How to be a Bad Muslim and Other Essays

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Funny, elegiac and chilling, these essays from award-winning New Zealand writer Mohamed Hassan blend storytelling, memoir and non-fiction to map the experience of being Muslim in the C21st.

This is the breakout non-fiction book from award-winning New Zealand writer Mohamed Hassan.

From Cairo to Takapuna, Athens to Istanbul, How To Be A Bad Muslim maps the personal and public experience of being Muslim through essays on identity, Islamophobia, surveillance, migration and language.

Traversing storytelling, memoir, journalism and humour, Hassan speaks authentically and piercingly on mental health, grief and loss, while weaving memories of an Egyptian immigrant fighting childhood bullies, listening to life-saving ‘90s grunge and auditioning for vaguely-ethnic roles in a certain pirate movie franchise.

At once funny and chilling, elegiac and eye-opening, this is a must-read book from a powerfully talented writer.

“Mohamed Hassan takes the things we universally love - food, music, family, dreams of travel, a heart’s desire – and affirms their gorgeous ordinariness. Then he reveals how othering shatters what we share; how it splinters “us” to create confusion, ignorance, hurt and even hate. Sometimes his writing is gently observational, sometimes sad, sometimes justly angry, but always important, timely and true.”
– John Campbell

“The book is amazing. Mohamed Hassan is so talented. In How To Be A Bad Muslim, he pulls off that rare trick of taking a poet's grace and applying it to his essays, making them as beautiful to read as they are illuminating.”
– Dominic Hoey

“Mohamed’s is a fresh voice but most of all, an important voice. We already have his poetry, which has been rightly recognised, but now New Zealand literature is all the richer for his elegant and powerful non-fiction.”
– Rachael King

"Mohamed Hassan writes from a space that nobody else stands in; a space borne of deep understanding and lived experience. He is Muslim, a child of Egypt and the Middle East and a child of New Zealand; a global traveler and reporter with his finger very firmly on the socio-politics of the globe and our place in it. He has a depth of vision, a level of craft and a talent not seen elsewhere. His is a voice that is vital. We need this book, now more than ever."
– Tusiata Avia

“These essays navigate migration and grief, Islamaphobia and love, family and society. Kaleidoscopic in tone, they sear at both the personal and the political level, and open up the immigrant experience. There is no other book like this published in Aotearoa. It refreshes our views of the world and of each other.”
– Paula Green


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Customer Reviews

Based on 1 review
Highly recommended

One of my favorite books so far this year. Relatable in parts, eye opening in others, this book will leave you with a wider view of the world. Mohamed's writing style is very relaxed and enjoyable, you can definitely tell he is a poet as his words flow very conversationally.