The author of “The Girls of Riyadh” is doing the US media circuit to promote the new publication of her book in English. Here’s a taste, but make sure to read the whole profile:
Finding love in Saudi Arabia is practically impossible, especially for young Muslim women.
That’s the premise 25-year-old author Rajaa Alsanea tackles in her novel, “Girls of Riyadh,” which has already created a stir throughout the Arab world.
“In Saudi, there are a lot of restrictions,” she said during an interview at the University of Illinois at Chicago’s College of Dentistry. Alsanea is pursuing a master’s degree in oral sciences before returning to Riyadh to live with her family, practice dentistry and continue writing fiction.
“We’re living in the 21st century, and there are still traditions from the 19th century, and that’s just insane,” she said. “You have the Internet … and freedom of speech. You have modern schools and modern hospitals. And everything around you is digital. And yet you have to go through all this pain when you want to get married.”
…”It’s my obligation to try to fix things in Saudi. I’m not trying to fix the government or Islam. What I’m trying to fix is mentality, how people think. It’s the traditions,” she said. “These traditions either [need to] loosen up, or we should get rid of them.”