Blue-Eyed Devil: A Road Odyssey Through Islamic America

Recently I was in Barnes and Nobles and ran across a curious book called "Blue-Eyed Devil: A Road Odyssey Through Islamic America" by Michael Muhammad Knight. Here is the description of the book "Michael Muhammad Knight embarks on a quest for an indigenous American Islam in 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 conventions, stink-palms Cat Stevens, and limps across Chicago to find the grave of Noble Drew Ali, 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 book’s extensive cast of characters includes anarchist Sufi heretics, vegan kungfu punks, tattoo-sleeved converts in hard-core 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."

It appears to be a very grassroots on the street approach to studying the Muslim Experience in our great nation of the United States. Blue-Eyed Devil is a memoir that describes a series of road trips around the United States to places related to both the history and current practice of Islam in America. "The traveler, Michael Muhammad Knight, is a white American punk rocker and professional wrestling fan, who converted to Islam as a teenager after listening to a lot of hip hop and watching Spike Lee's Malcolm X. Following his conversion he went to study in mosques in Pakistan. Several of the Asian American Muslims he encounters refer to him as Johnny Walker, after John Walker Lindh. However, Knight is far from a fundamentalist, and poignantly describes various challenges he faces regarding his faith, relationships, and life in general. The journeys in this book take place more than ten years after his conversion."

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