More on Michael Muhammad Knight

Hi Everybody,

I'm picking up a few Sherman Alexie books at the library this afternoon to try to read before a work camp at the Yakama Nation next week (yeah right). They'll replace a Michael Muhammad Knight book, The Taqwacores, which was one of the best novels I've read in quite some time (although that might not be saying that much - I read almost exclusively nonfiction). The book is quite crass but also quite profound, and has actually catalyzed a previously non-existent movement, called Taqwacore, which is essentially Muslim Punk. The climax was simultaneously disgustingly unrepeatable and deeply moving. Highly recommended, as is Impossible Man, his memoir.

His books are about struggling with religious identity, which is of course why I like them. He writes about transitions from conversion to fundamentalism into punk rock rebellion and then into some amalgamation of religion and punk that he talks about as a sort of 'bad Islam', and all of it resonates with the struggle between faith and cultural experience that you also see in the emerging church and Episcopal communities. You'll definitely pick up on that if you watch the video below - at about the 10:30 mark, defining Taqwacore's Islamic character, he totally sounds like he could be speaking at an emergent conference - watch the whole thing, and you'll see him using the same kind of language about struggle and creating space for new things to emerge, avoiding considering Taqwacore a 'movement', etc. Great stuff. If you're interested in the music, you can check it out here.

A recent interview with Michael about the Taqwacores, and Taqwacore.

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