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July 25, 2005



I remember that movie. Or at least, I remember the TV ads for it. The book is in the biographies section of the bookstore I work at -- I've noted it there several times, with some curiosity. I'm certainly not interested in reading it now.


The summary of her book in that Speakers' Bureau link -- "tour of terror" -- certainly sounds like hype and opportunistic demonizing.

I also remember hearing about both the book and the Sally Field movie, so I'm grateful for this follow-up. Our reactions (including the Canadian reaction) to the revolution were clumsy from the start -- I also remember, eg, Kate Millett flying into Tehran briefly and lecturing Iranian women on how backward they were, then swanning off. More nuance has long been needed.


Well I saw the movie, was a great movie. I personaly believe Betty and as for the stupid comments about her getting angry and raising her voice. Well can you really blame her for having the reaction that she did? He lied to her, to trick her into going with him. Had she known he wanted to say over there she never would have gone and he knew that. His whole family are I don't know whats the word for them, crazy acting. They were always shouting, so talking about her shouting, at least she had a good reason to be angry. I am glad she got out of that hell hole she was in with moody's insane family. I wish her and her daughter well.


I believe Betty. I know how Muslim men and religion are. There is NO doubt in my mind that Betty has been telling the truth that it all happened the way she said. I don't blame Mahtob for not wanting to see her dad, though maybe there could be a meeting in a neutral country. I mean she is now over 21 and could at least meet him.

Christine Golding

I really do believe Betty. She suffered so much. I hope she is and Mathob are okay. I would love to meet them both


You know what? Of course Betty had negative things to say about Iran. Her husband kidnapped them and held them hostage. The Islamic culture gives women 0 rights, and it sickens me. Of course Moody is going to try and make himself look like an angel. Well, if there's one thing I know, its men, and you hardly ever see a man admitting that they beat their wives. He says that Hollywood glamorized "Not Without My Daughter" and made Iran look bad. Well, first of all, Iran is a horrible country. From what I hear, even the youth in Iran hate their government and way of life. Second of all, Moody is a hypocrite. He says all that about Betty's movie, but then he goes and does the same thing by filming his own little lie of a movie. I have not seen it, but I am sure it has also been "glamorized." I am not racist, and I do not hate all people in the middle east, but they all hate me. I am Jewish, and I have alot of family in Israel. And from what my family there tells me, the surrounding countries are barbaric and heartless. They kill innocent people, and for what? So they will go to heavan? They are mad at Catholics for trying to force religion on people, but then they go and say that if you are not a muslim, that you are an infidel and will burn in hell. HYPOCRITES. Ok, I am getting off the point here. I definantly believe Betty, and her story IS inspiring. Why? Because she overcame a woman's worst nightmare. There are not many women who would find enough strength to get out of that kind of situation, and she proves that women are more than just objects, or worst of all, a man's property.


I would like to address some comments made on this website, particularly those comments made by Christine Golding.

The comments made by Christine Golding are typical of that of a Jew who would do anything to side with the western world and critisise Muslim people! How dare you! You say that Muslim people are cruel to Jews in your country, what about the Jews and what they have done to Palestine! You only have to watch the news to see how barbaric these people can be! And by the way, I am not from the Middle East myself. I am a westerner who has converted to Islam because it is such a beautiful religion. Unfortunately, it has been misinterpretated by narrow minded, uneducated people like yourself, who needs to do some proper studying to find out about the true meaning of Islam and what it actually teaches.

You said that you are not racist, yet you state that "All Muslims in the Middle East hate you", so in actual fact you are implying that all Muslim people have something against "You" personally. Furthermore, you state that all of the surrounding Muslim countries are barbaric and heartless. Again you are implying that everyone living in these countries are barbaric and heartless and have something against your country and your family because you are Jews. We in the western world have seen programmes where Muslim women have spoken openly about Israel and have told us that they want Muslim and Jewish people to live in peace.!!! They want an end to the suffering on "BOTH SIDES" Don't forget that Jewish people have done some awful things to Muslim people, and the British and American government have at times condemed the Israeli army for attacking muslims who have posed as no threat and are only going about their day to day lives. The British public were also horrified when they saw Israelis shooting Muslim people walking down the street in Palistine whilst shopping. They were innocent people who didnt deserve that!!

As for Iran, have you actually visited the country?? You say it is horrible, how do you know this? I think you are a narrow minded person who only sees what she wants to see and thinks how she wants to think. I have been to Iran and Iraq and I can tell you Iran is a very nice place and the Iranian people are very friendly people. I think you need to educate yourself more about Muslims, Islam and Iran because you come across as a racist person who only listens to what her family tells her.


