Saudi men and their foreign kids - 07-04-2012, 09:35 PM
Sharifa heard her father’s voice for the first time — accidently — over the phone when she was 17 years old. But it took the father 11 years after the first telephone conversation to officially acknowledge that she was his daughter and pass on his Saudi citizenship to her.
Though born to a Muslim father, Sharifa, now 29 years, was raised according to her mother’s religion and culture: a catholic Christian in the Philippines. She still recalls how she “accidently” talked to her father, who married her mother during a summer vacation in the early eighties in the Philippines.She was 18 and he 48. Afterwards, he went back and never contacted the wife nor supported his daughter.
“I had kept old (telephone) numbers my Mom has, and my mother has a friend who knew Arabic… So when she called (one of the numbers), he was fortunately, the one who answered. The father was the one who answered,” she told Gulf News in a telephone interview from Manila, where she now works in a diplomatic mission.
“He acknowledged me and sent me money for school (college). We had a great relation, but after graduation, he stopped everything again,” added Sharifa, who asked to use her first name only.
However, it was the luck which came her way once again. She worked at an Arab embassy and the ambassador assisted her in getting in touch with the Saudi Ambassador. The latter paved the way for the girl, who has her parent’s marriage documents, to achieve her goal and receive the acknowledgement of her father.
Last year, she travelled to Saudi Arabia and stayed there for six months. Last year, she observed fast in Ramadan and gradually started learning about Islam from her newly-introduced family.
harifa is one of hundreds of children born to Saudi men and foreign mothers outside Saudi Arabia, and whose fathers refused, and many still do, to acknowledge them. The Council of Senior Scholars in Saudi Arabia is considering a decision to use the DNA test to prove parenthood of children born to Saudi men and foreign mothers, Saudi press reports said recently, adding that a decision would solve the problem of 853 children trying to prove the parentage of their Saudi fathers.
While some scholars say DNA result is “almost 100 per cent” accurate, they add that this test should only be resorted to when there is a conflict of unknown paternity. Otherwise, it is not needed.
However, some others believe more laws are needed once the law of forcing DNA taken is endorsed.
“If the DNA suggestion was endorsed, and hopefully it will... there is a need for another law from the authority in the country making it compulsory for any man whose test result proved to be matching with the child to be responsible for the child,” and meet his or her needs, said Najeeb Al Zamel, a member of the Saudi Shura Council.
Also, if the man refuses to take the test to face punishment and penalty that will force him not to evade from the test again,” he added in an interview with Gulf News.
Al Zamel is also the founder of a “Back to the Roots Association”, which aims to facilitate bringing together children with their Saudi fathers on the condition they provide documents regarding the marriage of the parents. There are other Saudi organisations which aid financially the families of Saudi children from foreign mothers outside Saudi Arabia.
Al Zamel travelled to Philippines, where he met the children of Saudi fathers in what he called “crying room” at the Saudi embassy in Manila.
The Back to the Roots Association, which was established in 2004, gives The Philippines a special attention as many Saudi children are raised there as Christians with their mothers after their fathers’ desertion.
According to Islam, children follow their fathers’ religion, and not their mother’s.
“Figures show that Saudis spent nearly 100 million Saudi Riyals in ‘marriage tourism’ through 10,000 marriage cases, most of which were in seven Arab and Far Eastern countries: Egypt, Morocco, Syria, Yemen, Indonesia, India and the Philippines,” noted a report on Al Arabiya.net.
“The minimum duration for that type of marriage was one week and didn’t exceed one month,” the report added.
When a Saudi man marries a foreign woman and then turns his back on her and returns to his country is either because he is not serious, or he is not financially capable, or because he lied to his family at home and didn’t tell them he got married, said Najeeb Al Zamel, a member of the Saudi Shura Council.
“But whatever the reason is, the one who pays the price and (suffer from) the real tragedy are the children,” he said. “It is an appalling thing for the father not to acknowledge his children.”
One of the cases is “Salma’s” case, he noted.
“Salma”, or the “Queen of Advertisements” in Philippine was the example that has shaken Saudi public opinion and was among the reasons behind discussing the issue of Saudi children abroad in the Shura council, Al Zamel noted.
He wrote about her in an article published few years ago and described the details of the ‘alcohol ad” she appeared in almost naked.
When he met “Salma”, which is not her real name, she told him how she “hates Arabs,” and “speaks of her father as ‘that guy’,” said Al Zamel, adding that he used another name for the girl so she won’t feel ostracised after her arrival to Saudi Arabia.
“Salma’s” parents lived together for 12 years and it was the wife who supported the family financially. But when Salma was seven years old, the man left his family and returned home.
The problem of abandoned children is not only restricted to Saudi Arabia and extends to many Arab countries in the Gulf region, including Iraq, Al Zamel said.
Saudi efforts to bring together children with their Saudi fathers don’t include those children born out of the wed-lock. Many of them live in western countries. Thirty-four-year-old American woman, who asked to be identified as Jennifer, said she born a child from a Saudi student she met many years ago while he was studying. But the man left her after she became pregnant and “decided this is not what he wanted any more,” asking for abortion, a request she rejected, said Jennifer.
The young woman, who is now married to another man who adopted the child and gave him his name, has created several months earlier a blog titled “Saudi Children Left Behind”. Nearly 50 women are writing in the blog which is open for women with similar circumstances, in the US, Canada and Europe, she told Gulf News. One of them lives in Canada and was legally married to the Saudi man before abandoning her and her twin-daughters.
“Some women want financial support, but I want medical history,” of the child, she said, adding that that her ex-boyfriend used to tell her that his family has some health problems, including diabetes.
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07-04-2012, 10:30 PM
This is true. Once, I met a poor family whose daughter got married to a Saudi who spent two months with her and then left never to contact again. Another similar story is that of a family from Nooristan.
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07-04-2012, 10:36 PM
we should forcefully ban any woman entering a marriage with a Saudi male. and monitor any Saudi male who enter our countries and punish parents who offer their daughters or anyone else into marriages with Saudi men.
07-04-2012, 10:43 PM
This is hard to comprehende. Such arrogance, pride and viewing other non Saudis as inferior life forms, the world needs to wake up and humble these people.
Never criticise anybody till you've walked a mile in their shoes..that way you'll be a mile away from them AND have their shoes
07-04-2012, 11:01 PM
how long do these holidays last?? three months at the most?? six months?? who the **** marries a man that they have only known for six months and expects respect and commitment from him in return??
I am no bird, and no nest ensnares me.
non commercial would cost less if he was in charge himself which he plans on doing. right now it's n herat but soon it will be in qanadahar.
|foreign, kids, men, saudi|