What readers are saying

On November 30th 2016, at the annual event commemorating and honouring Jews who fled persecution in North Africa and Middle East following the establishment of the modern state of Israel, I had the pleasure of hearing Dr. Sima Goel relay her personal experience of fleeing Iran after the Iranian revolution. Her story was riveting and evoked images of terror, hope, and the strength of the human spirit. If you have a chance to hear Dr. Goel’s story, seize it. Even better, get your hands on a copy of her book Fleeing the Hijab. It is an important read for anyone who wants a better understanding of what it is like to be Jewish in the Middle East. I particularly recommend it to young Jews. -Martin Sampson, The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA)
– Martin Sampson, The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA)
“I just finished reading your book and I wanted to express my appreciation. You and your family, like many in our congregation, went through tremendous hardship and difficulty. For you freedom was not some theoretical principle but a real goal and a lived experience. Perhaps only those who have lived without it can truly appreciate it. Reading your book enables us to better know and understand the value of this cherished right. The profound stories of the Jews from Arab lands are just now surfacing. They shed an important light on both Jewish history and the recent interaction between Jews and Arabs. Fleeing the Hijab, by Sima Goel exposes us to vital information. In her account we hear of the difficulties for Jews in Iran and we learn of the special circumstances of women. We read of the heartbreak of separation, the trauma of loss, and the very real trials of families under persecution. This is a story of courage and dedication; a story of a Mother’s love and a wonderful story of ambition, adaptation and integration. It is a story of freedom’s call and the response of one woman."
– Norma Joseph, Canada’s outstanding Orthodox feminist, University professor
“I couldn’t put this book down! Fleeing the Hijab is a book about oppression, love, courage, determination, and mostly of hope. Dr. Goel’s account of her personal journey touched my heart and soul… what a brave, brave woman! The book is written in such a way as to make you feel like you too are on this journey with Sima and her family. Heart-wrenching at times, yet so full of spirit, and goodness. After reading this book, it really makes you appreciate the freedoms we all take for granted. Loved it!”
– Dr. Laurie Betito, Psychologist, Radio Host CJAD
"Fleeing the Hijab is not only a true lesson in authentic learning, but a thriller worthy of a motion picture."
– Mike Cohen, City Columnist and Blogger
“Fleeing the Hijab – A Jewish Woman’s Escape from Iran” by Dr. Sima Goel is a compelling story about FREEDOM. This is a book that MUST be read by everyone who cares about personal freedom and liberty. Sima’s story describes her journey from living in the beautiful country of Iran to what happened after the Shah was ousted and Hezbollah took over. She describes her escape across the Iranian desert to Pakistan where, as a homeless refugee, she struggled desperately to find some way to escape to the West and freedom. Canada became her home. 

If we define freedom as the ability to live one’s life with all of one’s personal choices intact - one’s religion, one’s political party, one’s beliefs, one’s own pursuit of one’s own idea of happiness – true justice for all people, minimum interference with one’s daily life and pursuit of one’s goals, being free from the reach of tyrants and dictators who assume they know what is best for countless millions of sentient individuals then one can understand why Sima risked her life to achieve this end.

 To read this personal story of losing one’s freedom – where one can no longer read a book; listen to music, leave your house; drink a glass of wine, smoke a cigarette, be forced to wear the Hijab, lose members of your family; have no money for food or continue an education slaps you in the face with the harsh reality of what could come to our beautiful country if we should ever have to live under Sharia. They crush your spirit and destroy your soul. You become a non-person. You are nothing. This is what it is to live under Sharia law. (There have already been attempts in both Ontario and Quebec to implement Sharia law.) 

I urge everyone who embraces freedom, democracy and liberty to read and recommend this book to their friends. Readers NEED to know what they have to lose and only by reading the personal hell that Dr. Goel endured can they ever understand what is at stake.
– V. Price, Act for Canada
"An amazing and harrowing journey. Her courageous story and message are more timely now than ever."
