Signing Stories: The Muslims

Date Signed: April 30, 2021

Label: Epitaph

Band Members: Qadr (vocals/guitar), Abu Shea (bass), Ba7ba7 (drums)

Type of Music: Punk

Management: Self-managed

Legal: Sam Koolaq

Publicity: Michele Stephens, Epitaph


A&R: Sue Lucarelli, Epitaph

You only have to take a quick glance at the cover to North Carolina punks The Muslims’ new single “Fuck These Fucking Fascists” to see that they quite literally aren’t pulling any punches. Besides that gloriously to-the-point title, the sleeve art features an illustration of Johnny Rotten getting punched in the face. The Sex Pistols/PIL man has been very Trumpy of late, and these young punks are having none of it.

The music is superb too; there’s nothing pop-punk about The Muslims. This is powerful, honest and raw punk rock, with no fucks given when it comes to making friends. Get onboard, or don’t. The band members are genuinely Muslim, and they describe themselves as “all queer.” 

They formed in early 2017, enraged about that presidential election and feeling the need to do and say something. Qadr approached Ba7ba7 with the idea of forming a Muslim punk band, and the rest is history.

“There was a band years ago that was called Muslims, and they were not genuinely Muslim,” says Qadr. “After getting the racist backlash that we are used to, they ended up changing their name.”

You might think the being Muslim and queer in a conservative state like North Carolina would be difficult, but the members say that the region has a bit of everything.

“I grew up in New York, and even there the racism was no different,” Qadr says. “We live in a dope ass, left-leaning city—Durham—and it’s awesome.”

The band describes their sound as “crunchy, problematic, driving, classic punk with a spicy, ethnic twist,” which covers it quite nicely. Earlier this year, they signed to beloved punk label Epitaph.

“Epitaph reached out to us over Instagram,” says Qadr. “We didn’t respond initially. I thought it was fake as fuck. But the other half was like, do we really want to sign to a label? That was never our objective. We looked up the person who reached out and saw that they were legit. Then we hit them up for additional chats to feel it out. Then had more conversations with the band about whether it’s what we want to do. I was the most skeptical.”

They had questions, including about whether they would be allowed to release a song criticizing Epitaph on Epitaph if they wanted to. Satisfied with the answers, they signed on the dotted line.

“The industry is racist as fuck, it’s trash,” says QADR. “They know we feel that way. So, it’s also cool to be on a label that’s trying to do right by artists.”

As for that Rotten cover, the band are understandably stand-in firm.

“We haven’t [heard from him], but we’re gonna keep stirring the pot,” Qadr says. “We’re gonna try to organize monks [their fans] to help us stir that pot and piss him off.”