Book

Synopsis:

Written by an English Muslim convert and mother of three, Welcome to Islam captures the occasionally poignant but often humorous reality of being a Muslim in the current climate: as a convert, a working woman, a mother, and as an active member of the local community.

Discover what it’s really like living life as a Muslim: praying the ritual prayers at work in an office when your boss walks in; going on Hajj with hundreds of Saudi women dressed from head to toe in black; or explaining to your six-year-old daughter, who is looking at the pictures in the newspaper, that the bearded Asian Muslim who is being arrested for terrorism isn’t in fact the family friend we all know and love – just someone who looks extremely similar. It is rare to pick up a newspaper or watch the television without encountering a ‘Muslim issue’ at least once. Lucy Bushill-Matthews’ story brings the faith behind the headlines refreshingly to life.

Extract from chapter one:

Renée made a special effort with dinner, and served up the largest pork cutlets I had ever seen. My heart sank.

I was 19 years old and in the middle of my first year at university. My parents had invited me to join them on a short break to visit my sister Julie, who was studying at a university near Amsterdam. I had spent the ferry journey teaching my other sibling, my eight- year-old brother William how to do ballet. Just before we docked in Holland, William proudly showed off his new-found skills to our parents. It was a happy occasion. We were together as a family for the first time in many months.
We were staying with Dutch friends Renée and Theo, whom my parents had known for years.

How could I tell Renée I had given up pork three months ago? I hadn’t told anyone in my family. I tucked in. And then Theo passed around the wine. Should I tell Theo I had given that up too? William was drinking Coca-Cola; I asked him to pass it to me. I thought no-one would notice. But my father did.

‘I hear Muslims think Coca-Cola has some alcohol in it,’ my father commented. Why did he say that? I hadn’t mentioned my developing interest in Islam to anyone outside of my university. Perhaps it was just a random remark. But I couldn’t help blushing. My father noticed that too. ‘You are not one of them, are you?’ he added. Everyone laughed, but my father continued to look at me. And my face went redder.

Reviews

“The book manages to be both funny, poignant and informative as it details the stresses of finding a place to pray in the workplace, the varying responses to her wearing of a head scarf, her Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca, and the ups and downs of daily life lived within a religious context.”
Stephen Cohan,
‘The Witness’ Newspaper, Pietermaritzburg,
South Africa.

“Islam is the world’s most talked about religion, although often not for very positive reasons these days. In these troubled times, Lucy Bushill-Matthews’ first book, Welcome to Islam, will bring a smile to your face as she engages the reader with her deadpan humour. She details her journey to Islam and the subsequent negotiations with friends and family, taking the reader on a tour of the faith and also her own personal circumstance. From the moment she converted Lucy had a lot of explaining to do, but her patience through the endless, and often bizarre, questions that she encountered comes through. With genuine warmth, honesty and openness, Lucy reveals herself to the reader. If her descriptions of her husband following her round with tarpaulin in case her home birth spoiled the carpets do not dispel two-dimensional stereotypes of Muslim women, nothing will!’’
Sarah Joseph,
OBE, Editor,
emel Magazine, UK.

“I read the book in one sitting – it was great and very refreshing! I think the humour, and the
non-judgemental approach are particularly wonderful aspects.’’
Journalist,
Fair Lady magazine,
South Africa

“If you are looking for a book about Islam, Lucy Bushill-Matthews is the author to pick. The two main things that remain mind once the book has been finished is her humour and her honestyin writing about some Muslims’ actions that cause people to question the religion.She shows how we can all get along , regardless of faith or colour. Where there is any struggle, there is always a resolution.”
News Editor,
Woking Review, UK.

READERS COMMENTS

I am reading your book (I’ve got to the Hajj Part) and just thought i should tell you how good it is. I’ve sacrificed reading about current affairs (ie the Metro!) as i can’t wait to read on. Iwill definitely pass it round!
Rana, London, UK

“I have just completed reading my copy, a quick read for the not so frequent readers and also a very heart-warming, light-hearted and inspirational book. I have certainly learnt from it and as a mother and a Muslim I can identify with many of the events described in the book.”
Faiza, Johannesburg, South Africa

“I greatly enjoyed reading this book. In all honesty I learnt more about Islam from it than I have by reading many other Islamic education books.”
Shehryar, London, UK.

“I found this book in the library this afternoon. I have just finished reading it – I have been glued to it and even made a batch of Eid biscuits while holding the book in one hand!!
The words meant so much to me. I have laughed and cried this evening. It can be hard living as a Muslim in a mostly non-Muslim community.”
Emily, East Anglia, UK

Once i started this book i couldn’t quite put it down and wanted to finish it. I am currently in a relationship with a non-Muslim and i must say a lot of issues the author went through really put things into perspective to me and also gave me a lot of hope as to how compromises with family can be achieved without having to compromise on what’s most important – one’s faith.”
Sam, Johannesburg, South Africa

“I just couldn’t put this book down, it was such a good read. It made me cry in a few places and made me laugh in others. I was so upset to come to the end of the book I just wish there was more to read. I really enjoyed reading it and I have a long list of friends and family who are fighting over who the next person is going to be to read it. My mother-in-law wants me to translate it for her and she’s asked me if it’s going to be translated into Urdu.”
Atya, Slough, UK