Egypt brought to my mind pyramids, tombs and hieroglyphics.I had heard almost nothing about Arab or Muslim women, and our country was not yet using the myth of the repressed Muslim woman as an excuse for war.I was working as a carpenter, and wanted to volunteer on his projects.In those days US citizens were just as ignorant of Arab and Muslim culture, but there was not the violent anti-Arab and Islamophobic rhetoric there is now.
Would the women of the house have preferred to be eating with the men and their guest? I was always aware of a lively, self-contained women’s world existing in another part of the house.Her book, Why, I was asked, would I want to live in an Arab country? Before visiting the Arab World, Moore earned a BA from Harvard University and worked as a journalist.She has also earned her living as a carpenter and general building contractor, an editor and researcher, and a teacher of English for Academic Purposes. I made up my mind after reading a book by the Egyptian architect Hassan Fathy, where he described building houses of mud brick for poor people.The extended family tradition, although for many reasons this is changing in many Muslim cultures, was once fairly universal throughout the world.The nuclear family – the term was coined only in the 20th century — appeared in Western Europe and New England as late as in the 17th century, under the influence of the Christian church and theocratic governments.
On the other hand, I was allowed to work in the carpenter’s shop, as the carpenter’s daughter would not have been. And it was, of course, simultaneously empowering: as a result of my special status as “foreigner” I received the gift of learning this craft.