By Muhammad Al-Hattar
Saudi Gazette | JEDDAH/RABAT
8 January 2010
The Society for the Care of Saudi Families Abroad will send a delegation to 10 countries in the middle of February to check on the welfare of children born from the union of Saudi men and foreign women.
Dr. Tawfiq Al-Suwailim, Chairman of the Society for the Care of Saudi Families Abroad, said a committee from the organization would undertake the visits abroad.
He said the team would determine the number of Saudis, register them at the Kingdom’s embassies, check on their condition and try to help them overcome any difficulties.
Al-Suwailim said the countries the committee will visit include Syria, Egypt, Morocco, Indonesia, India, Sri Lanka, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates.
He added that another committee has been formed, consisting of a number of sociology researchers, to study the negative aspects and risks attached to Saudi men marrying foreign women abroad.
He called on Saudi nationals who have married abroad to make sure that their families are cared for. If Saudi men cooperated with the Ministry of Interior then any situation can be rectified, he said.
He said there was no accurate statistics showing the actual number of children from Saudi fathers and foreign mothers. In some countries the statistics are relatively up to date. In Morocco, for instance, there are 250 Saudi families.
Of this total there are 40 cases which are pending at the courts as a result of legal disputes, according to Dr. Muhammad Bin Abdul Rahman Al-Bishr, the Kingdom’s ambassador to Morocco. The Moroccan government is now trying to determine whether 100 of the people involved in these cases want Saudi or Moroccan citizenship.
Al-Bishr conceded that there were a number of Saudi children in Morocco without any form of income. However, he added that this was a problem in other countries too. He said it appeared that the problem was less severe in Morocco. He said he did not want to apportion blame for any disputes between Saudi men and Moroccan women. It was more appropriate for them to find a suitable solution.
Asked about his view on Saudis marrying abroad, Al-Bishr said he hoped men would marry from their own country. This did not only apply to Morocco but to all other countries, because a man marrying in his own country would find similarities in customs and traditions. If this was not possible, he said he believed that the way was open for men and women to marry in any place because success is granted only by Allah. He said children can choose between Saudi and Moroccan nationalities.
He said a law has been issued recently stipulating that whoever is born in Morocco from a Moroccan mother has the right to get Moroccan citizenship. The matter is easy in that country, he said.
Al-Bishr said that Saudi law does not allow for anyone to hold dual citizenship. If a person takes Moroccan citizenship, then he or she loses their chance for Saudi citizenship.
“If he wants Saudi nationality then he is welcome. He is our son and we welcome him,” said Al-Bishr.
He said that the Saudi government does not provide any financial aid to the children of Saudi men, who are still in Morocco.
Photo Credit: Shazron