I am a British woman married to a Turkish Muslim, living in Turkey. I have a good marriage. However, having read Betty Mahmoody's book, I can tell you that many of the cultural problems she experiences are almost identical here in Turkey. Domestic violence is routine here. The people can be lovely, but a lot of them are liars and cheats, and even the lovely ones routinely state an intention and then routinely change their minds or do not follow through on a promise. If a couple has a problem, the man very often accuses the woman of 'making problems'. Yes, many Muslims do have a wash after sex, but equally many do not wash at all during the winter when it's 'too cold'. Men do absolutely nothing around the house, and if they are unemployed, the still do nothing, preferring instead to lie on the sofa all day watching dvds or television (exactly as Ms Mahoody describes her husband as doing before he found work in Iran).

If you have never lived in a Middle Eastern country with a Middle Eastern family, then I'm afraid you simply do not know what you are talking about when you criticise this book. I have to say that almost everything in it rings true.

I am one of the lucky ones in that I met my husband in Turkey, got to know him there, and only married him seven years later when I really, really knew him. My advice to any Western woman in a relationship with a Middle Eastern man (religion has nothing to do with it, but culture does) is to approach with extreme caution. Our cultures are vastly different and we think completely differently. We can both look at the same thing and see completely different things, I'm afraid.


First of all visit here:

Just few people are agree with you, those who have a very short racist mind. I am not sorry for them at all, just feel in century of technology, still such a people are exist. Still I don’t know what you want to prove as everybody is aware of highly valued Iranian culture and history.
I am living in the UK for a while, what I can say is: what I expected about people and culture are deeply different with what I see. Exactly same rate of what (minority of people here) hear and imagine about Iranian . Still I am proud being an Iranian. I will remain Iranian for ever.
I do respect to all nation, religion and people .This is what our culture lessoned to me, even those who hate us.
I hate Iranian government and fundamental Muslims, believe in equality and peace for all, from any race and nation.
Fortunately I have many friends from diffrent nationalities. We usually chat and talk about events together. I will recomand this weblog to them to see and judge.


My name is Andre, 29. I am from Italy. I am catholic but not religious at all. I am also PhD student at The University of Manchester, England.
I want to ask those who criticised Iranian only based on a film, have ever investigated? I have travelled to many countries including Iran. I have travelled Iran for 4 times and last summer had chance to stay there with my American Gf Jane for about 5 month. FANTASTIC COUNTRY, FABILOUS PEOPLE AND GREAT CULTURE, these are what we, both can say about Iran. Apart from a rubbish and dictator government which majority of people are against them. I wish have chance to travel Iran again and can't wait for next visit.
Now, in other side. England where I have to live. Discrimination, racist and awful behaviour with other nation especially asylum seekers and refugees. Since last three years I have witnesses 4 asylum (including one Iranian) who hanged themselves because of inhumanity and terrible treat with them. Many of them living in a long period uncertain situation and limbo without any help and benefit (some for more than 7 years), still they call them those who abused the system!!! So, if you have seen about Iran in a movie (full of lies and ridicules senses) I am seeing these everyday by my own eyes. I wish I could make a movie about what is going on in England, and then you will see which movie will sale more and is closer to truth.
I would advise those who want to see a "Real modern barbaric country", travel to THE UK.
No wondering British always are on the top list of "MOST HATED NATION"


Hi, I would like to respond to Andre...

I hate to be the barer or bad news, but if you take a poll all over the world, the most hated nation is AMERICA, not the UK. One of the biggest stats on this country's winning popularity is when spring break rolls around. The American's think that they can go anywhere in the world and do whatever they wish. I have friends from all over the world and a few friends that were army brats, and they said the exact same thing. It is the Americans other countries hate the most. I think that you need to educate yourself a little more, before you start waving your traveling experience around.


Another Thing...

I think that you are going to get good and bad people from all over the world. It doesn't matter how long you have lived somewhere or how many times you have traveled somewhere, good and bad exist in every inch of the world. Some of us are just lucky not to have witnessed it, or have a different opinion of what good vs. evil actually is. So it is not fair to tell someone that their experience is incorrect or wrong.


I saw some of the Without My Daughter documentary online and would like to address Alice Shareef's commentary - first of all, in the book Not Without My Daughter, Betty makes it clear that Alice is living in Tehran on a temporary basis to settle the estate of her late father-in-law. She and her husband and daughter were supposed to return to America. Many years later, she takes Moody's side, FROM IRAN, in a documentary - which means her husband made her stay in Iran and she was not able to escape. In that situation, whose side do you think she would take???


