It’s hard not to judge a book by its cover, or in this case, an article by its headline, when the first words that scream out at you are: From bikinis to burkas: A Yemeni memoir.
If your first thought is, “Not again. Haven’t we been down this cliché-littered road before?” then you’re not alone.
But since Yemen is the latest Muslim-majority country to grace the headlines of nearly every recent newspaper article and television broadcast, it was almost inevitable that the world would soon be privy to an article like the one published in Canada’s daily Globe and Mail newspaper, by Yemen-born, Toronto-based professor and writer Kamal Al-Solaylee.
I’m sure you’re familiar with the formula already. Find a Western-based intellectual who is disillusioned with his or her childhood upbringing in the big bad Muslim country du jour, encourage him or her to write a tell-all exclusive on how backwards and primitive said upbringing was, add a sensational headline pitting the “Western world” against the “Muslim world”, and voila – you’re on your way to a crowd-pleasing piece in which a lucrative book deal can’t be too far behind.