Saudi Arabia: All She Wants Is A “Normal” Family Life and Marriage

I always welcome the opportunities to interview individuals who have a connection or interest to Saudi Arabia on American Bedu.  Aisha has graciously agreed to this interview and to share her experiences as well as her unique situation.

Thank you, Aisha, for agreeing to this interview.  There are many questions I’d like to address with you.  First of all, what is your nationality and where is your present location?

Salam Alaikum,

First, let me begin with “Bismillah arRahman arRahim” and say that I’m honored to share my story with your readers and am thankful for the opportunity to do so on your blog!

As for my nationality and location, I am American; I have a temporary residence in Egypt in order to be closer to my husband; however, I’m visiting on business in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

What circumstances brought you to Saudi Arabia?

There are a myriad of reasons for my stay in Saudi Arabia.  Of course, my conversion to Islam plays a major role.  I appreciate being in a country where I can wear niqab and my daughters can wear hijab without being out of place.  I am so grateful to hear the adthan five times a day and it’s a blessing to hear my doctor say, “Bismillah,” before beginning any exam or procedure.  The little things like this make Saudi more “home” to me than my own homeland.

My visa is related to my business.  I lecture and teach natural birthing techniques.  It is my goal to educate women in the Middle East and Africa about non-medicated natural birth and birthing consumerism.  I also want to influence hospitals and doctors to recognize the importance of non-medicated natural birth.

In addition to that, my husband is Saudi and works in Riyadh.  Of course our young sons are also Saudi, so this land is their birthright as well.  We are still working on establishing our newborn daughter’s nationality, but she too should be registered as a Saudi soon, insha’Allah.

Everyone loves a love story.  Please share with American Bedu readers how you and your Saudi husband met.

I was a brand new convert to Islam.  I was full of questions and eager to learn.  However, I lived in an area of California devoid of Muslims.  I turned to the internet and eventually found my husband, patient and thorough.  He became my teacher and my mentor.  I was not looking to marry, but found myself enjoying the learning relationship for the sake of Allah.

During the course of our conversations I had confided in him that I hoped to move to Egypt with my children.  I felt Egypt was a good choice as it was a Muslim country with good relations to the U.S. as well as a favorable monetary exchange.

One day he contacted me to invite me to Cairo.  He had a business trip there and said he would show me around to see if it was really a place I could manage with my five young children.  Although I trusted him, a trip to Egypt seemed impossible.  However, after making istikarah, everything quickly fell in place.  It was against all odds, but there I was, on my way!

We were not sure what was next.  I lived in the States and he in Saudi, but we put our trust in Allah and with a leap of faith we married during that trip.  It was not well planned, so there was no Saudi marriage permission in place; hence the rest of my interview.

How long have you been married?  Do you have any children?

We have been married over four years now.  Together we have three children ranging from three-and-a-half years to newborn.  From my prior marriage I have five children ranging from fifteen years to seven-and-a-half.  All eight children reside with us, alhamdulelah.

 

He also has four children with his first wife ranging from twenty-eight to fourteen years old.  However, I’ve never met them, as he is unfortunately estranged from his wife and children.

I understand that you are facing unique circumstances in regards to the marriage approval process.  Can you describe what the marriage approval process has been for you and your husband?

First, my husband took me to visit Sheikh Al Azhar in Cairo.  He wanted me to officially document my shahada.  Afterwards, the sheikh warned him of the great responsibility he had in “leading” me to Islam.  He also advised that it was best for us to get married.

He told my husband to visit the Egyptian marriage notary (ma’zoon).  However, they rejected to accept a marriage application because we are non-Egyptian and needed both of our Embassy’s approval documents (which was impossible to get as the Americans do not issue marriage permissions at all and the Saudis do not handle these permissions via their embassies).

Since we were unaware of the legal process and our time together was short, we turned to a lawyer.  He offered to draw a legal Islamic marriage contract between the two of us and acted as my “wali,” since I have no Muslim relatives.  The signing of this contract was conducted by a “ma’zoon” at his office.  Our attorney assured us he would be able to follow-up and have the marriage attested and recognized within the Egyptian marriage system.

