · December 23rd, 2008 at 6:26 pm
  8. DK, I’m not talking about winning or losing, but the fact of the matter is that there was an active anti-capitalist Jewish community. And why does a band calling themselves “vote hezbollah” necessarily “lionizing”? Maybe they are satirizing? I don’t know, I’ve not heard the music; have you?

    What exactly are you trying to say, beyond disagreeing with people?


    Justin · December 23rd, 2008 at 7:11 pm
  9. DK desperately wants to pretend that events that happened to ethnic groups in the past don’t influence their modern narratives.


    B.BarNavi · December 25th, 2008 at 5:41 am
  10. “Vote Hezbollah” is a joke. The Taqwacores is for misfit muslims who won’t be welcome in orthodox mosques. Non-observant, heretical, apostate, gay, lesbian, punk, fornicating, drinking, pork-eating, whatever.


    awais · December 25th, 2008 at 6:12 am

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"I may attack a certain point of view which I consider false, but I will never attack a person who preaches it. I have always a high regard for the individual who is honest and moral, even when I am not in agreement with him. Such a relation is in accord with the concept of kavod habriyot, for beloved is man for he is created in the image of God." —Rav Joseph Soloveitchik