The Butterfly Mosque
The Butterfly Mosque is a remarkable story of conversion to Islam and falling in love with an Egyptian man in a volatile post–9/11 world,was praised as “an eye-opening look at a misunderstood and often polarizing faith” (Booklist) and “a tremendously heartfelt, healing crosscultural fusion”
About the Author:
The Book Butterfly Mosque is written by G Willow.Willow is also the author of the New York Times bestselling comic book series MS MARVEL, winner of the 2015 Hugo Award for Best Graphic Story. Her first novel, ALIF THE UNSEEN, was a New York Times Notable Book of 2012, long listed for the Women’s Prize for Fiction (formerly the Orange Prize) and winner of the World Fantasy Award for Best Novel.
After an illness forces her to face her own mortality at age 18, Wilson, the child of two atheists, finds herself in search of religion. The faith that feels right for her is Islam, but in the wake of 9/11, she has difficulties embracing it fully. It isn’t until she makes the decision to move to Cairo to teach at an English-language school that she is able to immerse herself in the religion she has come to love and become a Muslim. When she falls in love with Omar, an Egyptian physics teacher, Wilson becomes increasingly open about her faith, despite the reactions she fears from her friends and family. Though adjusting to life in Egypt takes some work—from learning the ins and outs of the complex marketplace to respecting societal divisions between men and women—Wilson finds herself warmly embraced and welcomed by Omar’s family. They begin a dating relationship that calls into question the very nature of family, belief, and tradition. Torn between the secular West and Muslim East, Wilson records her intensely personal struggle to forge a “third culture” that might accommodate her values without compromising them or the friends and family on both sides of the divide.Wilson’s illuminating memoir offers keen insights into Islamic culture, distinguishing carefully between the radical fundamentalists who hate the West and the majority of peaceful Muslims.
Why Read this Book?
This memoir,“The butterfly Mosque” is told in the first person so straight away there is a connection with the reader. The story starts – not in Egypt – but in the USA. Willow (lovely name) says she’s in the market for a philosophy. And in this search she is extremely thorough. She looks at mainstream religions – Christianity, Buddhism to name but two and puts them under the microscope, so to speak. She dismisses all of them before settling on Islam. It appears to offer what she is after, what she is looking for, that enigmatic thing. But also, there’s some little twist which helps make her mind up. But not before she digs deep and seeks answers to complex and awkward questions. She reads and researches Islam and finds out surprising facts, which she shares with the reader. Willow is well-read and well-educated. She seems set for a good career of her choice on American soil. Why not settle for that? But she’s set on travel to the Middle East come what may.
Willow Wilson talks movingly about the aftermath of 9/11 and of how she and her fellow Americans tried to come to terms with it. If they ever will. And Wilson constantly questions this huge decision of hers to become a Muslim. She keeps changing her mind – and then changes it back again. She does not confide in family or friends at this point. It is her decision and hers alone. It is made all the more difficult by the fact that post 9/11 Wilson sees any conversion to Islam as a betrayal of her fellow Americans. And, as she sets out for Egypt she just feels it in her bones that the country will have a profound effect on her – and that’s even before she’s boarded the plane. But she’s also of a practical mind and looking ahead to her return to the States and says I’d have two of the most coveted job qualifications in post-9/11 America: Arabic language skills and knowledge of the Middle East.
If you have not yet read this wise and intimate memoir, buy a copy now, or order it online here, or check it out of your local library. Willow’s is a life worth knowing.
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