Okay first of all i want to also restate that there is good and bad wherever you live. I live in America and trust me we have problems to and if we are such bad people then why do people from other countries you know want to live in "the land of the free and the home of the brave" I am very proud to be american because atleast i can do what i feel is right! I also want to state that most of the people that are on Moody's side(Alice) were on Betty's side in the beginnig. Another thing is how can you call her a liar you do not know. Were you there when he beat or threatned her. No I didnt think so. So remeber when you are pointing fingers you have 3 more pointing back at you. I personally think that you all need to revaluate your situation read that book just one more time and then make a movie about your side of the story. And remeber liars go to hell!! You need to repent. I personally believe Betty because liars cant give that many details!!!!!


has anyone seen the documantary?
i havent and id like to. so if there's a link to it, please do tell.

my opinion though is this:

why shouldnt you believe betty's story? sure it is shocking how men thought they were so much better than women in iran, but why would she lie about it? she just tells what she has been going through.

and it is kinda logical that moody goes and tries to make himself look better, who wouldn't, if the whole world thinks you're a terrible father.

it wont be logical the other way around: she makes a fool out of him for no reason and he tries to tell people that he is such a good man. No, sorry i dont believe that.

Besides that: why believe friends like Alice, betty says in the book that she never told alice anything personal, so no, of course she didnt know about their fights and him hitting her and her trying to escape.

But ok: sure we can argue about islam and other religions, but everyone is free to believe what they want. If muslim women want men to think theyre better than them, (and i dont say every muslim woman does) go ahead.
Truth is: it is wrong to make people stay in places they dont want to be and try and make them believe in things they just dont believe in. So let's not do that. Let's leave each others religion and countries alone. There's no point in fighting about that, 'cause you will never agree.
We will never be able to know what REALLY happened with betty, mahtob and moody. So let's just let her book/movie be a lesson to never let anyone tell you what to do and what to believe in (and to never do that to anyone else people!) and let him make a documantary about what a great dad he is (if he is, and if he's not), if thats what he wants. We already know that 99% of people who read her book wont believe him anyway, so why bother fighting about it.

It's just a great book to read and let's just all be happy that she and her daughter are okay and let mahtob decide whether she wants to see her dad again or not. (:

Zachary Nikkhooy

I am 1st generation american with a Persian father we hav our differences but he is extremly caring. It's a beautiful culture extremly family oriented an by reading some of the comments posted i realize how close minded some of these people are. I hav family in Iran that are members of senate an one is a general in the army. True the government is horrible but that does not mean IRAN is horrible.

Zachary Nikkhooy

I am 1st generation american with a Persian father we hav our differences but he is extremly caring. It's a beautiful culture extremly family oriented an by reading some of the comments posted i realize how close minded some of these people are. I hav family in Iran that are members of senate an one is a general in the army. True the government is horrible but that does not mean IRAN is horrible.


I am 1st generation american with a Persian father we hav our differences but he is extremly caring. It's a beautiful culture extremly family oriented an by reading some of the comments posted i realize how close minded some of these people are. I hav family in Iran that are members of senate an one is a general in the army. True the government is horrible but that does not mean IRAN is horrible.

Justin Maui Papabatu

this reading of mine about the second chance shocked me. i mean, what the hell is second chance when mahmoody in the first place threatened to kill betty if she try to escapes and also told her that he would hire somebody to kill her if she does escape. aint no need to consider second chance. now mahtob is a grown up woman and she herself knows very well the account of the story. she was not blind and deaf when they lived in iran, despite her age. nikkhooy also acknowledged that Iranian government is bad or horrible. now take it to my own understanding, most islamic countries and their legislations are based entirely on the koran (correct me if i'm not right on this). so if it is true that bozorg's family were devout muslims, then it is likely that what betty had written are not incorrect and was not for the purpose of destroying iran but was for the sole purpose of making the whole story known to the world, that we should be happy with what we are and what we have i.e our freedom. betty's story is not about america or iran, christians or muslims but was all about a man who held his wife in iran against her will. i'm from the pacific where women have rights. in addition,the law is there to protect them. unlike iran, nothing like this exists i.e protection of women by law. to conclude, the second chance issue is insane. if mahtob accept the second chance, then that's up to her- if she don't- then that's it- we don't need to pressure her.


can any muslim man imagine being a muslim woman and liking it?

i know they will say they would be willing according to allah, but deep down inside, who wants to be treated inferior? geeez jews were here before christians and muslims. yet, they are criticized when they follow the same laws muslims and christians should adhere. follow the old testament and we can all live together, in peace.


