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, 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.”
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!
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