US mother in Saudi loses custody of 4-year-old daughter after judge says she is too Western to raise the child
Bethany Vierra, 32, lost custody of her daughter Zaina in July after a Saudi court determined that the mother was too 'new to Islam'
Bethany Vierra, a Washington mother, lost custody of her four-year-old daughter to her abusive, and drug-addicted husband after a Saudi court decided that she was too Western to raise the child.
Bethany, who is a yoga teacher by profession and moved to Saudi Arabia in 2011 to teach at a university, married her now ex-husband, a resident of Saudi, after falling in love with him. The couple was the parents of a girl child named Zaina.
She recently divorced her husband and wanted custody of their four-year-old daughter. But in July this year, a Saudi court concluded that she would not be a good parent.
During their battle for custody, her ex-husband used her social media posts to portray her as leading a non-Islamic lifestyle, CNN reported.
His lawyers showed her social media posts to show that it is “full of nudity, intermingling of the two sexes and a lot of things and actions contrary to our religion and customs and traditions.”
They also brought up her visit to the Burning Man festival which they termed as “the world’s strangest festival”.
In response, Bethany claimed that her ex-husband was verbally abusive and used drugs.
However, after hearing both the parties, the court ultimately granted Zaina’s custody to her Saudi paternal grandmother who stays with Zaina’s father.
“The mother is new to Islam, is a foreigner in this country, and continues to definitively embrace the customs and traditions of her upbringing. We must avoid exposing (Zaina) to these customs and traditions, especially at this early age," wrote Judge Abdul-Ellah ibn Mohammed al-Tuwaijri last month, in his ruling denying Vierra custody of her daughter.
Bethany has until Sunday, August 18 to file an appeal against the decision.
Bethany’s parents back home in Washington are worried that they may not just lose their granddaughter but also their daughter.