I have read many comments here about Dr. Sayyed Bozorg and Betty Mahmoody. Now it seems to me that if this man wanted to make a permanent move to Iran, he would first discuss it with his wife and then the hospital. This is not what happened. Dr. Mahmoody is moving back to Tehran, Iran to practice medicine. This is not a move that is up the street and around the corner. Together they pack all belongings, sell the house, sell the car or take it with them, clear out bank accounts, credit cards, get passports, birth certificates and visas in order. Also Dr. Mahmoody must have a license to practice in Iran even though he is American trained. The Iranian medical community must be aware that he is coming home to practice medicine. So I am inclined to believe Betty. You do not swear to your wife on the Qu'ran inshallah that you are taking her and their child on a two week vacation and then try to keep her there for good. It is just not done.


Having lived with and known, oh so personally, many Persians, I can say that I believe Betty! Iranian culture, especially with the heated up revolution, was a doggone awful place for an American woman to find herself. Moody may very well have been an ass. Moody may very well have wanted to keep his wife and daughter against their will in Iran. Moody's folks may well have raised hell over their resistent, freedom-loving daughter-in-law. Hello, wake up call, anyone? Stranger things HAVE happened. Go Betty. And thank God you got out of that scene.

Oh, and to KAT:
You're a racist yourself, love. How dare YOU paint all JEWS in the same broad brush? Shame. What you judge others for you yourself are guilty of. Stop your hating and begin to make PEACE. Or you will reap the racism that you sow.


And to Ahmed:
What do you expect England to do?
Small country with people streaming in illegally?
How can you expect to get everything you want?
You enter another's country and insult them because they are less than perfect in their treatment of stranieri?
Would Iran welcome thousands upon thousands of strangers? Really?
I think you are demanding someone of others that you yourself could not deliver.
I think your attitude is terrible. I know myself many Persians, Kurds, and Afghanis who have made lives for themselves in England. Is it easy? NO. Does it happen instantly? NO.
But how can you expect the peaceful people of beautiful England to welcome all of you without offending some of you?
Remember that you are a stranger there. Why do you insult your hosts?
You say Iranis are not racist. Oh? Are you so sure? Then why does your president deny Halocaust of Jews? And why are Hazara treated like animals in Iran? And why is a homosexual in Iran hung?
Tell me now, tell me again. Why is England so terrible? ? ?


I read the book and it was fantastic and I admired Betty Mahmoody's bravery. Some of the things which the books says is true. My father is Muslim and I have experienced how Muslim men treat women badly. They have 0 rights and the women are like slaves. However there are somthings that I dont agree with the book. For example, she said they have bath only once a week/yea and there are cockroaches in the house. Islam has clearly says to have bath every day before praying and they are always supposed to keep the house clean. Also although my father is a muslim, he treated my mother (who is not a muslim)with all love and care.
We dont know who says the truth--this was written during the time when the Iran was in a bad terms with US (still is). But what Dr. Mahmoody did was wrong and the only person who knew actually what happened was Mahtob.


I was in Iran for almost a year 3 years ago. I am an Iranian American woman and I am definitely more apt to side with Betty Mahmoody than Dr. Mahmoody. Sadly, most Iranians are pathological liars and this is not atypical in our society.
much of Betty's descriptions in her book make a lot of sense to me.
Dr. Mahmoody is insane for even taking his wife and child to a country that it is in the middle of a dangerous war and keeping them there.
Sadly, he is still using taghieh (the Islamically legitimate right to distort, dissimulate, or mislead) to get back at his wife, but I am glad that he hasn't been as successful because if there is a God, I don't think God would be on his side. He abused his right to be with his daughter. His own daughter is an adult now and I am sure if she thought highly of her father she would contact him herself regardless of what her mother has to say about it. Mahtab Mahmoody is about 28 years old now and has been an adult for the past 10 years. First thing on her 18th birthday, she could have found a way to meet her father, but has not done this and her father blames it on her mother! There is obviously a reason for it.
Dr. Mahmoody hurt both Betty and Mahtob. Iran was a terrible place for a little girl during the 1980s.
So Dr. Mahmoody dorooghgoo bi liaghat (in farsi this means "undeserving liar") for those of us who have been victims of your kind and who know your kind too well in our country and how the likes of you have made our society so degenerate with your filth and lies, go ahead and fool a few ignorant people out there.
I know the American government exploits Betty's story for its own political agenda, but that doesn't make her story entirely untrue. I do believe she exaggerates some Iranian people's poor hygene uses, especially uneducated provincial people, and of course, I never heard of cockroaches in food, but she is not wrong about cockroaches in the shower of some ghetto homes in Iran, and this all took place during the Iran-Iraq War when the country was suffering from sanitation and other problems related to infrastructure.
Sadly, those provincial chadori women have long been notorious for smelling aweful because they don't shower on their periods.Ask anyone who lived in Iran during and before the revolution what those dirty chadori women are notorious for.

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