• Publication date: June 22, 2010

Forbidden Lies Forbidden Lies

Forbidden Lies is a dramatized documentary investigating accusations that Norma Khouri, the author ...

Forbidden Lies is a dramatized documentary investigating accusations that Norma Khouri, the author of the controversial book "Forbidden Love," made up her biographical tale of a Muslim friend who was murdered by her father for dating a Christian soldier. The best-selling book “Forbidden Love” sold a half million copies worldwide and rocketed Norma to fame, landing her speaking engagements across the world. In the book Khouri narrates what she claimed was the true story of her Muslim friend, Dalia, a young Jordanian girl who fell in love with a Christian soldier and who was allegedly stabbed in the chest by her enraged father in a horrendous honor killing. In the book, Norma alleges that the father was arrested but posted bail while waiting for his trial, in which a Shariah court sentenced him to just three months in jail. The details about Jordanian law arouse the suspicion of people as Jordanian law does not provide bail for criminals and upon further research of Jordanian judicial archives and hospital records no case that matched the author’s description of Dalia and her murder were ever found. Furthermore, residents of the neighborhood where the killing allegedly took place had no recollection of such an incident. All of these inconsistencies lead the film’s director, Anna Broinowski, to investigate Norma’s background. Broinowski found that Norma’s claims that she was a Jordanian-born Arab were in fact true but that she moved to America when she was just three-years-old, long before the alleged murder of Dalia. Records also revealed that Norma has used a multitude of aliases throughout her life and the divorced mother of two was an established con artist who swindled thousands of dollars from her neighbor in Chicago and fled to Australia. However the most interesting part of the film appears to be when the author accepts Broinowski’s invitation to Amman and attempts to prove her claims and weaving murder, deceit, politics, greed and an international literary scandal into an engrossing labyrinth, Forbidden Lies attempts to answer did Norma con more than half a million readers, publishers and journalists across fifteen countries or is she a truly radical artist? Somewhere within this brilliantly crafted film lies the truth. Forbidden Lies received highly favorable reviews from both critics and audiences. It was deemed Best Documentary by the Australia Film Critics Association and also acknowledged at Al Jazeera’s 4th annual Documentary Festival.