Book and Film Challenge Update


The 58th book I read for the challenge was Inside the Kingdom: My Life in Saudi Arabia by Carmen Bi Ladin. Carmen was the sister-in-law of Osama Bin Laden. Her husband was Osama’s half-brother. Carmen is Swiss, born to an Iranian mother and an American father but raised by her mother in Switzerland. She met Yeslam bin Ladin when his mother and brothers rented their house in Switzerland for a summer. They fell in love and both went to the University of Southern California. They decided to marry but also decided to live in the US, until bin Laden family business called Yeslam back to Saudi Arabia. This is the story of Carmen’s experiences as a woman trying to live in a repressive and oppressive Saudi Arabia. They managed to plan many trips to Geneva to escape the repressive life of Saudi Arabia but life in the kingdom put a tremendous strain on their marriage. They had two daughters and they were the loves of Carmen’s life and they kept her going in Saudi Arabia. Eventually, the pressures of business took their toll on Yeslam and when Carmen became pregnant again he forced her to have an abortion. Even he became more restrictive in his manner and they eventually moved permanently to Geneva where Carmen became pregnant again. This time she refused to have an abortion and she began divorce proceedings against Yeslam when she caught him in adultery. When they moved to Geneva, she discovered her girls were behind their peers in academic subjects in school since Saudi schools concentrated on the Qur’an and rote learning and indoctrination, but they quickly caught up. The bin Ladin’s divorce has still not been settled but the older girls are adults and lawyers and the youngest is nearly grown now. This is a frightening look into life in Saudi Arabia and the treatment of women in that country and the hypocrisy of the Saudis when they come to the West. It was a very enlightening book for me as a Muslim woman, since the Saudis practice an extreme form of Islam called Wahabism and it is scary. Fifty-eight down, 42 to go.

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About mairedubhtx

I am a "youngish" grandmother of 15 year old twin granddaughter who has recently (is a year "recent"?) adopted Islam as my way of life, much to the consternation of my family. I love to read. I love to write. I am writing a book about my decision to revert, about my spiritual journey. I have another blog about stories from my youth, my parents, and grandparents. It's a blog so my OCD daughter will not be able to throw it out when I die. I suffer from depression and anxiety, for which I am treated, so my posts may be a bit dark at times. C'est la vie.
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