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Blue-eyed Devil by Michael Muhammad Knight
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Blue-eyed Devil

by Michael Muhammad Knight

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I love this guy. In some of his books, "Why I Am a Five Percenter", he is a serious scholar of Islam, both mainstream and fringe, while in others like this he personifies Modern Beat. As someone who practices a fringe non christian religion & in fact studied Five Percent, he's right on my wavelength. ( )
  aeceyton | Aug 18, 2017 |
“Blue Eyed Devil” is Michael Mohammed Knight’s travelogue through the USA to discover what is uniquely American in the Muslim American experience.

His insight into the difficulty in researching family and institutional history is rather brilliant, and his talent for unearthing ‘skeletons in the closet’ is uncanny. He has many spot-on hilarious observations about converts, Muslim conventions, and Muslim American princesses. His interaction with his mentally ill father is quite touching, and Knight is very respectful of all things Black American and Shia.

The drawbacks of this work are that it tends to be rambling (I think it needs a good edit, my husband insists this is how travel books ARE) and he doesn’t do a very thorough analysis of why the Progressive Muslim movement broke up. The deep pockets were not sufficient to bridge the philosophical chasms? On a completely petty note, even though he visited my alma mater, he fails to mention that it was built during the height of the Berkeley demonstrations and there is an extensive underground tunnel system to get the professors out and the National Guard in. Well, maybe he didn’t know about it, a shame.

“Blue Eyed Devil” was the litmus test for the Ill Fated Muslim Book Club. My husband deliberately chose this book because he knew it would be controversial. MM Knight is one of the ‘angry young men’ of American Islam. We did not read “Taqwacores”, Knight’s book that propelled him to celebrity status: my husband thought it would be too language and sexual explicit for our suburban crowd (although this is just the way all young men write and think). Instead he chose “Blue Eyed Devil” which has complete PG language and just a tiny bit of sex. Still, the book club response was vitriolic.

“This man is a Kaffir!”

“I refuse to buy this book and support scum like Mike Knight!”

Then, to our surprise, a Local Celebrity came to Mike Knight’s defense, “I can’t believe how small minded you people are.”

They were shamed into silence, but they refused to buy the book. So my husband and I bought three copies of the book and said we had a ‘lending library’ and we would give the book to anyone who was interested.

When we did convene our book club the response was:

“I liked how he didn’t sugar coat his struggles with his faith”

“I appreciated his honesty, even though I don’t agree with everything he has to say.”

“I think he is really brave to show the problems he has with his faith. We all have these problems, and it is liberating to read about something that we all try to keep hidden.”

It was, by far, the most read book club book.

And said Local Celebrity that had defended Mike Knight? He didn’t show up. Some excuse about having to “help his friend move.” And if it weren’t forbidden to gamble in Islam, I would wager that he has still not read "Blue Eyed Devil" to this very day. ( )
  nabeelar | Apr 15, 2011 |
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"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 Shi'a literature, crashes Islamic Society of North America 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. In the course of his adventures Knight sorts out his own relationship to Islam on his journey from punk provocateur to a recognized voice in the community, and watches first-hand the collapse of a liberal Islamic dream: the Progressive Muslim Union. Taking a unique perspective on Islam's intersection with race, gender, and Americanization, Blue-Eyed Devil offers a brutally honest but ultimately compassionate look at the long, strange history of American Islam" -- www.amazon.com… (more)

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