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The war torn Middle East is not where one would typically expect to find a modern day fairy tale However reporters cannot help but make the comparison between Jordans Queen Rania al-Abdullah and Cinderella While superficially the beautiful Queen Rania seems to fit the profile as one who never expected to become queen but did so gracefully the comparison hardly does the queen of Jordan justice To the dismay of many conservatives Queen Rania has refused to take the role of the silent isolated traditional Arab queen Instead she has followed in her mother-in-law Queen Noors footsteps blazing a new path for Arab women to become political and social leaders From the multitude of issues from her own personal agenda that she has pushed into the world arena in the three short years since her husband Abdullah II has taken the reigns of the throne it is clear that Queen Rania will have a deep and long lasting effect on the politics and society of not only Jordan but of the region Therefore it is unwise not to examine the influence of this young woman on King Abdullah Jordanian politics Arabian society and the West On August 31 1970 Rania al-Yasin was born in Kuwait to Palestinian parents who had moved from the West Bank town of Tulkarm in the 1960s Despite growing up in the immense wealth that the Persian Gulfs oil provided Rania was not blind to the plight of the Palestinian people from which her family came As a young girl she spent summers with an aunt and uncle in Tulkarm where she witnessed first hand Palestinian homes being bulldozed to be replaced by Israeli settlements After an education in the best English-speaking primary and secondary schools in Kuwait Rania attended the American University in Cairo While attending the university her family was expelled from Kuwait as were many other Palestinians because of the PLO support of Saddam Hussein in the
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