My husband knew he met all the requirements for the Saudi marriage permission, so he assumed he would have no trouble getting the marriage recognized once he returned to Saudi.  At the time, neither of us realized how difficult it would be.

The Egyptian attorney took time, but delivered on his promise and had our contract attested and certified through the highest courts in Egypt.  When it was finally issued, I was living in Egypt in order to be closer to my husband.

We were excited to finally get the legal recognition of our marriage and my husband used it to register our son as a Saudi citizen and to apply for our marriage acceptance in Saudi.  To our dismay, the citizenship was granted but the marriage rejected.

Two years later, I came to Saudi for the first time to make Umrah.  I delivered our second son during that visit and was able to stay for five months, alhamdulelah.  After registering our second son as a Saudi citizen, he applied for an appeal of the rejected file.  They would not accept the appeal application and instructed him to reapply.  We felt confident that it would be approved this time as we had two Saudi sons and letters urging acceptance from a high Saudi Sheikh and a political figure.  He took the file and attempted a direct visit with a prince at the Ministry of Interior in Jeddah.  He was denied entrance to speak to the prince and the clerks took his case.  Although the prince processed our application, the legal department denied it and I had to return to Egypt as my Umrah stay was expiring.

He is planning to reapply after we have our newborn daughter documented as a Saudi citizen.  This is taking longer than usual because she was born in Riyadh at home.  We are following the process for registering a home birth in Saudi, it just takes time.

To complicate matters even more, we have somehow misplaced or lost our original marriage court document.  Thankfully, the birth registration department has our marriage on file from our two sons’ birth registrations.  Our daughter’s birth registration is in process, so we won’t know until it’s over if that is enough to carry it through to completion.

In the meantime, we are hoping that the marriage approval process will similarly allow us to use the copy of our marriage document already in file.  We are praying that now that we have a third Saudi child and have been married almost five years, that our marriage may finally be approved and my iqama issued.

Until which time, I am grateful to be able to visit Saudi (and my husband) on my business visa.  I truly want to spread the passion for natural birth here.  Of course, I also want to reside, with all the legal documents in order, with my husband.

How do you feel that your children have been recognized as Saudi citizens and have their own passports, yet the Government continues to disapprove your marriage prohibiting you and your husband to legally be together under one roof as a family? 

It’s extremely disheartening.  It’s sad that my family is separated based on nation of origin.  My children need their father and I need my husband.  His work is here.  Our three young children have their rights to be here.  I believe they also have a right to live with both their parents!

Have you been made welcomed in to your husband’s extended family?  What is their reaction to the lack of marriage approval?

Masha’Allah, some of his family has been very generous, hospitable, and accommodating; others, not so much.  Some of his family refuses to even meet me.  I pray, with time, they will come around.

I’m not even sure if all of his family is aware of the approval issue.  However, a few of the family members that have been accepting have also tried to find ways to help us with an iqama (residence permission).  So far no one has any permanent solutions.

What advices have you been given towards getting the marriage approval rectified?

We are constantly told, “Just keep reapplying.”  Of course finding someone with personal connections comes up a lot too, but we just don’t have that!

We are sincere in our marriage and just want to raise our family, intact, in their homeland.  If any of your readers have any suggestions or advice, I’m open to ideas.

In spite of the obstacles and frustration due to the lack of marriage approval, you also provide a valuable service to women in Saudi Arabia.  Please explain the type of work you are conducting in Saudi Arabia.

As I mentioned, I lecture and teach about childbirth.  I am certified by the American Academy of Husband-Coached Childbirth® and I teach The Bradley Method® of natural childbirth to expectant couples.

Birth is an athletic event.  Women must prepare physically, mentally, and emotionally.  Like any athlete preparing for a big event, she needs a coach, someone to help her through.  I teach husbands to serve this role for his wife (she can chose someone other than her husband, of course, but he truly has the most vested interest in the outcome).

I advocate for non-medicated natural birth and teach couples how to cope with labor and birth naturally.  Barring any abnormalities, most women can birth without pain medication or medical procedures, IF they get educated and prepare themselves.

