In the spring of 2017, 29-year-old N.M.'s life was unraveling.
Her parents' nasty breakup had left her and her mother homeless, forcing them to leave London and crash with a relative in northwest England. The move cost her the job she loved at an Islamic school. Broke and adrift in a new city, she was desperate for a spiritual boost.
That's when she heard about Losing My Religion, a nearby conference where some of Islam's most popular speakers would discuss big political and religious issues affecting Muslims. She was especially eager to see one headliner: Nouman Ali Khan, the Texas-based superstar preacher who's earned millions of fans — and amassed a fortune — through his plainspoken Qur'an lessons aimed at millennials. Unofficial recordings of his lectures, such as one about material wealth titled "I feel sorry for Justin Bieber," break the half-million mark for views.