– Shachar Orenstein, Rabbi of the Spanish & Portuguese Synagogue of Montreal
"This book explores one's journey of growth from childhood to young adult and then womanhood. It teaches us about hope, persistence, inspiration and faith. Set in a beautiful country of Iran which endures the changes of a political nature and recognizes the anti Semitism of Judaism. Sima’s belief in her religion, and the way the family practices it led to a beautiful upbringing of family, education and resilience. Through her strong connections to the basics of who she is -she recounts her own life - inspiring the reader to move forward and claim what we all deserve - “a life of freedom”. Being proud and able to announce her religion-once had closed many doors-but in the end-it opened doors and led to a beautiful life. Sima acknowledges and appreciates those she encounters and realizes what we all must learn. Life is easier when you can rely on others to help-we cannot do things solely on our own. Sima restores our faith in human beings, reinforcing the fact that people have the ability to do good. We all have a reason to be on this earth for what seems to be a brief moment- We must help others-that enables us to become better individuals and makes the world a better place. Dr Sima Goel, you are a beautiful inspirational woman who has a lot to give to others. You have enriched my life and for that I will be forever grateful."
– Heather Adelson, President of Women's Philanthropy, Combined Jewish Appeal
"'Fleeing the Hijab' transported me to Shiraz, an idyllic childhood seen through the eyes of a sensitive, intelligent young girl who was forced to grow up too fast by the tumultuous events of the Iranian revolution which brought the Ayatollah's to power and snuffed all freedom and hope in her life. Yet, Sima's flame could not be extinguished and she chose to risk her life rather than lose her soul. If you have ever wondered what it would be like to live through a revolution, then 'Fleeing the Hijab' is the book you need to read. A loving and caring community, with parents who are victims of an arranged marriage, Sima manages to see the beauty that surrounds her childhood in Shiraz. As the Shah's regime nears collapse, Sima and her sisters long for freedom! Yet, when they can just about taste it, the sweet taste of freedom turns to bitter ashes as the Ayatollahs and Hizbollah hijack the revolution, forcing the young Sima into hiding and, eventually into exile. 'Fleeing the Hijab' is not a book for the faint of heart: it will make you live the story of Sima, a young girl who yearns for freedom and who is forced to grow up too soon... yet who is wise beyond her years!"
– Alexandra Belaire AKA blogger Xanthippa Socrates
“Absolutely amazing book! I could not put it down. Makes you appreciate our freedom. Inspirational!”
– Anastasia Aravantinos
“Sima Goel’s Fleeing the Hijab is not only an extraordinary story of escape but also an incredibly honest story of a girl’s maturation. Sima takes us on a journey that relives and tells over the moments, events and relationships of her life as they occurred in the past yet with the profound wisdom of a mature person who knows that there is no place for judgment or preaching, rather only for compassion, love and acceptance.”
– Yael Dwerkin
“Reading Fleeing the Hijab, from beginning to end was very powerful. The book is beautifully written and I was drawn in by the author’s narratives of life in Iran, her descriptions of family relationships and the challenges and difficulties of your escape. It is a genuine tale of courage and perseverance and of course optimism in its true spirit. I hope many people have the opportunity to read this story, as it conveys so many messages on so many levels.”
– Arlene Naveran
“Sima Goel’s memoir, Fleeing The Hijab, was an eye opening experience for me. Being a teenager living in Canada, I have never been able to fathom the hardship that so many people my own age face around the world on a daily basis. This book kept me on the edge of my seat from start to finish, but more importantly, it made me realize how lucky I am to have the right to an education. I strongly recommend this book to readers of all ages.”
– Eric Schwartz
“The story of Sima and her family’s escape from Iran is a must read for all. This book is an inspiration to anyone who has a goal, a dream and who wants something better for their life. It is written with compassion and love, and provides a wealth of informative history of a country that most of us do not know. It is a story of the bravery of a young Jewish girl and her family, as they try to cope with unthinkable and dangerous living conditions. It is a fascinating story of escape and survival to better their lives in a free country. The survival of Sima and her many achievements and new life, are proof that with courage and determination, any feat can be accomplished. Bravo Sima!”
