Magazine article New Internationalist

The Taqwacores

Magazine article New Internationalist

The Taqwacores

Article excerpt

The Taqwacores by Michael Muhammad Knight (Telegram ISBN 978 1 8485p 017 7)

This is a very unusual novel with a peculiar history. Written in 2003 by Michael Muhammad Knight, who converted from Catholicism to Islam aged 16, it first appeared as a photocopied edition, given away by the author in mosque car parks. This 'mainstream' publication - albeit in a bowdlerized form (about which more later) - should bring his unique voice to a wide and appreciative audience.

Knight's novel is set in Buffalo, New York, where a group of Muslim punks - Taqwacores - share a communecum-mosque. The call to prayer is blasted out on electric guitar and debates rage about Qur'anic influences on lggy Pop's lyrics, fuelled by copious quantities of booze, pot and pizzas. The book's narrator, Yusuf Ali, isa 'straightedge' Muslim, shunning his compatriots' excesses and attempting, amidst the chaos ofthe household, to live a life of prayer and abstinence. …

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