Michael Muhammad Knight
In his quest for an indigenous American Islam, Michael Muhammad Knight embarks on a series of interstate odysseys. Traveling 20,000 miles by Greyhound in sixty days, he squats in run-down mosques, pursues Muslim romance, is detained at the U.S.-Canadian border with a trunkload of Shia literature, crashes Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) conventions, stink-palms Cat Stevens, limps across Chicago to find the grave of Noble Drew Ali, and hunts down the truth of the Nation of Islam mystery-man, W.D. Fard filling dozens of notebooks along the way. The result is this semi-autobiographical book, with multiple histories of Fard and the landscape of American Islam woven into Knight’s own story.
In the course of his adventures Knight sorts out his own relationship to Islam as he journeys from punk provocateur to a recognized voice in the community, and watches first-hand the collapse of a liberal Islamic dream. The books extensive cast of characters includes anarcho-Sufi heretics, vegan kung-fu punks, tattoo-sleeved converts in hardcore bands, spiritual drug dealers, Islamic feminists, slick media entrepreneurs, sages of the street, the grandsons of Elijah Muhammad and Malcolm X, and a group called Muslims for Bush.
Michael Muhammad Knight is a novelist, essayist, and journalist. He converted to Islam at 16, after reading The Autobiography of Malcolm X, and traveled to Islamabad at age 17 to study at a madrassa. His first novel, The Taqwacores, told the story of a fictitious scene of Islamic punk-rockers, and inspired the real-life Muslim punk movement which currently shares their name. With his deeply personal memoir Impossible Man, and forthcoming novel Osama Van Halen Knight explores through his own experiences the unique realities of being an American Muslim. His books have been taught at numerous universities, and he is a frequent speaker at colleges and academic conferences. Knight is also the subject of a forthcoming documentary, directed by Omar Majeed, on the “Taqwacore” movement spawned by his first novel.
Paper | 5 1/2 x 8 1/4 | 256 pgs. | ISBN: 978-1-59376-240-7 | List: $14.95 | 05/1/2009