An American who lives in Saudi Arabia, deprived of the rights on 4-year-old daughter due to social media posts and trips to Burning Man

Bethany Vierra the 32-year-old founder of the first in Saudi Arabia, yoga Studio, lost custody of her daughter Sinai because the local court found a woman too «Western» to raise a child.

Bethany moved to Saudi Arabia to teach at the University in 2011. She divorced her husband, a Saudi in 2017 and wanted to obtain custody of their four-year old daughter. But the court found that a woman can’t be a good parent.

«Mother, the new man in Islam, she’s a foreigner and continues to follow the customs and traditions of his people. Zain, you should avoid these customs and traditions, especially at an early age,» said judge Abdul-Ella Ibn Mohammed al-Tuwaijri.

In statements submitted to the court, the lawyer ex-husband of Bethany used her social networking as evidence of non-Islamic lifestyle. The prosecution played on the fact that the woman was a renowned American Burning Man festival, and uses social networks in which «full nudity, mixing of the two sexes and that that is contrary to religion, traditions and customs» of Islam. The husband also provided a photo of Bethany with her personal social media accounts with uncovered head, in a bikini and sweats for yoga. All this, according to the prosecution, inappropriate image for women. In addition, the court considered that, once Vierra runs his own yoga Studio, she doesn’t have time to raise her daughter.

In court, she argued, backing his words with footage that the former husband abused her and used drugs, and this makes it unsuitable caregiver for a child. Ex-husband denies most of the charges, though he admitted that he had taken drugs. In court, he said that Vierra itself he was offered and forced to become an atheist. To give comments to the Western media, the man refused.

A court in Saudi Arabia is governed by Sharia law. Verry husband, whom she married in 2013, is both her guardian and the guardian Zany. He has not allowed Bethany to leave the country at Christmas, and the period of legal residence in Saudi Arabia expired, depriving the woman of access to Bank accounts. In the end — a miracle, thanks to the ballyhoo in Western media — Bettany gave a residence permit in the country, as the mother of a citizen of Saudi Arabia.

The judge decided that neither the mother nor the father is not fit to raise a child and has given custody of her grandmother Sinai from Saudi Arabia, currently living with the girl’s father.

From Bethany have a last chance to appeal the judge’s decision about custody. But the woman’s parents say they have issued a warrant for her arrest after missed Vierra child visits, which, according to them, didn’t even know.

Her parents are afraid that in the end will lose both daughter and granddaughter. Cathy and Myron told CNN that she was forbidden to leave Saudi Arabia in the next 10 years and the judge warned the woman that she should not give media interviews.

Vierra not going to give up. Today, she plans to appeal: for what it’s worth, a woman wants to be with her daughter.

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«It was so hard when the judge, after hearing all the evidence of abuse that me and Zayn have suffered over the years, came to the conclusion that I’m a bad mother because from the West. she writes in a post left on Facebook — I do much good, but to be the mother of Zayn is what I was born with. She’s my everything, the reason I live, my friend and my joy. I raised a beautiful, intelligent and healthy girl and I did all this almost by myself.

I did all those stereotypical Mama things: breast-feed the Zain to 2 and a half years, slept with her, preparing her organic baby food, read to her long before she began to speak, sang to her, talked with her, played, hugged and taught all that is possible. We toured with her for 17 countries. I sat with her at home for three years. And when her father quit his job, I found a way to contain its financial independently and for more than a year own. I left a familiar life, my dreams, my dear family, my incredible friends, my best years and my beautiful country, so she could be where her roots and the Saudi family. I opened my own business in Riyadh, to hold her and named in her honor. I wanted to control my schedule and not be an employee because she is my main priority. As a doctor of philosophy I have built bridges over the abyss and helped to break down stereotypes about the Saudis, to help the world to break the mistrust of Islam. I received a master’s degree in Islamic studies because I loved it! I was protecting this country before the whole world and here I am!»

Bethany told me that one of the arguments of the judges was that the child spoke very well in English and poorly in Arabic. According to the woman, her daughter came running in hysterics, rushed to her, repeating «I speak Arabic», began to count in Arabic and to cry. Vierra said that since the child began to urinate during sleep and Wake up from nightmares. The girl is afraid that if the mother leaves the room, she can’t see her, and cries when Bethany leaves.

«What’s my crime? Is that a handstand? That I’m not Saudita? That do not cover the body when you come on vacation to the States? This judge has sentenced millions of people in the world that they are bad parents!

I don’t have another 10 years to endure so much injustice and ugliness. I already live in a prison. The problem is that I drag to Zayn in it for themselves.

Zayn deserves better. Please don’t take my sunshine.»