There are so many risks to the mother and baby when medications and medical procedures are introduced to the birth process.  Allah made the perfect plan for our births; why risk introducing medical interference when it’s not necessary?

I am also honored to attend births as a labor doula.  I assist the woman and her family throughout her labor and birth.  I help her to cope with her labor and am there as a strong, confident advocate for her welfare.  I work with her medical team to help her enjoy the best possible birth experience.

How much of a demand are there for your services in Saudi Arabia?

Since I arrived this trip, I have been busy with the birth of my own baby.  Even so, I have received a ton of inquires, alhamdulelah.  Not only that, but I’ve also been requested to meet with a very supportive midwife and head nurse at one of the biggest hospitals in Riyad.  I’m looking forward to meeting many obstetricians as it is my goal to partner with open-minded obstetricians and hospitals in promoting natural birth and prenatal education.

In my short time here, I am excited that my first class is up and running and I have a few doula clients lined up, masha’Allah.  It’s my sincerest dua (prayer) that with continued exposure I’ll be opening more classes soon.

It is my goal to also train interested Saudi and expat natural birth mothers to teach as well.  With more teachers available we will be able to reach more expectant couples and truly make an impact on the birthing customs in Saudi Arabia and beyond, insha’Allah.

 

I’d also like to find a venue for lecturing to doctors, nurses, and midwives.  I was fortunate to have found this opportunity in Egypt and expect to enjoy the same great success as I’ve had there, insha’Allah. 

Do you speak Arabic?  If not, how are you able to assist the Saudi women?

Unfortunately, my Arabic is limited.  However, I’m learning.  My husband is also trained to teach with me and serves as my translator for classes.  It’s also comforting for the husbands in my classes to see him there as an example.  It is my goal to have the material and workbooks translated into Arabic soon, insha’Allah.

Of course, I lecture in English, but doctors and medical staff usually speak English, so it’s not an issue.

As far as doula services, my experience in Egypt was only with non-English speakers.  Somehow, birth manages to bring us to common ground and I was able to bond with and help the women, regardless of the language barrier.

Shifting gears here, how long have you been in the Kingdom?  Did you feel you were adequately prepared for the change in culture and customs before arrival?  What were the biggest changes and adjustments for you?

I was here for five months last year and have been here for almost three months this time.  I think that living in Egypt first was a good stepping stone into the Saudi culture.  Although still very different from American culture, Egypt is far more lenient than Saudi.  I think it was a good transition for my older children too.

Of course, I left America seeking something different.  I wanted to bring my children to a society where open, non-married relationships are not accepted and marriage is socially valued.  I wanted a society with Islam as its base since I feel that a certain level of moral standard has been lost in American society.

I wear niqab by choice and this move was my choice; I was seeking this change.  With all of that in mind I don’t feel there was any really big shock or adjustments.

However, I have to say it is a totally different lifestyle.  I have never been so dependent on a man as I am here.  I feel fortunate to have a caring, supportive husband, because without that, life here would be much more difficult.

What have you enjoyed most about life and living in Saudi Arabia?  Why?

I think being able to wear my niqab without it attracting attention is the biggest blessing.  Also, coming from Egypt, I totally enjoy the variety in grocery shopping!  There aren’t many products that I miss from the States that I can’t find here, masha’Allah.

I am extremely happy in our neighborhood and am pleased that my children are making friends, masha’Allah.  I felt very honored over the recent Eid holiday when we were presented with a good portion of more than one of our neighbors’ odh’heya (meat from sacrifice).

I home school my children so most of my time is spent in my home.  So no matter where I am geographically located, so long as I can function and am happy in my home, I could live just about anywhere.

How have you changed (if any) since living in Saudi Arabia?

I would have to say that my preconceived notions or stereotypes about Saudis or life in Saudi has been washed away.  I have come to realize that life in Saudi is not scary or backwards as most Americans would expect.  I was shocked at the many modern malls and even American chain stores and restaurants.  There is a lot more English (written and spoken) than I had anticipated and people are generally very hospitable and accommodating.  I had also been very nervous about entering the country alone and was pleasantly surprised at how welcoming the immigration and customs process was during my last entry into Saudi without my husband.