– Carole Lerman
“It is an amazing story that needed to be told. This book will change your life, and throughout I was asking myself how much more this family could go through. It is a story of resilience, hope and courage. Incredible! I was amazed how in a world of evil and injustice, strangers came along as angels and risked their lives for these girls. It proves there is hope for humanity. It is easy to read and I could not put it down. It is a wonderful book, and everyone needs to read it. Loved it.”
– Silvanna Apuzzo
“It is hard to appreciate the life of a refugee when you live in a first world country with no problems beyond getting stuck in traffic and what to wear to a dinner party. Reading Sima Goel’s account of her once peaceful life in Iran and the decline of her once beautiful hometown as it succumbed to war and oppression is both heart wrenching and eye opening. I knew very little about the political situation in Iran or its history between the various religions and how they once managed to co-exist peacefully and Goel’s personal account of the past as told through the eyes and her experiences were truly enlightening. I can appreciate more the plight of the Jewish people and the other minorities and how hard it must have been to abandon a home that was no longer recognizable to a terrifying and unknown new world. A terrific personal insight into Iran’s turbulent history as told through the eyes of a woman who lived through the worst of it and came out the other side.”
– Tiffany White
“I am so impressed! Sima has done an amazing job of giving readers a clear insight into her family’s lifestyle before and after the revolution. I could see the profusion of colours, hear the sounds and smell the smells as Sima took us on that roller coaster of a journey. Very well done! It is a truly remarkable book.”
– Lesley Macleod
“I just finished reading Fleeing the Hijab, it was an amazing story of survival. I started reading at 8am and could not put the book down. I finally finished the book at 5:30pm. This story is one of the most compelling stories of one family’s survival and escape. The courage and strength of the family is absolutely unbelievable. This book is so well written that I couldn’t help myself from being very emotional I found myself crying with both joy and sadness as I finished this unbelievable novel. Thank you Sima for sharing your life story.”
– Ronnie Farber
“What a story! The author’s indomitable courage and bravery in the face of such evil and horrific events are to be admired! Her constant faith in achieving freedom and ridding herself of the shackles of bondage are exemplary! An amazing book written by an amazing lady who is a beacon to freedom!”
– Iris Fink
“It’s an interesting book. We who have our comfortable life can’t imagine that in our century in certain parts of the word young girls and women do not have their “freedom” to choose and decide what is best for themselves. It takes lots of courage and a strong will at such a young age to leave your country and family behind to find your way to live your life with normality. The poems in the book front of the chapters are breathtaking… And I must congratulate the author on her ability to sit down and write about that difficult period in her life, to sit down and relieve such painful memories and write about it to show to the world what she lived through. It shows that she has the strength to follow her dreams and to inspire other women to do the same.”
– Ildiko Pintye
“Wow, what a book! It is a window into a major historical event and a very personal story from the point of view of a young Jewish girl victimized by the Islamic Revolution in Iran. Sima describes her childhood in the city of Shiraz in the 1960s and 70s. She reveals fascinating details I had never heard of, about the culture and traditions of both Iranian Jews and Iranians, as well as the relationship between people of the two religions. We learn about the opposition to the Shah, the rise of Islamic fundamentalism, and the Revolution through Sima’s eyes as a teenager. We are distressed at how her outspoken sense of justice results in her having to hide to save her life. Then comes the story of her escape. There is never a dull moment from the moment you open the book. It’s an emotional ride. You are learning about new things; you are enthralled by the action; you are overcome by emotions. And at the heart of it is a woman who dared to look back to an incredibly traumatic part of her life, to analyze her experiences and to understand them and the effect they had on her.”
– Sandy Cytrynbaum
“The book Fleeing the Hijab was awesome. It described what it was like to live in war-stricken Iran as a female Jew. A daring tale of escape, filled with excitement and detail, this book was a clear struggle of a young woman against religious oppression. It made me believe that there is strength in all of us, even when we aren’t sure it’s there.”
– Orianne Fox
“I just finished Fleeing the Hijab and cannot believe the strength, courage, tenacity, and compassion of the author’s whole family. Her story is both inspiring and motivating. It makes me realize how very lucky I am for all I have: family, friends and the freedom to make decisions as I choose. Thank you for sharing your very special story. With my respect, admiration and love.”
