Born a Gangster's Daughter: My Mother's Story

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Maha Publishing, 2013 - Adult child abuse victims - 245 pages
Amina was born in Dubai in the 1970s. As a child, Amina was brutally beaten by her father. As she came of age, she was cruelly discriminated against in favor of her brothers. But as a woman she nonetheless persisted in her love for her family, which was at the center of her life. Managing to connect her father with life-saving medical attention at a time when he was dangerously close to death, she subsequently witnessed what appeared to be a miracle. Her grateful father became a famous businessman and a fervently devout Muslim. Delighted with his apparent change of heart, Amina felt as though her loyalty had been rewarded. Sadly for her and for many other people, she couldn't have been more mistaken. She soon discovered that her father was, in fact, a gangster, hiding behind the shield of religion. This true tale is more than a disturbing account of hypocrisy, corruption, and betrayal. Thanks to Amina's 14-year-old daughter, Maha, who skillfully brings her story to life in these pages, it is also an inspiring testament to the power of speaking the truth, of bringing meaning to suffering, and of discovering what truly matters in this life.

Selected pages


My Family
The Long Wait
Journey to the Holy City
Feast Days with my Maternal Grandmother
The New Maid
Sultans First
A Secret Marriage
The Man of
A Mixed Blessing
Money Pouring from the Heavens
Dark Secrets
The End of Sameera
The Victims Bait
The Enemy of the People
The End of

A Sad Goodbye
Light at the End of the Tunnel
Bright Days in Canada
A Family Tragedy
Happy Days on the Oasis
The Miracle
The Devil is in the Fine Print
Face to Face
Goodbye Dubai Epilogue

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About the author (2013)

Maha Al Fahim, who wrote Born a Gangster’s Daughter at age 14, is passionate about the role of education in ending social ills such as child abuse, discrimination, and criminality. She is a grade 10 honour roll student, student council president, and one of the youngest people ever to have been admitted to the Vancouver Youth Parliament.

A tireless volunteer, Maha has tutored children with special needs, assisted at children’s summer camps, helped seniors and the homeless, and has taken a leadership role in an organization promoting cycling in her community. She is also a committed practitioner of Kung Fu and was a gold medal winner at the 2012 Western Canadian Martial Arts Championship.

A lover of theatre and ballet, Maha is active in her school’s creative writing program and loves writing poems and essays, having won bronze in the 2012 Commonwealth Jubilee Time Capsule essay competition. This is her first book. 

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