Beyond this, I guess I’ve just become more dependent on my husband.  In the States, and even in Egypt, I had more independence.  Independence to come and go on my own as well as independence to conduct business, be it banking or government, without the assistance of a man.  Being an adult woman, yet under the “guardianship” of a man is probably the biggest change any of us have to face.

Would you recommend other expatriates who may be considering a position in Saudi Arabia to accept or decline an opportunity?  Please explain your answer.

Absolutely!  I think Saudi Arabia is a very “livable” country.  The infrastructure parallels that of the United States, masha’Allah.  It’s not like going to Egypt where things are not as modern.

However, if I were speaking to a woman or a husband with a wife and kids, I would just warn that there is a lot of responsibility placed on the husband (or hired help) due to the lack of mobility for women.  This is probably the biggest, single obstacle to overcome for women who are used to the freedom of driving.

Of course, for a non-Muslim, it may be more difficult to live here.  There are restrictions on products, pork and alcohol for example, and activities, such as gender mixing, that makes life more difficult if one does not share the Islamic beliefs.  Non-Muslim women should also realize that she will be required to wear an abaya (dark garment over her street clothes) anytime she is out in public.

What are your top five tips for new expatriates in the Kingdom?

Even though I know I am a foreigner here, I feel at home.  I don’t really think of myself as an expat.  However, I’d advise the following:

1.  Gain some knowledge of Arabic language.

2.  Accept that some things are just different here and emotionally let go of the phrase, “In my country we do it this way.”

3.  Be more cautious of your children’s school.  Even though Saudi is a relatively safe place to be, the standards for background checks of people working with or around children are nonexistent.

4.  Be cautious about leaving your children alone with maids or drivers.  These workers usually come from third-world countries and do not necessarily have the same moral standards, nor care for children that you have; whether it stems from ignorance or mal intent.

5.  Even if you are not Muslim, do some research about Islam.  Religion is a part of every facet of life here and if you intend to live in a country predominantly Muslim and ruled by Islamic law, you should be aware of the customs and procedures of the religion.

What about foreign women who have met a Saudi?  Would you encourage a foreign woman to have a relationship with a Saudi?  Why or why not?

I would not advise for, nor against it.  I don’t feel nationality has any basis.  There are good and bad Saudi men, just as there are good and bad American men.  However, I’d be more inclined to endorse her marriage to a Saudi if she meets him on his turf, rather than hers.  If she meets and marries him in Saudi, rather than in America, her chances of getting to know the “real” man are far greater.

What are the most important factors a woman should know if she is involved with a Saudi whether in or out of the Kingdom?

First, she should realize that at the root of every Saudi man is Islam, regardless if he is “practicing” his religion when they meet or not.  She should know that his cultural upbringing was much more strict in terms of a women’s modesty, role in society, and the part that religion plays in every facet of his daily life.  Even if he is “open-minded,” his religious and/or cultural differences are likely far from hers and his loyalty to them will probably kick in at some point.

She should also know that Islam does not allow “dating” or getting overly involved with a woman unless they are engaged first.  If he “dates,” he is either untrue to his religion or allowing his foreign environment to temporarily mute his cultural and religious values.

A man in this situation is likely to tolerate certain behaviors in a girlfriend that he would not accept in a wife.  This either means he won’t commit to his girlfriend or he will try to force her to change after they get married.

She should also be prepared to move to Saudi, even if he says he plans to stay in the States.  She should also recognize that a move to Saudi will require her to give up some, if not all, of her independence and she may find herself in a very vulnerable situation.  Assuming her Saudi man is truly open-minded and supportive, this should not be much of an issue, but what if it turns out he’s really not?  Or worse yet, he dies and she or her children are left under the “guardianship” of one of his male relatives!

Unfortunately, woman who meet a Saudi man abroad often fall into the category of the many stories of women who meet and date their Saudi beau whilst in America and then find he’s a totally different man when he returns to Saudi.  We’ve all heard the stories of how his Saudi values and strictness all come rushing back during the transatlantic flight!

