Muslim convert who vanished from Gaza

Martin Chulov and Sian Powell | The Austrailian | Monday June 30, 2008

AMID a chaotic swirl of people, car horns and dust, the donkey carrying Tanya Louise Smith slowly approached a place a world away – and civilisations apart – from anything she had experienced in the suburban calm of Sydney: the Gaza Strip.

Almost three months pregnant and no doubt feeling the effects after her long journey from Yemen, Ms Smith, 20, was about to enter a place where few young Australians had ventured.

The Muslim convert’s odyssey from Sydney had taken her to the ancient city of Sana’a, in Yemen, where she met and married a Palestinian from Gaza and immersed herself in Islamic studies along with a small group of similarly devout Australians.

But when Gaza-based militants blew up the border wall with Egypt in mid-January, a door into another world was opened to foreigners for the first time in decades. . .

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