– Francine Fox
“A riveting novel about freedom, a life’s journey painstakingly told by a survivor, it will have you on the edge of your seat! Many people cross our paths throughout our lives, but only a few inspire us the way Dr. Sima Goel does. Upon meeting her, you can’t help but be drawn in to her aura, and feel a certain peace that ebbs away the chaos of life. How does she do it? How does she always seem to find and emanate that calm and serenity that escapes many of us? Her story begins in Shiraz, Iran, in a utopian setting filled with scents of orange blossoms and fragrant flowers. The safety of her family, the security of an education and the sweet comforts of home is how every childhood should be spent. Then the unforeseen happens! The once young and boisterous girl suddenly has to grow up and learn how to survive or be persecuted! Forced to wear the constricting hijab and chador, blacklisted in her schools for speaking out, young Sima must decide if she will stay in her beloved Shiraz, and conform to this enslaved life, or fight for her freedom! This story follows two very brave and determined sisters on a journey that many have undertaken, but few have survived; from treks across the unforgiving deserts, to hiding out in tiny rooms in stifling, polluted cities like fugitives, to a harrowing and nerve-wracking exit out of slavery and into freedom. I recommend this book for everyone! In an electronic age where the world cannot seem to survive without their gadgets and electronic ‘toys’, these two sisters had to survive using only their wit and instincts. Young Sima Goel found it within herself to go against the grain and fight all odds to become a survivor, a winner, and a teacher for all generations, teaching us that we cannot, must not, take anything for granted – not the books we read, nor the food we eat, nor the clothes we wear. But most of all, she teaches us to never lose our faith and hope, to be thankful of all our blessings, for all we have, and all we don’t have. To trust in ourselves and in God. For it could be worse.”
– Voula Goumenis
“Fleeing the Hijab, by Sima Goel, is the true story of the author from her early life in pre-Revolution Iran to her escape from the oppressive fundamentalist society, which followed the Islamic Revolution, concluding with her successful resettlement in Canada. She describes the culture and living condition of the society of which her Jewish community was an integral part. As a young girl, she witnessed the evolution of the monarchy to a secular, although non-democratic regime. This created opposition from Islamist parties as well as pro-democratic parties. The monarchy reacted with more oppression which encouraged more opposition and which resulted in the overthrow of the monarchy and the establishment of an Islamic regime. Goel supported the opposition to the Shah, but was disappointed with the lack of freedom under the Islamic regime, and once she expressed her views, she became an enemy of the state, which put her in danger of arrest and execution. The book describes her illegal escape by paying smugglers to guide her through the desert, mainly on foot, to Pakistan. This was a very dangerous route, and she overcame many dangers and obstacles. The book is a true thriller, as well as an excellent historical view of the period. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and I recommend it highly.”
– Stan Cytrynbaum
“Masterpiece!!! A true story of a beautiful and close-knit family, they supported and encouraged each other, through the good times and especially through the bad times. I admired the mother of the author. She gave unconditional love to her family and the huge sacrifices she made for their benefit. This story will leave you feeling uplifted and truly inspired. Follow their amazing and sometimes horrific life journey. You will truly enjoy this one!!!”
– Caterina Bertucci
“Fleeing the Hijab is a story of a very loving mother who would do anything for her children. It is also a story of some very brave young girls who stood for liberty and had the courage to do what they felt was right in their hearts. The bravery that was shown was unbelievable. This had to be the most riveting book that I have read. I could not put it down. It also showed that no matter how young you are, we all do what we have to do to survive. My friend also finished your book and also could not put it down. She thought it was also one of the best true stories she has read.”
– Sharon Katsof
“I just finished reading, Fleeing The Hijab. It is about the courage and strength of a 17 year old girl who wanted to go to school and who wanted to be free! How many of us would go through such a life or death situation for freedom!! Considering the alternative, Sima Goel knew she would be killed or have to spend her life hiding if she stayed in her beloved Shiraz in Iran. Leaving her parents and siblings behind, her story of her escape will haunt you for days! You feel her blisters and her pain, her hunger and her thirst, her desperation, her fear and her pleas for help! You will laugh with her and you will cry with her but you will admire her strength and hope through it all and be her cheerleader until the very end! A MUST READ!!”
