Books

Memoirs

Memoirs introduce students to non‐fiction first‐person narratives and give them a glimpse into the lives and experiences of religious people. Because memoirs have become a popular literary genre today, there are many Muslim American writers represented in the field.

Knight, Michael Muhammad. Journey to the End of Islam. New York: Soft Skull Press, 2009.

  • Michael Muhammad Knight is the author of many novels and histories, as well as memoirs about his own personal experiences with Islam after converting as a young man. This work treats his journey to Pakistan as a teenager to learn more about the religion. More appropriate for college‐level students, based primarily on subject matter and required basic familiarity with contemporary global politics.
  • #WarOnTerror #Global #WhoAre

Moaveni, Azadeh. Lipstick Jihad. New York: Public Affairs, 2006.

  • This book is appropriate for high‐school students and deals with the author’s coming‐of‐age issues, and her sense of split identity as an American and an Iranian woman.
  • #ImmigrantExp #Global

Wilson, G. Willow. The Butterfly Mosque: A Young American Woman’s Journey to Love and Islam. New York: Grove, 2011.

  • The author, a convert to Islam, recounts her struggles with her desire to convert while in America and her subsequent travel to Egypt where she found love and a deeper sense of faith.
  • #Global

Fiction and Graphic Novels

While many works of fiction deal with the same issues of identity and personal faith as the memoirs listed above, Muslim American fiction authors have an opportunity to tell stories other than their own. Muslim Americans write in all genres today, including science fiction, historical fiction, and mysteries. In addition, graphic novels have opened new methods of storytelling for these authors who use this dynamic medium to tell powerful and beautiful stories.

Ahmed, Saladin. Throne of the Crescent Moon. New York: DAW, 2012.

  • Ahmed’s book is one of the best reviewed science fiction and fantasy works by a Muslim American author. The first in a trilogy, this work relies on classical Islamic ideas like the jinn (beings made of fire) and the khalif (the designated leader of the Muslim community) but transforms them for an epic new universe.

Hamad, Mohsin. The Reluctant Fundamentalist. San Diego: Harvest Books, 2008.

  • This book, told as a single monologue, explores the life of a Pakistani man educated at Princeton who grapples with both political and personal tensions surrounding his experiences in two countries. This book was rated “Book of the Year” by both the Washington Post and the San Francisco Chronicle.
  • #WarOnTerror #ImmigrantExp #Politics

Kahf, Mohja. The Girl in the Tangerine Scarf. New York: Public Affairs, 2006.

  • The story of a Syrian immigrant raised in Indiana who returns to Syria and reconnects with her faith, only to return to the US and grapple with what it means to be Muslim in America.
  • #ImmigrantExp

Lalami, Laila. The Moor’s Account. New York: Vintage, 2015.

  • A work of historical fiction that tells the story of the first Black American explorer in the new world: a Moroccan slave named Mustafa al‐Zamori. This book was a finalist for the 2015 Pulitzer Prize.
  • #AfAmExp

El Rassi, Toufic. Arab in America. Scb Distributors, 2008.

  • This graphic novel is a semi‐autobiographical account of being an Arab immigrant and a Muslim in America after the events of 9/11.
  • #WarOnTerror

Wilson, G. Willow, Adrian Alphona, et. al, Ms. Marvel. Marvel Comics, 2014.

  • With new issues of this ongoing comic series being published regularly, Ms. Marvel has become an instant comic classic that high‐school level students will love to read. The heroine, Kamala Khan, is a Pakistani‐American teenager who has to come to grips with new‐found super powers while also navigating her family’s strict religious values.
  • #ImmigrantExp