Mohamed Morsi’s removal from power – a revolution or a coup d’état? What is the life like in the country where thirty percent of the population is illiterate, and ninety percent of women are subjected to a cruel “circumcision” procedure? Where is Egypt moving in its desire to build a Western-style state that will live under democratic but also Islamic laws? Polish reporter Piotr Ibrahim Kalwas tries to find answers to these and other questions in his reportage “Egypt: Haram, Halal”. “Choven” publishing house is preparing a Ukrainian translation of his book; it will be released in January 2018.
Fifteen years ago Piotr Kalwas accepted Islam and chose the name of Ibrahim. Seven years ago he left Poland, moved to Egypt and settled in Alexandria. For a long time he has been recording the story of his transformation – the intellectual and spiritual reformation of a European by the Muslim East. Salaphites, copts, jihadists – how do they think and what do they believe in? Why don’t they listen to music and why do they kill black dogs? In his reportage, the author explains that in accordance with the Egyptian tradition – “halal” is what is allowed, while “haram” is what is prohibited.
“Kalwas inhales the fumes of his hookah mixed with sea salt and unhurriedly takes us to the hidden spots of Egypt,” writer Witold Szabłowski comments so on the book. “He puts to shame a radical salaphite, watches victims of car accidents, talks to women about circumcision, and with atheists about their life in the country where ungodliness is forbidden. He starts his reflections from garbage and finishes with the causes of the Egyptian resistance to the West. This book is a must-read for anyone who wants to see over the Nile something more than a coral reef and a camel against the background of the pyramids.”
Taking advantage of his uncertain status of a person between cultures and religions, Piotr Ibrahim Kalwas peeks into the most hidden Egyptian communities. He knows why someone in the local streets can easily throw acid into a girl’s face, and why one of the most popular western books in Egypt is Hitler’s “Mein Kampf”. “Egypt: Haram, Halal” will be interesting for those who want to learn more about the life of modern Egypt and the Egyptians – those who dream of freedom, and those who run away from it.
The publication will appear in bookstores in January 2018. The book is translated into Ukrainian by Les Beley.