– Linda Seltzer
“I was fascinated by this very personal book. The author describes her early life as simple and harmonious, part of a Jewish family in the beautiful city of Shiraz, Iran, which contrasts with the arduous path of escape through the relentless desert. What sense of observation and insight which unfolds during the journey through the desert and cities during the days and nights, weeks and months! The whole adventure is driven by an unwavering religious faith clearly reflected, but without affectation. At times I had to remind myself that this story is not an invention of a mind full of imagination, but describes the experience of a person I have known for several years. Following her intense dream to live in freedom, relying on the help of God, is not very fashionable in today’s world. But by immigrating and integrating into a completely different country, building a home, career, and family life for herself, she has achieved what she always wanted: to live in freedom.”
– Johanna Tousignant
“This book was hard to put down. Sima writes about the events of her life and is very descriptive about her family, her beautiful Shiraz, the love of her country and the struggles she went through for her treasured freedom. My attention was captured throughout the book, and gave me a sense of reality of how many people live in this world without their basic freedom and rights. Congratulations Sima for being so honest and for sharing your life with the world.”
– Dania Besnos
“What a wonderful accomplishment. It is truly extraordinary that you set out to write your story and followed it through with such determination and success. Fleeing the Hijab is an interesting, poignant and thought provoking read. I will recommend it on to my friends and family. Thank you for sharing your story and thereby allowing others to experience it and learn from it. Your clear and yet soft spoken messages of gratitude, forgiveness and freedom have stayed on within me long after I finished the book.”
– Karen Sochachevski
“Inspiring! An inspiring book written by a very brave woman. This story takes you on a journey – a journey into the lives of Sima and her family, the traditions and the culture of life in Iran for a Jewish person. It is rich and comes alive for the reader. It is a story of perseverance and fighting for what you believe is right. It is also a lesson in using the trials in life as motivation to get to a better place. Sima has used her ordeal in a positive way – to guide her in her willingness to help others and to appreciate what she fought so hard to get. Freedom! Great Job!”
– Madonna Stowe
“This is the kind of book that you can’t put down. The journey is so well written I felt transported and humbled. It takes courage to follow your beliefs and triumph. This is an inspirational story about a family that never gave up on themselves or each other in the pursuit of their freedom and their lives. A must read!”
– Lynn Wachman
“I recently finished reading this book and I was completely moved and inspired. Not only was the story amazing and compelling, but it was also very well-written. I was totally consumed by the book while reading it, and I still find myself thinking about Sima’s story long after the book is over. I look forward to sharing this book with my friends and family.”
– Mindy Niloff Backler
“I read a review of Sima Goel’s autobiography in the Free Press and went right to Bibliophile to get it. I read it quickly as it was hard to put down. Sima is a spirited person, obviously, and wrote in an energetic, passionate way that kept me riveted to her amazing story. Not only about her harrowing escape on foot through the desert but her interesting account of Jewish life in a rural setting. The descriptions of her dear parents is so thorough that I feel I know them. It does not surprise me that she did well in Canada and I wish her continued freedom for 120 years.”
– Irene Lipper
“I‘ve been an avid reader for over forty years, and never I have been so emotionally involved in a story. The author writes with an elegant, simplistic style allowing the reader to feel the emotion of the story. This is a truly inspirational, heart wrenching story of courage, determination and the pursuit of freedom. After you have read this book, you will really understand the importance of the right to an education or religion or just the right to choose. These are often liberties we take for granted. This book is a must read for all students who don’t take advantage of the academic opportunities given to them. I thank the author for reawakening my mind and spirit to the many blessing and gifts in my life.”
– Cora Dezan
In August of 1978, life in Shiraz, Iran took a change for the worse which led to Sima’s incredible journey to freedom. Her Story takes you on a ride of emotions. It brings to light the horrors and challenges her and her family faced; and while at times your heart is breaking you are also filled with hope from her strength and courage! This story will surely make you thankful for all your blessings!”
