Prejudice Towards Half-Saudis In Saudi Arabia

How sad. Have their parents ever taught them not to be prejudiced? Do they and their parents know what prejudice is and how hurtful it can be? What if the shoe was on the other foot…how would they feel if someone insulted them for being Saudi? Tara Umm Omar

Saudi Men With Foreign Moms Not Sons Of Soil?
By Diana Al-Jassem
Arab News | Jeddah
8 July 2011

Saudi nationals who have mothers from different countries claim they are often referred to in a derogatory manner as “half-Saudi.”

They complain of being mistreated or mistaken for expatriates, especially if they have blue eyes or blond hair and talk with an accent.

They said they are often called “nonoriginal Saudis” and are made fun of or treated according to their mothers’ nationalities.

Anas Al-Kesaibri, an 18-year-old Saudi man who has an Egyptian mother, is made fun of because of his accent. He is close to his mother and therefore picked up her accent.

He said that he finds it hard to convince people he is a Saudi because of the way he speaks. One of his school friends even told him that he would only be regarded as a citizen if he spoke like one.

“At school, my friends call me ‘the son of the Egyptian’ as if it was an insult,” Al-Kesaibri said, adding that his friends always make fun of the way he talks by mimicking him.

Khaled Al-Harbi, who has a Syrian mother, was also teased a lot by his friends because of his accent.

“Al-Harbi is the name of the main Bedouin tribe in the Kingdom. My friends who also have Al-Harbi name find it insulting that I speak with a Syrian accent. Some of them tell me not to speak at all when we’re hanging out while others try hard to help me stop speaking like someone from Syria.”

Feras Al-Amoudi, a Saudi with a Palestinian mother, is also targeted because of his accent. Whenever his friends need to insult him, they refer to him as the son of a Palestinian woman in an insulting manner. “They always pick on me when I get excellent marks during exams. They love to remind me that I have a Palestinian mother. A friend of mine told me not to take offense to this because if I was 100 percent Saudi, then I would not be excellent at school,” he added.

Hala Hassan, an Egyptian mother of a Saudi boy, said: “My son graduated from an engineering college in the UK along with his cousin. When I was searching for a bride for him, families would reject him because of where I’m from. The funny thing is that one of the families accepted his cousin, despite the fact that my son is better educated.”

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Tara Umm Omar

American married to a Saudi.

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