Our Contradictions

OUR CONTRADICTIONS
Dr. Haya Al-Manie
Al-Riyadh

Once more, there appears to be contradictions in the official rules when it comes to marriage of Saudi women to non-Saudis. Allowing a Saudi woman to marry a non-Saudi is the same thing as allowing a Saudi man to marry a non-Saudi.

Usually, women who marry non-Saudis don’t really have a choice. I mean she didn’t marry the man because he’s good looking or rich, but because her chances of getting married had decreased and her desire to be a mother was the driving force in this decision.

I don’t think discussing the reason why some women marry non-Saudis is what matters. But what’s truly important is their right to have their children given Saudi citizenship. The question is: Don’t their children have the right to be Saudis just as the children of a Saudi man who is married to a non-Saudi woman?

I think Saudi women have every right to be given the same rights and privileges as men in this matter, especially if they married after being given the permission that allows a Saudi woman to marry a non-Saudi. It means that their marriage is a legal one according to the system; if so, then why does the law prevent their children from being Saudis? The children of such unions have many problems, especially if their father leaves the country for good and their mother dies. They have neither their mother’s nationality nor their father’s.

I believe that it is the right of every Saudi woman and her children to be treated as full Saudis in the education sector, the job market and in the health sector even if they are not given Saudi nationality. They should be protected and provided with services as a temporary solution.

What’s really sad is that the recent discounts on some official services such as the iqama don’t include the children of Saudi mothers. What’s even more unfair is that a mother who has a daughter or a son working as a doctor or a teacher holds an iqama for them that states they work either as drivers or maids despite the high qualifications they have.

The law is blind and it doesn’t discriminate against people, but those who create the law and implement it must organize this issue in order to serve the national interest while, at the same time, giving the mothers and their children their full rights.

Having a law giving Saudi citizenship to the children of a Saudi woman married to a non-Saudi is a must for many reasons. Justice and equality between men and women is necessary. Granting Saudi citizenship might be regulated by the number of children, or the quality of education they receive but not the sex. Which is more important, a Saudi father with children who don’t have a sense of belonging or of a Saudi mother with scientifically and educationally brilliant children?

I believe that certain rules should be implemented to look after the general interest. These individuals are entitled to, and must be given, the same rights and privileges as all other Saudis.

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Tara Umm Omar

American married to a Saudi.

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