– Judith & Donna Renda
“Sima Goel’s story about her journey from an oppressed existence in Iran to a life of freedom in Canada is both harrowing and inspiring. I was struck, not only by the hardships that she was forced to endure, but also by her resilience and resolve. I admire her courage and bravery and will think of her story when faced with my own life challenges.”
– Dana Kobernick
“I am honoured to have been able to read the author’s story! All our families have journeys of bravery and hardship! For her to have lived it and told it is particularly admirable. I felt as though I was suffering, walking and praying and waiting with her!”
– Lucille Shapiro
“I read Fleeing the Hijab! It was a spell-binding, enthralling, nail-biting, tear jerking and a very moving story. Thank you for your honesty and bravery in putting pen to paper.”
– Candy Engel
“It is truly an inspiring book. This story illustrates the struggle and difficulty of which Dr.Goel and her sister went through to get to freedom. She brilliantly captures the reader’s attention and draws them into her life in Iran. As you keep reading, you get hooked! You just won’t put the book down till you know Dr.Goel and her sister have made it out of oppression and into the land of freedom. It is a well-written book; you feel the emotions of the girls and you can visualize the settings vividly as the details are impeccable. Reading this book makes you realize that we have the luxury of freedom. We are so fortunate to live in a free country, to be heard, to be able to stand up for ourselves, to BE ourselves and we take it for granted. Stories like this one really makes you think long after you’re done reading it. I applaud Dr.Goel for writing and sharing her story with us. I highly recommend this book to everyone and anyone. You will not regret it!”
– Gaayathri Muthiah
“I want to thank the writer for sharing her story. Within the book she shows us that life under religious extremism is very similar to living under the prewar Nazi regime. The Western world should never take what we have for granted. We must stand up against extremists and intolerance and stand up for minority rights and what we know is wrong. I believe this book is a must read for all teenagers and should be introduced into the school curriculum. Well done!”
– “RockyRacoon”
“I just finished reading Fleeing the Hijab and have to say I thought it was a courageous story and beautifully written. I could not put the book down. Everything the author went through, I read as if I was there. She is an incredible writer and her story is honest and riveting. Thank you for sharing it with your readers. If I was the publisher I would push for it to be on Oprah s book list, as it’s a wonderful book and gripping story. I will definitely recommend to my friends.”
– Joe Tuwaig
“Fleeing the Hijab, though it took place some 30 years ago, is currently an ongoing issue with people in not only in the author’s native country of Iran. It is still a relevant and painful issue today in other Middle Eastern countries and in Africa… people are looking desperately for someplace safe to flee. They take tremendous risks as they leave their home and pray that other more humane countries will give them asylum. Reading Goels’ story, one is breathless living her fear for her life, for her family’s lives as they try to help each other escape the evil and terror that has taken over every aspect of their existence. One cannot possibly comprehend how one can walk away from everything one has grown to love: people, places, things, but Goel walks us through the steps she had to take to save her own life as she tells us about the people who helped her at tremendous risk. As you read this book be prepared: you will not be able to breathe, you are living this story, you are terrified too, and you can trust no one. That is how well the author makes you feel her actual experience. That is how good a job she did telling us (the world) her story. We need to read it, listen and act. I rate. This book: <10/10.Must Read>”
– Susan Stromberg Stein
“Just finished this book & passed it on to a friend. This work was so detailed & compelling. Absolutely incredible. The author sure had to grow up quickly & young. Amazing how she survived , both physically & emotionally.”
– Estair Stotland
“An amazing true story of determination and courage. I enjoyed reading the story of Sima and her family fleeing the unbearable dictatorship of the Ayatollahs. A very touching and intimate description of her perilous adventure from hell to Canada. Sima tells her story with humour and passion along her life and escape from the bats of the dark Ayatollahs and inspires us by what could be waiting for her outside in a free world. Personally I found this book much more delicious than ‘Not without my daughter’ made famous by the movie.”
