Imagine your pride in knowing that your ancestors have lived in the same country for over 2500 years; you consider yourself part of the stones and bones of the nation. Imagine that you grow up in a comfortable environment, where your large extended family lives within walking distance; you feel safe and loved. Imagine that you are familiar with the myriad cultural nuances in your vast nation; you are proud of your country, its history, art, and growing position on the world stage.
Imagine being thirteen and finding out that your sense of security was built on a foundation of sand: you wake up one morning and everything you have known, has been swept away. Imagine yearning to read books of science that could lead you to an important profession, or wanting to listen to inspirational, classical music and admire the great masters of the past. Imagine being told that these are forbidden, as are most of the ideas of the modern world.
Imagine being told, regardless of your religion, tradition or belief, that a young girl on the brink of womanhood must wrap herself in heavy black robes or potentially face jail or assault by acid attack.
Imagine that you are two times a minority: a Jew and a woman in a male dominated society. Your wings have been clipped and you can only gaze at the far off sky. There is no future for you in the land of your forefathers.
Imagine that you are sixteen and your only option is to go into hiding. You spend weeks and months, wandering from city to city across your country, effectively homeless. Imagine you are 17 and your mother tells you, “If you have nothing to die for, you have nothing to live for. Imagine you are Sima Goel, and you give yourself into the hands of smugglers to travel across the most dangerous desert in the world.
Imagine you read Fleeing the Hijab, you learn the amazing details of a woman’s life and bow your head in gratitude as you recognize the bountiful blessing that life has offered you.
Gratitude is the best prayer.
A true account of Sima Goel, the Iranian teenager who crossed the most dangerous desert in the world rather than accept the restrictions of life in Iran of the early 1980s. Her quest for freedom is a thrilling, timely inspiration for people longing to create a life of meaning. It was the last straw!
The Ayatollah Khomeini had decreed that all women in Iran must wear the hijab, whether they were Muslim, Jewish, Christian, or Baha’i. Thirteen-year-old Sima had gone out into the streets of Shiraz to demonstrate for freedom under the Shah’s oppressive rule, and now that he had fled the country, this was the result: a new regime, and a much more repressive rule. The changes Khomeini’s regime forced on the population were totally incompatible with Sima’s ambitions and sense of personal freedom. Blacklisted by her school, unable to continue her studies, mourning the murders of innocent family members and friends, and forced to wear the hijab, she realized she had to leave her beloved birthplace and find a country where she could be free to follow her dreams.
Fleeing the Hijab is a vivid portrait of a dangerous journey made by two teenaged girls through the Iranian desert to Pakistan, where, as homeless refugees, they struggled desperately to find some way to escape to the West. It is a story that needs to be heard and remembered.
Iranian-born Sima Goel has always had compassion for those who suffer. Her instinctive need to speak out against oppression ultimately resulted in unwanted attention from the authorities, which led her to flee her beloved Shiraz and eventually to Montreal.
Sima Goel is a self-made woman. Her journey to freedom, recounted in her memoir, Fleeing the Hijab, A Jewish Woman’s Escape from Iran, reflects her belief that, without freedom of choice, life is worthless. She is a strong advocate for the disenfranchised and the rights of all, specifically the rights of women. With the publication of her book, Sima has fulfilled the promise she once made to herself: to speak out and share her truth that freedom is the most precious commodity of all.
Wellness chiropractor, health advocate, inspiring author and an in-demand speaker, Dr. Goel considers her most important role to be that of mother to her two teenage boys, and wife to her beloved husband.