Michael Muhammad Knight
The Taqwacores (Telegram)
Originally printed on a photocopier and distributed from the back of Michael Muhammad Knight’s car in mosque parking lots, The Taqwacores charts the attempts by Yusef, a punk and convert to Islam at 16, to live entirely by Muslim principles and faith. Knight’s continual examinations of Islam and punk could have been interesting and energetic, but at 250 pages the repetitive conversations and contemplations slow the pace and largely supplant plot and character.
Yusef prays five times a day hoping to find spiritual fulfilment and, at times, succour in Muslim teachings so it’s unsurprising that it shapes his life and character. However, when every party features religious debate, Yusef’s every waking moment appears taken up with prayer or reflections on his faith, and each page requires consultations of the glossary of Arabic words, the book’s themes become irksome. It’s an educational, though not entirely pleasurable, read.