I’d also caution her about religion.  If she is not already wholeheartedly Muslim, chances are she won’t enjoy trying to live it for him.  I’d be very leery of any Muslim who tells her that it’s okay that she’s not Muslim.  Even if he truly feels he can accept her following a different religion, that feeling will most likely change the minute they have a child, or he tries to bring her home to meet his mother.

Of course, to avoid the problems I’m facing, she should be sure that he has marriage permission in place in Saudi before marrying him.

How can a foreign woman know that a Saudi is truly serious and not simply enjoying a relationship with no intention of commitment?

How can any woman be sure of this with any man?  I guess I’ve addressed this somewhat in the previous questions.  But I surely don’t recommend becoming intimate with a Saudi man she’s not married to.  This is true of any man, actually.  You know the saying, “Why buy the cow if the milk is free?!?”  This would apply even more to Saudis since their religious and cultural standards of such intimate contact is much stricter than hers probably is, unless she’s already devoted herself to Isalm.

In closing this interview Aisha, I hope that you and your husband do receive that critical marriage approval so you have peace of mind in being legally recognized as his wife and can finally all live together under one roof.

Thanks so much for your wishes and I’d like to thank your readers for taking the time to “hear” my story.

Are there any additional comments you’d like to add?

I am honored that your readers have taken the time to read my story.  I would like to invite them to visit my blog about natural birth as well as my Bradley® web page:

http://saudibirthstory.blogspot.com/

http://www.bradleybirth.com/ndweb.asp?ID=A263

I’d love to hear from anyone who is interested in natural birth, be they medical professionals or the general public.  I’m always honored to work with expectant parents to achieve the best birth experience possible.

I’d especially like to reach any medical professionals who would be interested in working with me to increase the rate of natural births in his/her practice.  I’m looking for any assistance from within the medical profession to reach expectant parents or to provide a venue for lecturing to those in the obstetric field.

I also welcome any advice or help with regards to the marriage permission/iqama issue.  If anyone knows of anyway to expedite this procedure, I’d be extremely grateful!

Mostly, I’d like to express my gratitude to you for taking the time to interview me and post this article.  I am very impressed with your blog and it’s an honor to be featured on it.

In closing, I’d like to express my sincerest prayers for you, your family, and all your readers.  May Allah’s mercy be for all the ummah, as from Him we come and to Him we will surely all return!

Advertisements

65 Responses

  1. MashaAllah i loved this interview. I can relate and understand sister Aisha in so many ways, and pray she cam finally have her marriage approved by Saudi govenment and reunite entire family under one roof.

    I love the teaching natural birthing method. When I had my older kids I was young and uninformed so right at the start of labor I was medicated heavily. Thank you Carol for this informative interview, I would love to learn more about natural birthing method

  2. I do think we need more natural childbirth education here- and much of your advice it good. I would only add I would not marry a man who is already married. There are a multitude of complications that can come with that (besides all the moral issues) Nor would I “marry” without the permission first unless willing to live outside the kingdom. I don’t believe there is a “set” list of conditions a marriage to foreigner can meet- so better safe than sorry.

  3. Of course, I left America seeking something different. I wanted to bring my children to a society where open, non-married relationships are not accepted and marriage is socially valued. I wanted a society with Islam as its base since I feel that a certain level of moral standard has been lost in American society.

    I wear niqab by choice and this move was my choice; I was seeking this change. With all of that in mind I don’t feel there was any really big shock or adjustments.

    ————————————————–

    Aslamu ALeikum Sis Aisha,

    May Allah grace you and solves ur marriage approval issue. My dua with u always.

    Your above statement really touches me. Some curse Islam becoz of such morality and mock at Muslims. Some people like you appreciate such culture and morality in society and even leave America in search of such culture. I know today’s Muslim’s behaviours are also responsible for negative image of Islam n Muslims.

    Its also so nice to hear that many like you respect the value of marriage Islam gives and majority Muslims still respect it. In fact its not only Quran but Bible also says virtually all the teachings of Islam but people ignore or fail to follow.

