American Stories

Discussion points for The Butterfly Mosque

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About This Resource

Kambiz GhaneaBassiri suggests questions and topics to encourage and guide group discussion.


The Butterfly Mosque

Based on your reading of G. Willow Wilson’s memoir, what do you think are some of the key difficulties in cross-cultural understanding.

Based on your personal experiences with cultural differences, how do you assess Wislon’s attitude and strategies for overcoming cultural barriers?

What role, if any, did Islam play in mediating cultural differences between Wilson and her Egyptian family members or neighbors?

When the families of Wilson and her fiancé “agree to love one another," she expressed relief and describes their acceptance of one another as “fragile and brave.” 

  • Do you agree with her characterization of the two families' newly formed relationship?
  • What does her assessment of their relationship reveal about how current international conflicts affect American Muslims’ identities and personal relations?

Wilson describes a team-building exercise at the language school where she taught, in which Egyptian and Western employees were divided down cultural lines. She concluded from the exercise that in defining social responsibility, “westerners” tend to emphasize “literal responsibility” while Egyptians focus on “moral responsibility.”

  • What do you think of her conclusion?
  • Are there ways in which people of diverse backgrounds in America also define social responsibility differently?

How to Cite This Page

"Muslim Journeys | Item #282: Discussion points for The Butterfly Mosque", March 21, 2018