– Emile Segev
“This book was inspirational on several levels. The author fought for her rights against a government that was opaque, disrespectful and oppressive. She had the courage to take her own course and flee the country with severe penalties if she were caught. She put her future in the hands of a few good people- that’s true faith. I only wish that everyone read this book in order to appreciate our country ruled by, however flawed, democracy and justice.”
– Rona Katz
“I’ve just finished reading this book. What an incredible story the author haslived to tell. We are so lucky here in Canada that I often think that it’s so astonishing that we live in the same world as so much suffering. Congratulations on a well written book and thanks for sharing, it’s important.”
– Karen Mendell
☆☆☆☆☆ 5 out of 5 stars. Captivating and exciting memoir: sure to engage teens and adults, both Fleeing the Hijab by Dr. Sima Goel is a jewel of a book. Goel's memoir of her life in, and subsequent escape from Iran reflects her belief in people of all faiths. The book speaks to the universal need for self-expression and love. As a curious teenager, Sima's interest in the greater world innocently provoked the new Iranian regime, resulting in her eventual flight across the most dangerous desert in the world and eventual journey to the west. Both teens and adults will be fascinated by her independent spirit and love for tradition, family and culture. Her memoir will motivate the reader to welcome life's challenges, and create a life "well-lived".
– Eden
It was an amazing story of this woman's experience, and brought much understanding of the difficulties that she & her family endured to escape from Iran.
– Pearl
Fleeing the Hijab is a gripping account of one woman's quest for freedom and the heroic journey she travels to attain it. Reading Sima Goel's book left me laughing, crying and thinking, and sometimes all at once. It has helped me to appreciate the freedom I am so blessed to have and to learn so much about life in Iran from her vivid descriptions.
– F. Adams
An exciting and enlightening experience Fleeing the Hijab is a fascinating story that helps readers in North America (in particular) understand the value of freedom, as well as how quickly it can slip away. Dr. Goel starts by explaining her family life in the Iranian city of Shiraz in the 1960s and 70s. Her family is Jewish, but under the rule of the Shah, her faith is tolerated as long as no one tries to criticize the regime. She describes the family’s traditional ways of life and how they were slowly changing through the influences of American and European lifestyles. Everything changes very quickly when the Shah is deposed and the new fundamentalist regime takes charge. Young Sima Goel is quite outspoken, has great difficulties accepting the restrictions placed on her freedoms and then learns that she is on the regime’s “black list” and at risk of disappearing forever. The book then chronicles her flight from Iran in a dramatic exodus across the dessert into the neighboring country of Pakistan. The crossing itself is an amazing microcosm of the geopolitical issues that still affect this region of the world. While this passage was life-threatening, her journey to Canada may have been even more dangerous as she lands in Saudi Arabia with a false Turkish passport – despite the fact that she speaks not one word of Turkish! If she is arrested there, she is almost certain to be deported, tortured and probably killed! The book is gripping and enlightening. It is a personal look into a fascinating historical time and into a world that North Americans know very little about. It is a great read and also highly educational.
– Patrick Peotto – social science teacher and administrator
I absolutely loved this book! It was an inspiring story that made me laugh, cry and appreciate life. Sima Goel has told her story that everyone should come to know. All life is sacred and the freedom to choose should be possible for everyone. Enjoy an amazing read that will open your eyes!
– Elizabeth L Sinanan
Fleeing the Hijab by Sima Goel is a compelling memoir that offers both an eye-opening revelation into life in Iran during that era, as well as into the very extraordinary personal journey of the author. It is a book that you won’t want to put down. The author describes the divisive laws imposed on all Iranians, women and men, under the rule of the Ayatollah Khomeini which extends into society, schools, and stifles one`s personal freedom to learn and live, not only for Jews but also for those of the Baha’i faith and other minorities. How her family and friends are affected is fascinating as well as often heart-wrenching. Life was becoming more and more unbearable resulting in a courageous escape through dangerous terrain and circumstances. The details of which are described so well, that you would think that you, the reader, are right in the moment. I highly recommend this book and have bought a number of copies to give as gifts. I think that Fleeing the Hijab should be read by anyone who wants to know the truth about a subject that most people unfortunately know so little about. Thank you Sima for sharing your story!
– Susan Block