on 18 May 2010
When I bought this book I was expecting a very heavy story about one womens conversion to Islam.
Instead I found a very light entertaining story of all the daily activities a women went through in her journey. I was really proud of her strength and determination in her story and amazed at all the things she had achieved. I actually found it quite inspiring.
I would recommend it to all muslims as something to relate to and to all non-muslims to get an insight into muslims (and to see we aren't your typical sterotype!)
I wish I could give it four and a half stars as it's nearly perfect only it felt like more of a narration rather than a story but I did really enjoy it and her writing style is great!
Buy it, read it!
on 28 September 2008
Welcome to Islam is an excellent, timely book, written with a warmth and honesty that you are unlikely to find elsewhere. In it, Lucy Bushill-Matthews takes the reader on a unique journey through her life as a Muslim - from her first tentative steps as a new convert, through to the present day.
By drawing on a wide range of life experiences, ranging from the downright depressing to the immensely funny, Lucy Bushill-Matthews certainly manages to hold and sustain the reader's attention! But its greatest strength lies in the author's ability to illuminate Islamic principles through the use of her deeply personal life story.
The book will therefore appeal to Muslims and non-Muslims alike, and will benefit anyone who takes the time to read it. This won't take long though, since the book is addictive - and very, very hard to put down.
Extremely highly recommended - 5*.
on 22 January 2013
What an unusual book this is. Lucy's brisk, no-nonsense, practical guide to her adopted religion combined with her droll writing style provides a modest and reverent look at a subject which is often in the news.
Page 124 notwithstanding, I think it's fair to say that the Church of England's loss is most definitely Islam's gain.
on 17 May 2009
Welcome to Islam offers a fresh and fascinating personal perspective on Islam by someone who embraces her religion without losing the best parts of her culture. We see Islam as it appears to many Westerners, laugh at the sterotypes and welcome the sheer normality of the author. Many of us can identify with her struggles with working and looking after 3 small children. She proves one can be a true Muslim woman and have a Cambridge education, work, be a good wife, mother and confident educator. Such role models are vital in today's times to show the world what the practice of Islam should be like and help to banish the terrorist cliches. A very readable book.
on 14 November 2009
Lucy Bushill-Matthews' book offers an interesting glimpse into the life of someone who has crossed what is perhaps the most significant cultural divide of our times. It deals mainly with the practical problems of becoming a Muslim - coping with bemused incomprehension or outright hostility from family, friends, neighbours and work colleagues, adapting to a different dress code and diet, finding a suitable place to pray at work, treading a difficult tightrope between the conflicting demands of two different worlds. Her narrative is entertaining and at times touching - and yet ultimately superficial and unsatisfying.
I had hoped that the book would provide a real insight into what might prompt a young, white, middle-class, Cambridge-educated woman to convert to Islam. But here the book is largely silent. We are told in rather bland terms that she had been interested in Islam for some time and then befriended and subsequently fell in love with a man of part-Iranian descent. And that is all. We learn that her conversion cost her at least one sleepless night. But what was actually going through her head? Again the book is unenlightening. There is no sense of struggle or intellectual ferment. There is something extraordinarily naïve and lacking in self-questioning about her drift from one set of beliefs to another. The only clue lies perhaps in the oblique references to her former Christian faith, which seems to have provoked as little self-inquiry in her as her subsequent wholesale acceptance of Islamic dogma. She uses the phrase "as a Muslim, I believe ..." a great deal in the book. I wanted to ask: "But why do you believe it?" "What makes this set of beliefs better or truer than any other?"
An engaging but frustratingly superficial account of what ought to be a life-changing experience was my feeling as I worked my way through the book ... until I came to page 124. Here the author describes an incident where her husband's motorcycle was stolen by two teenagers. As her husband, Julian, and his recovered machine are being transported home in a van, the driver, discovering that Julian is a Muslim, remarks that the two miscreants would not have been so quick to steal if they had risked having their hands chopped off. This prompts the comment from Ms Bushill-Matthews that she and her husband - in contrast to the illiberal van driver! - are "only qualified supporters of hand chopping as a deterrent to crime". There are so many criteria that have to be met first - the punishment has to be administered with justice, in an Islamic country, where people are not stealing as a result of poverty. Think about it. This young mother of three, this examplar of "moderate" Islam, this successful synthesis of East and West, is a "qualified supporter" of mutilation for theft, a form of punishment abandoned in Britain in the eighteenth century because it was considered barbaric. If anyone were to express such a view in any context other than that of religious belief - which we are accustomed to regard as immune from criticism - it would raise storms of protest and cries of "fascist!". But not one of the six previous reviewers of this book saw fit to comment on this appalling utterance. In her ideal Islamic country, with its developed system of justice and its absence of poverty, would any account be taken, I wonder, of the fact that the perpetrators of the theft were 15 and 16 respectively? Unwittingly, in this single, almost throwaway comment, Ms Bushill-Matthews highlights the gulf that separates Islam from the Enlightenment-inspired values of western democracies, and the dangers of unquestioning acceptance of the legal and moral standards and prescriptions of the seventh century.
on 12 July 2009
Lucy's book is a moving story, beautifully told, which provides a simple yet touching insight into Islam. Thank you, Lucy, for sharing this with us.