    Also as a non-Arab,I am happy to know the reality of Saudi rather than biased media which shows only negative side only.

    In between, I am against certain things in Saudi like not allowing women to drive when women were on horses during prophet SAW’s time, not recognizing marriage when Islam give freedom to choose partner, difficulty in movement. But I realise that Saudi or any Arab country is not really hell for women as spread by media. Saudi also has negative sides just like any other country in the world has.

    After all negative things run faster than positive n good things. People enjoy with negative things and tend to ignore positive things.

    Lack of participants in such threads shows their true colour. They are so busy in other Islam/Muslim bashing topics. Some even cant sleep if they do not use some degrading words against Islam/Muslim before going to bed heheh 🙂

  4. Aisha,
    Thank you for this interview. As a mother, the burning question I have is related to your 5 older children. How did they/are they adjusting to all these sudden changes that you made in their lives? How did their father(s) feel about you taking them to live so far away? What about the rest of their family? What is your relationship like with your parents/family? How did they feel about you going off on vacation to meet a stranger and never coming back?

    ‘4. Be cautious about leaving your children alone with maids or drivers. These workers usually come from third-world countries and do not necessarily have the same moral standards, nor care for children that you have; whether it stems from ignorance or mal intent’

    All I can say to this is Oh.My.God!

  5. Interesting interview. Thank you for sharing this.

    I think her fourth point sounds like good advice which should be given about ANY near-stranger whether or not they are one of those possibly ignorant or purposefully immoral third-world people. I’ve heard stories of bad Muslims in Saudi who actually rape little boys.

  6. ” I wanted to bring my children to a society where open, non-married relationships are not accepted and marriage is socially valued. I wanted a society with Islam as its base since I feel that a certain level of moral standard has been lost in American society”

    And instead you in up in a country that is so racist and proud of its arab blood that you have to fight to get your marriage recognized under the law simply because they dont readily accept their nationals marrying foreigners. I dont understand how you imagined Saudi as being more moral than America…or anywhere else, when your own marriage isnt recognized due to racism. That isn’t very Islamic at all.

    ” Be cautious about leaving your children alone with maids or drivers. These workers usually come from third-world countries and do not necessarily have the same moral standards, nor care for children that you have; whether it stems from ignorance or mal intent”

    That was a rather harsh statement to make. You just relegated an entire population of people to child abusers…imagine they manage to raise their own children in their own chountry just fine.

    You should be cautious with your children anytime anywhere with anyone….that includes within your own house with your own family….that was just a terrible comment to make in my opinion.

    “A man in this situation is likely to tolerate certain behaviors in a girlfriend that he would not accept in a wife. This either means he won’t commit to his girlfriend or he will try to force her to change after they get married”

    Tolerate certain behaviors…oh my…he is ignoring his own culture and relgion by simply having a girlfriend…and yet he is tolerating HER behavior up until he decides to either cast her aside or make her his wife…and then those once tolerated behaviors are gone baby. Nice.

    “She should also be prepared to move to Saudi, even if he says he plans to stay in the States.”

    Now you make him sound like a liar…listen to what he promises but always expect him to break that promise and do what he pleases eventually. Nice.

    I would read this post and run a mile from the nearest Saudi…seriously….it was a horrible look into what to expect from a Saudi man and you make it sound all pretty and lovely somehow.

    Nice trick.

  7. “why buy the cow if the milk is free?”

    In the same sentence you said dont have intimate contact with him and he is not likely to go there because his religion forbids it…but on the other you use that quaint little phrase…meaning…why would he marry you or take you serious if your giving him “milk” for free. Which means…he went there…and yet now he is looking at you as if your just a cow that gave him free milk. Sweet!

    So she may be a cow but he certainly is a dog.

  8. ‘She should also be prepared to move to Saudi…Or worse yet, he dies and she or her children are left under the “guardianship” of one of his male relatives!’

    Aisha, I forgot to ask, how have you prepared for the worst?

  9. My concern would be, how will family life change if wife number one decides to resume a normal marriage with her husband? It would be hard to go from full-time to half.

