Cleveland International Film Festival } March 22 – April 1, 2023 } Playhouse Square

The Taqwacores

Year: 2010
Country: United States
Language: English
Run Time: 84 minutes

The Taqwacores
The Taqwacores

Adapted from the novel of the same title by Michael Muhammad Knight, this film tells the story of Yusef, a conservative Pakistani engineering student, seeking to move off-campus while going to school in Buffalo. Trying to be true to his religion, he finds himself among an unlikely group of Muslims-skaters, gays, and a riot grrrl in a burqa. What they have in common is the philosophy of Taqwacore, the Muslim punk-rock scene. Full of trepidation at first about his housemates' unconventional approach to being Muslim, Yusef is eventually influenced by their ways. THE TAQWACORES is an identity narrative, a coming-of-age story, and a tale of what happens when two seemingly dissimilar cultures collide. Yusef struggles to make sense of his faith and ideologies in the midst of a wholly new, yet still Muslim, culture presented by the characters in his house. The film reminds us that identity is a choice to be discovered, not a cultural mandate. Questioning the treatment of Muslim culture in the media, director Zahra has constructed a low-budget masterpiece interlaced with music from the real life Taqwacore scene. Here we find an original, complex, and sometimes humorous portrait of being young and Muslim in contemporary America. (In English and Arabic with subtitles) – B.K.

CIFF34 Screenings

Saturday, March 27, 2010 at 10:00 PM

Sunday, March 28, 2010 at 4:40 PM

Eyad Zahra, Michael Muhammad Knight

Eyad Zahra

A Cleveland native who now lives in Los Angeles, Eyad Zahra attended the Florida State University Film School.


David Perse, MD, Eyad Zahra, Michael Muhammad Knight

JP Perry

Josh Rosenfield

Principal Cast
Bobby Naderi, Noureen Dewulf, Dominic Rains

Community Partners

Greater Cleveland Film Commission

Media Partners

Scene Magazine

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