Saudi Mother In The Lurch After Bahrain Airport Birth
10 March 2009
MANAMA: A Saudi mother who gave birth to a baby boy at Bahrain International Airport last month has been left in the lurch as Saudi authorities have reportedly declared her marriage null and denied her entry.
Mariam Yousif Al-Shoaibi has been stranded in Bahrain for over a week while she waits for the green light to enter the Kingdom with her baby. The 33-year-old woman is married to an Ethiopian national who works in Qatar.
The man is now trying to acquire a visa for his wife and child from the authorities in Qatar.
The Saudi woman was a transit passenger on her way from Qatar to Riyadh last month. Al-Shoaibi was with her father waiting for a Gulf Air flight. The mother gave birth to a healthy boy named Isa, weighing about 3 kg, at the transit lounge under the supervision of doctors at the Airport Medical Clinic.
This was the second delivery at the airport and the first this year. In 2006, a Pakistani woman became the first to deliver a baby at the Bahrain airport.
According to reports, Saudi authorities have declared the marriage illegal and the baby a foreigner.
As a health protocol in Bahrain, a birth certificate is issued after a couple produces a valid marriage certificate signed by religious leaders and witnesses at the hospital.
Health officials, when contacted yesterday, refused to confirm whether the Saudi mother had been issued a birth certificate. “This is a special case and we are working with concerned authorities to expedite the process from our end,” said one official.
Saudis wanting to marry non-Saudis must first obtain marriage permits from the Ministry of Interior, but this can take months to years. However, couples who do not want to go through the bureaucratic labyrinth get married with the help of religious leaders who are ready to conduct the rites of an Islamic nikah. Such marriages are legal according to Shariah, but not acceptable under Saudi rules.
Recently the Saudi Ministry of Interior rejected a request by the Shoura Council for relaxing rules governing marriages between Saudis and non-Saudis.
According to Saudi Arabia’s intermarriage bylaw, relevant official documents, including medical records, identification papers and the marriage request, must be submitted to the Interior Ministry to issue a marriage permit.
CLERICAL MISTAKE BLAMED FOR SAUDI MOTHER’S PLIGHT
11 March 2009
MANAMA: A discrepancy in health records has led to the delay in the return home of a Saudi mother who gave birth at Bahrain International Airport last month.
Sources at the Ministry of Health said hospital records for Mariam Yousif Al-Shoaibi incorrectly stated her nationality as Ethiopian even though she holds a valid Saudi passport.
The 33-year-old woman, who is married to an Ethiopian national living in Qatar, gave birth to a baby named Isa on Feb. 25. “Doctors were sent to the airport to cut the umbilical cord as the mother delivered a healthy boy weighing 3 kg in the transit lounge. The mother and baby were later shifted to Muharraq Maternity Hospital,” said the source.
Under Bahraini law, a child’s nationality is decided based on the father’s nationality, so under this clause Isa would be Ethiopian. However, the Bahraini Health Ministry has not yet stated the baby’s nationality. “This is a special case and we are looking at all aspects,” the source added.
Arab News tried to contact the woman and her father, who are living in an apartment in Manama, but they were reluctant to speak to the press.
According to reports, Saudi authorities have declared the marriage illegal and the baby a foreigner. The mother and child have now been stranded in the island for two weeks. The woman had initially planned to travel to the Kingdom by road across the King Fahd Causeway.