Not Without My Children: Ayisha Birrell’s Desperate Plea

Jennifer/Ayisha Birrell explains on her website, Art Therapy Gone Mad, that “After a terrible divorce in Saudi Arabia from my former husband, an Australian citizen, I was held prisoner in Saudi Arabia for 4 years unable to leave the Kingdom without his permission. Whilst I lived in the comfort of my home I was not granted the basic freedom of being able to leave the country to return to Australia.When I remarried, several years after my divorce, having no mahram in Saudi and unable to perform simple daily functions which require a man to do, my former husband had my new husband imprisoned on false charges. After appealing to King Abdullah and extensive media coverage my husband was freed from prison and returned to his home country Egypt with a full pardon. I was told by the office of Prince Salman to Governor of Riyadh, via the Ambassador at the Australian Embassy, that I would be returned to Australia with my children and that our hellish plight would be over. In a last minute twist I was sent out of Saudi Arabia without my 3 children in January 2010. My 3 children continue to remain in Saudi Arabia against their wish to come home and be with their mother. I continue to struggle to appeal to Saudi Authorities to send my Australian children home. My children are now illegally residing in Saudi Arabia as they do not hold valid current passports which is a condition of holding a temporary residency permit in the kingdom. I ask you all to pray for us, that my children will be returned safely to Australia in the near future.”

She also shared the following with me:
Asalaamualaykum Tara, thank you for contacting me in this regard. I wish if more sisters could be warned of the danger of taking their children out of Australia whether its to Saudi or any other country. Since coming back to Australia I have met so many sisters who have lost their children in Arab countries and there are so many women who when to meet their in-laws’ and not been able to return home with their children and ended up prisoners in the Arab lands.

Thus far I continue to struggle to get diplomatic help to return my children to Australia but have had no success thus far. Please remember us in you duaa.

In regard to my case my ex-husband was born in Saudi Arabia but did not have Saudi nationality, his family was originally from Yemen. His marriage to me here in Australia meant he became Australian and by all accounts his passport is Australian and his saudi paperwork (iqama) recognises him as an Australian in Saudi. Despite this I have been unable to get help to return my Australian children to Australia. I have full custody from the Australian Family court and I still haven’t been able to get them returned. Ya Rabbi help us! Ameen!

As the amount of male Saudi students increase so does the rate of marriage to Australian women always ending in disaster. I have heard numerous reports of disastrous marriages to Saudis and several cases of young Australian women who aren’t married to them turning up at the mosque pregnant.

My sincere advice is never take your children outside of Australia, never go on the sponsorship of any man in an Arab country. I was ‘happily’ married to my ex-husband for over 5 years in Australia before we went to Saudi and I thought I knew him well. He was a ‘religious’ man and had raised himself to become the leader of the South Australian Islamic community- the whole time he’d been playing a cool game to get citizenship and then take em to Saudi to be a cash cow for his family while he refused to work and wouldn’t allow me to have any of my earnings not even to buy fruit for my children or call my family. What you have read in the newspapers is only the tip of the iceberg for what I went through in that very unislamic country- the corruption and deception from the police and courts is beyond words. I leave them to Allah to punish, ameen. As the manager of the largest university in Saudi I manager 160 English teachers from al over the western world, there were so many sad stories and even on an employment level we would not be paid for up to 4 months at a time and be expected to tolerate corruption even with the students grades- there are no ethics.

I continue to hope in Allah subahannawattallah for the return of my children, Ameen ya Al-Kareem!

Please continue to advise sisters to not fall for the perception of this being the holy land because it is far from it.

Thank you my sister, if you have any queries please feel free to contact me. Haveing been through Saudi court I have a depth of insight into their legal system or lack there of. I hope inshallah your website will let sisters open their eyes and make informed decisions. Keep making duaa for us, Ya Rabbi!


Jennifer/Ayisha Birrell

You can read more about Jennifer/Ayisha’s case on The Sydney Morning Herald (1st and 2nd link) and watch a video of her at Yahoo 7 TV(3rd link).

The Australian Who Has Become A Prisoner Of Gender Apartheid

Not Without My Children: A Mother’s Desperate Plea

Jennifer Birrell: Not Without My Children

If you can’t help Aiysha and her family, please make du’a for them. Thank you, Tara Umm Omar

Photo Credit: Sydney Morning Herald and Yahoo 7 TV



Published by

Tara Umm Omar

American married to a Saudi.

5 thoughts on “Not Without My Children: Ayisha Birrell’s Desperate Plea”

  1. >I do not know the answer to this. That is sad, and yes I agree Saudi is corrupt. I am not really aware of any "true" "Muslim" country in this world that isn't somehow corrupted by religious leaders/monarchy governments. At least King Abdullah is trying to improve the country. Perhaps it would be better if non-Saudi women simply not marry Saudi men at all so then they won't face this issue or leave their non-Saudi children home in their country so they don't face this issue. May Allah (SWT) grant her hashnat and return her children to her and Insha Allah may Saudi Arabia, may all the "Muslim" countries out there go back to the true teachings of Qur'an and Sunnah.


  2. >Ameen, ameen. May Allah continue to aid King Abdullah in bringing about more improvement and progression in Saudi Arabia ameen. I think that people should be free to marry whoever they please however when it comes to Saudi/non-Saudi marriages then non-Saudis should be extremely cautious. Nobody ever knows how their future will turn out but they should be informed, be prepared, pray istikhara and trust in Allah before marrying a Saudi. An already complicated situation becomes more complex when a non-Saudi spouse isn't Muslim. So the non-Muslims should read as much as they can on Islam and Muslims.


  3. >Why do you continue to pray to this Allah who NEVER ANSWERS THE PRAYERS OF WOMEN, who only continues to enable them to be "honor killed" and beaten and enslaved and kidnapped. The whole time you're describing this godless group of people, you're appealing to their religion on every turn. It's the religion that emboldens them to stone women for being raped, to abuse, kill, maim, and destroy. Perhaps your Allah is not the Holy One just as "his" holy land is not the Holy Land. I don't get how you could be so obviously brainwashed to the very religious system that enslaves you and keeps your children hostage. I know, I know, it's not what Islam is "Supposed" to be, just like the Inquisition wasn't what Christianity was "supposed" to be. But if that's the state of the religion, then don't cater and pander to it anymore! Allah is not going to help you anymore than Allah has helped the overall women in Arab worlds. Why is that so hard to see? All these women crying out to Allah but their situations are identical, decade after decade, millions of women. Something's wrong w/ the way the religion is currently being interpreted or else something is wrong with the religion itself. I hope it's the former and not the latter, for your sake.


  4. >I am a Muslim and Islam is a peaceful one. Regardless of how you defame Allah and my religion, I still extend kindness to you without even knowing who you are. I can sit here and type out a rebuttal to your tirade but I have better things to do with my time. I will keep it simple and let Allah handle you as He sees fit. May Allah guide you to Islam ameen.


  5. >Steise: I do get You are very angry at the situation of women, it is true that it is disastrous in many countries… If we Muslims indeed would follow true Islam, it would be perfect. I am a Muslim, and I am a little bit hurt by your words, but I do try to understand that you are very angry. Hope you will find peace. Regards prayers, it is a bit bold to assume God Almighty is not answering any of them… I do believe and I know there are those who are answered :).


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