The Butterfly Mosque Zawaj Figaro

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The Butterfly Mosque: “Zawaj Figaro”

Willow Wilson and Jo move to Tura. She quits teaching at Language School and dedicates herself to full- time writing. Her articles are mostly published in the US. At the launch of The Cairo Magazine, she attends taking some of her work from The Weekly Dig based in Boston. She meets a bunch of both Egyptian and American reporters interested in fostering young Egyptian Writers apart from journalism. Wilson is given the task of reporting the marriage of Figaro, to be held at the Cairo Opera House.

At the rehearsal venue, she acquaints herself with the opera. Reem, one of the performers seeks her opinion on the performance. As the dialogue between Wilson and Reem progresses, the two take note of the absence of worldwide art. She mirrors this absence with the hostility of their neighbors in Tura. The hostility is cultivated by the harsh living conditions symbolized by the death of their kittens. Despite this hostility, she and Jo have a handful of friends like Sumaya, who help them out in need.

Wilson feared Friday prayers despite being a Muslim convert for six months. However, with the help of Omar, the two attend prayers at Sultan Hassan Mosque. She feels nervous and fears being alone with Muslim women. However, her perception changes when the women attend to her warmly. She is also surprised at the orderliness of the crowd.

Wilson accidentally meets Ali Gomaa, the grand Mufti of Egypt, at Omar’s family wedding. Later on, she gets an opportunity to interview him. She questions the right to practice Ijitihad in the West, the clash between religion and culture, and the practice of homosexuality and lesbianism in the name of “the will of God.” In his response, the Mufti stresses the need for regulated practice of Ijitihad, the need for being an ambassador of Islam and the need to obey God for being omnipotent.

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