Jordan is a predominantly Muslim country in the heart of the Arab world. It is a modern, technologically advanced and a rapidly democratising nation (or so they want the world to believe). It is a country which welcomes the future with open arms whilst holding on firmly to its ancient roots and traditions.
Dalia was a young, beautiful, Arab Muslim living with her family in Amman, Jordan. Aged 25, Dalia unexpectedly fell in love with Michael, a young Catholic man and a major in the Royal Army. She was forced to keep her relationship with him a secret and knew that if the relationship became public it could cost her her life. On only a handful of occasions were Dalia and Michael able to be alone and their relationship remained entirely chaste. Her only crime was to fall in love.
Two months after her 26th birthday, Dalia was the victim of an honour killing at the hands of her father. Her older brother, who was also her keeper, had become suspicious of Dalia and had reported the suspicions to their father.
Norma Khouri's book is a gift to the memory of her life-long friend. A powerful love story that ends in an appalling tradgedy, it is also an attempt to bring the world's attention to the plight of thousands of women still subject to inhumane rules in a society where honour killing not only goes completely unpunished, but is allowed and accepted.
Defying tradition and confronting Dalia's family about the killing, Norma was forced to flee the country when her own family threatened to kill her for shaming them in public. She fled to Athens and now lives in Australia.
Norma Khouri has had poems and short stories published in anthologies. As a result of the events recounted in Forbidden Love (which was written secretly at an Internet cafe), she was forced to emigrate to Athens. She now lives in Australia. This is her first book.