Source: San Francisco Chronicle
On February 6, 2005 the San Francisco Chronicle reported, "If you want to meet the most popular poet in the United States, you must board a plane and fly to Konya, Turkey, where you'll find the mausoleum of Jalal al-Din Muhammad Balkhi, who is better known by his Westernized name, Rumi. Born in the early 13th century in what is now Afghanistan, Rumi was a Muslim religious leader whose name in Arabic means 'greatness of faith.' Thanks to the faith of Rumi's U.S. fans, his books have sold more than 500,000 copies in the past 10 years. Rumi calendars, Rumi CDs, Rumi posters, Rumi T-shirts, even Rumi coffee mugs have also found a market in the United States... Americans' fascination with Rumi is just one way in which Muslim literature and writing, from 'A Thousand and One Nights' to the Quran, has influenced readers in this country seeking heightened spiritual awareness, approaches to the dilemmas and mysteries of life, or just a good read. An ironic fallout of Sept. 11 has been an even greater interest in Islamic writing -- not just among university students and general readers, but in the American military."