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Last Updated: Monday, 26 July, 2004, 08:55 GMT 09:55 UK
Doubts over 'honour killing' book
By Phil Mercer
BBC correspondent in Sydney

A man removes a copy of 'Forbidden Love' from a bookshelf
Khouri says the book tells the story of her best friend's life and death
A controversial book about the "honour killing" of a Jordanian woman has been withdrawn by publishers in Australia after the author was accused of fabricating the story.

Norma Khouri's Forbidden Love was a best-seller in Australia.

It is a first-hand account of a Muslim woman's death, murdered by her father over her relationship with a Christian.

But an Australian newspaper says it has uncovered dozens of inconsistencies. The author stands by her story.

Norma Khouri's celebrated story details the tragedy of her best friend, a Muslim woman in Jordan who falls in love with a Christian man.

The relationship so enraged her family that she was murdered.

'Harrowing memoir'

At the time of its launch in Australia two years ago,the book was marketed as "a harrowing memoir by a Jordanian woman whose lifelong friend was the victim of an honour killing at the hands of her own father".

Over the weekend the Sydney Morning Herald alleged that the author had fabricated the story.

The paper said an exhaustive investigation spanning three continents had uncovered a series of lies.

It claimed the author had lived in Jordan only until she was three and that the central character in the book never existed.

Evidence

The publisher of Forbidden Love in Australia said it was being withdrawn until its authenticity could be proved.

In a statement, Random House said it had requested evidence from the author that the book was a true representation of her life and experiences.

Norma Khouri has strongly rejected the allegations.

She said she stood by her story and insisted she could prove she was telling the truth.

The 34-year-old writer lives a reclusive life in north-eastern Australia.

She has been granted asylum on account of the troubled past she said she suffered in the Middle East.


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