Muslim and American: Two Perspectives
The Butterfly Mosque
G. Willow Wilson
In this satisfying, lyrical memoir of a potentially disastrous clash between East and West, a Boulder native and Boston University graduate found an unlikely fit living in Cairo, Egypt, and converting to Islam. Wilson embarked on a yearlong stint working at an English-language high school in Cairo right after her college graduation in 2003. She had already decided that of the three Abrahamic religions, Islam fulfilled her need for a monotheistic truth, even though her school did not include instruction in the Qur'an because it angered students and put everybody at risk. Once in Cairo, despite being exposed to the smoldering hostility Arab men held for Americans, especially for women, she found she was moved deeply by the daily plight of the people to scratch out a living in this dusty police state tottering on the edge of moral and financial collapse; she and her roommate, barely eating because they did not know how to buy food, were saved by Omar, an educated, English-speaking physics teacher at the school. Through her deepening relationship with Omar, she also learned Arabic and embraced the ways Islam was woven into the daily fabric of existence, such as the rituals of Ramadan and Friday prayers at the mosque. Arguably, Wilson's decision to take up the headscarf and champion the segregated, protected status of Arab women can be viewed as odd; however, her work proves a tremendously heartfelt, healing cross-cultural fusion.
About the Author
G. Willow Wilson is an American author and essayist who divides her time between Egypt and the US. Her articles about modern religion and the Middle East have appeared in publications including Washington Post, the Atlantic Monthly, the New York Times Magazine and the Canada National Post. Her memoir, The Butterfly Mosque, was named 'Best Book of the Year 2010' by Seattle Times, and her DC/Vertigo comic book series, Air, was nominated for an Eisner Award. She has also written Cairo, an original graphic novel by Vertigo, as well as Vixen: Return of the Lion, a DC miniseries. To learn more about Willow, visit her website gwillowwilson.com