Saudi Arabia: Moroccan Maids Or Moroccan Wives?

Moroccan maids

I told my husband that Saudi Arabia is going to import maids from Morocco. He laughingly quipped, “They are bringing in maids or wives? What is the big deal about these Moroccan women stealing husbands from Saudi women? How about the big deal of letting ANY strange woman live in the home in the first place? Especially if the amirah of a household has been blessed to stay at home, has the time and physical ability to do it herself. At some point, a woman and her husband has to accept some responsibility for hiring a live-in maid and should be cognizant of the consequences that comes along with this type of arrangement. Also remember that we are going to be held accountable by Allah for the those under our employ.

I think there will be power struggles between the woman of the house and the hired help, in this case the Saudi wife and Moroccan maid. The woman of the house will not want to be showed up and have her position/role in the house threatened. Factor in the superiority complex that Saudi women seem to have which I think is also related to insecurity. A Muslim man can have up to 4 wives and most of the Saudi women today do not want to be in a polygamous marriage. They are very much aware that their husband can marry a 2nd, 3rd, 4th time without requesting the permission of the 1st wife AND it is allowed for them to keep the marriage(s) a secret from her and his other wives. The wife also knows that her husband can simply divorce her and replace her with another woman.

If you have a solid marriage and trust your husband, you would not be worried. But if you’re gonna be this way then you should clean your own house and take care of your own children!

Update on the FHWS Facebook group: There are now two FHWS Facebook groups: the original group is now for WOMEN ONLY http://on.fb.me/qt9Bhc and the other one was created for MEN ONLY http://on.fb.me/px2mTe.

The FHWS newsletter for the time period of 4 – 19 September has been sent out. The FHWS newsletter for the time period of 4 – 19 September has been sent out. The newsletter form I use through Bravenet is not working (as of right now). If you would like to be on the mailing list to receive the FHWS newsletter, send an email to emailfhws at gmail dot com with the word “subscribe” in the subject field.

Tara Umm Omar

Morocco Must Investigate Saudi “Maid-Trade”
By The View From Fez
15 September 2011

Back in early September, the recruitment committee of the Council of Saudi Chambers of Commerce and Industry announced that recruitment companies would be established and will be licensed to bring in housemaids from Morocco, East Asia and South Africa. The move has caused outrage in unusual places. Ibn Warraq reports for The View from Fez.

The reason for this recruitment move, according to a Saudi chamber official, was that they were turning to Morocco and other countries to get its domestic workers following a dispute with the Philippines and Indonesia, the largest suppliers of housemaids to the Gulf countries. The dispute has centred on pay and conditions, but Indonesia had earlier this year also criticised the Saudi government for beheading an Indonesian maid. Of the 1.2 million Indonesians working in Saudi Arabia, over 70% are domestic helpers.

The ban on maids from Indonesia and the Philippines hit Saudi households hard, causing many to resort to hiring illegal maids over Ramadan. The Saudis are reliant on foreign workers to perform their household tasks for them and very few Saudi women will work in such menial positions despite high unemployment, as they would be looked down on by other Saudis.

The ban came into effect following the two countries attempts to introduce regulations for the work conditions of their nationals. Trade Arabia said both countries demanded better working conditions for their employees. Saudi walked away from the negotiations abruptly and decided to look for domestic employees from countries such as Morocco who they perceive as not as concerned about imposing regulations to protect their workers. It also became clear that lower rates of pay could be offered to other nationals.

Right from the beginning the scheme ran into problems in respect to recruiting maids from Morocco. The recruitment committee said that the immediate employment of Moroccan maids could prove an issue as there were no official recruitment offices in Morocco to process the papers of prospective domestic helps. It was suggested that there could be a way around the problem with Saudi citizens being given work visas to bring housemaids from Morocco on their own.

The whole issue of Saudi maids has been at the centre of international protests for years, especially in regard to exploitation, sexual harrassment and torturing of foreign housemaids. The notion that indvidual Saudi’s could fly to Morocco and find a young woman and take her back to Saudi, is truly worrying and will, no doubt, offend our readers.

The chairman of the Council of Saudi Chambers of Commerce and Industry, warned Saudi citizens against contacting any offices claiming to be able to send housemaids from Morocco to the Kingdom. “They are all fake. You should not heed the false claims of these fake offices.” he warned prospective employers.

The spokesman of the Labor Ministry, Hattab Al-Anzi, said the recruitment offices would grant citizens work visas for housemaids from Morocco. “It is now the responsibility of the citizen to look for authorized private recruitment offices to bring workers from Morocco,” he said.

Then, suddenly, the plan to import maids from Morocco ran into even more problems. Those fighting to stop the “maid-trade” got support from an umlikely source – Saudi women. They objected to the importing of Moroccan girls, not because they didn’t think they would work hard, or that they were against the exploitation of young foreign women. No – it was because they thought the Moroccan women were too beautiful. At first it sounded like a sick joke, but the Saudi women were serious.

“Many Saudi woman have objected to plans to import domestic workers from Morocco…they say the Moroccan women are beautiful and this will cause continuous anxiety and concern in Saudi families,” – ‘Sharq’ Daily

It is a relatively rare for the voices of Saudi women to be raised in protest. This year there have been notable exceptions as some women protested for the right to drive, whilst others demanded the right to vote. Now they have another common cause – to ban female domestic maids from Morocco. It started slowly, but over a few days the protests grew to the point where the Saudi women innundated the government with complaints that Moroccan women are just too beautiful and may lure their husbands away. According to the website Emirates 24 the Shura Council was “deluged by demands from Saudi women”

“Moroccan women are so attractive that their husbands could easily fall for them…others said Moroccans are good at magic and sorcery and that this could enable them to lure their husbands.” – ‘Sharq’ Daily

If the women of Saudi Arabia fail to stop this “maid-trade” then it is imperative that the Moroccan government scrutinise the contracts and conditions of every maid taken to Saudi. They should also take steps to educate Saudi women to understand that while Moroccan women may be beautiful, they are not dangerous.

Photo Credit: Moroccan Villas

FURTHER READING

Moroccan Maids Spell Trouble
Saudi Official Dismisses Fears Of Moroccan Maids
The Magical Moroccan Maids

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Published by

Tara Umm Omar

American married to a Saudi.

2 thoughts on “Saudi Arabia: Moroccan Maids Or Moroccan Wives?”

  1. This is interestsing… I have a lot to say about this topic but will have to wait until another day as I have a lot going on today that I cannot postpone.. But, thank you for posting this information…

    Like

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