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Book Club Series — Dancing in the Mosque: An Afghan Mother’s Letter to her Son

“Instead believe in yourself, for it is you and I together who must create a new Afghanistan. I look forward to the day when the two of us will live in a society of equals.”
— Homeira Qaderi, Dancing in the Mosque

Welcome to the Women for Women International Book Club! This month we’re reading Dancing in the Mosque: An Afghan Mother’s Letter to her Son by award winning writer and activist, Dr. Homeira Qaderi. 

This heartbreaking and inspiring memoir gives a first-hand account of  the reality of life in Afghanistan. It illustrates the impossible choices Afghan women are forced to make as they fight for equality and justice.

Don’t forget to join the #WFWIBookClub Facebook Group…

We’ve launched a space for passionate readers like you to dive deeper and connect with each other while exploring women’s power. We hope you’ll join the discussion online!

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Why Dancing in the Mosque is important...

By reading and discussing this book together, we’re amplifying the voices of Afghan women.

Dancing in the Mosque is a call to action to advocate for a peaceful and equitable Afghanistan that recognizes the inherent value of women. It is both tender and enraging and overflowing with true stories of extraordinary women and allies who are striving to change the course of their nation.

At its heart, Dancing in the Mosque is a story of rebellion. Although each of us may not face the same challenges or severe consequences as Qaderi has faced in her life in Afghanistan, her story can inspire us to fight injustice in our own lives. It is a testament to the power and responsibility that each of us must become a catalyst for equality.

It’s been one year since the fall of Kabul and we are continuing to provide education and income generating opportunities for Afghan women. Women for Women International has served more than 127,000 women in Afghanistan and we believe peace and prosperity will only be achieved if the women of Afghanistan are leading the way and their voices are heard.

With you by our side, we will continue this critical work and fight for equality. Thank you for being an ally and advocate for Afghan women and a vital member of our global community.

Trigger Warning for Dancing in the Mosque:

Violence, terrorism, sexual abuse, child abuse



Discussion Questions

Check out the discussion questions for Dancing in the Mosque below, and connect with readers on Instagram to share your reactions, thoughts, and questions by using the hashtag #WFWIBookClub, and tagging us with @womenforwomen. We want to hear what you think—share your take on the book with us! 

  1. What role does storytelling and writing play in Homeira’s life and claiming her independence?
  2. Can you give examples of when writing was a source of pride to her and her family? Can you think of a time when writing put her and her family in danger?
  3. What do you think is meant by the statement: “In this land, it is better to be a stone than a girl."
  4. How did Homeira’s parents and grandmother influence how she perceived her role as a woman in Afghanistan?
  5. When Homeira was teaching in the mosque and developed a romantic interest in a young Talib, did any elements of their relationship surprise you?
  6. When Homeira, the “Chick Commander”, organized her peers in a protest, why do you think so many young girls enthusiastically agreed to participate, but so few actually demonstrated?
  7. After reading Homeira’s memoir, why do you believe she made the incredibly difficult decision to stand up to her husband and pursue advocating for equality when it ultimately resulted in being separated from her son?

The questions above are selected from Harper Collins’ Discussion Questions. You can find a full list of discussion questions here.