  10. When I first read this interview my first question was actually (after reading the part about having 5 children) was she Mormon. Most Americans nowadays do not have more than 2.5 children or less unlike Mormons, raised in the Mormon corridor (Idaho, Utah, Arizona Nevada) who tend to have a LOT of children because they are taught that it’s the woman’s “job” to be a mother and a adherents “job” to “be fruitful and multiply”.

    If the interviewee was a Mormon then it’s common in the church classes mandatory for young girls (beehives 12-15?) watch a “inspirational” video about Johnny and his six cow wife. It tells a tale of a young pacific islander who wishes to marry someone but due to custom must first provide proof that he is serious and able to provide. So he “purchases” a wife and she is forever known as the six cow wife because it was the highest anyone had ever known. So many Mormon girls grow up with idea that they should also be six cow wives. (Sorry the whole thing made me want to yak.) Again another similarity with Saudi Muslim/Islam.

  11. It’s high time the world becomes more female orientated.
    Image how great it would be if a woman could decide that she will not marry the guy who so easily gave her what she wanted, (and after she promised him the world)
    And then after she took advantage of him, used him for her pleasure, she would refuse his hopes to marry her but dump him because he was nothing but a slut.

    It could so easily have been the other way around… If only they hadn’t changed female goddesses for male gods…

  12. Aisha,

    I hope things work out for you, really. Though I’m not optimistic about the whole thing, Inshallah it will work out.

    I’m not planning on marrying a Saudi, which is why I see myself potentially going through the hurdles you’re facing right now.

    Salam.

  13. “He also has four children with his first wife ranging from twenty-eight to fourteen years old. However, I’ve never met them, as he is unfortunately estranged from his wife and children.”

    There is a lot here to have misgivings about.

    Is he divorced? ‘Estranged’ may mean they are still married, and new wife is number two.

    I wonder what the new wife doesn’t know about the old wife.

    I wonder if the arrival of new wife threw old wife and her children into poverty or shameful circumstances, and that accounts for those relatives who are less than warm and welcoming to the new wife.

    Is it moral for new wife to bring 8 children into a marriage with a man who already has 4? It doesn’t seem fair to the needs of those 4 children.

    I wonder what his real responsibilities are, and if he is living up to them.

  14. @Lark,
    I also wonder if the first wife is also a relative. He is still married to her. An “estranged wife” is not an ex-wife, unless she mispoke. It’s hard for me to get positively caught up in stories when women knowingly marry an already married man.

  15. I am worried about that too. That’s why I couldn’t get myself to write something like ”I hope your problems get resolved soon”.
    If she is wife #2, and wife #1 is still around, and especially if she is a cousin, she is much better off living abroad. And I think the children will be better off anywhere else as in KSA in any case, especially educationwise.
    It will not be the first story we hear of a Saudi man who is ”estranged” from his first wife but in reality is nothing of the kind.

    And isn’t it very dangerous to meet up with your husband if you are not officially married in Saudi Arabia?
    I mean dangerous for the foreign woman.

    I don’t think that man is being very careful or protecting of her. First marrying her her as a second wife, then marrying her before he got official approval, and now exposing her to danger every time they meet in KSA.
    Very worrying.

  16. hope you get the marriage recognized, i’d be worried too if it were rejected so many times, i’d try to get to meet the prince and make sure he hears of this case. The officials are usually lax and unless you have some wasta your case will be bypassed.
    i don’t condone corruption but if you want your family together i’d try and see if someone knows someone who can get this approved.

    There are great risks when your marriage is not approved and you move in adn out adn have kids with a man the govt does not recognize as your spouse in saudi. I’m sure you are prepared and all but do be careful.

    I think she means divorced when she means estranged…

    I hope to god her spouse has her protected in case of eventualities, with so many kids and no approval etc.,

    hope you get what you want – no one should have to fight with the govt for something so personal as a marriage, it’s the pits ..

  17. and best of luck onthe teachng, i think every place should encourage natural childbirth, as long as a oBGYN is in around in case of complications. It’s safer long term.
    I think there should be more emphasis on a healthy lifestyle all the time and especially during the 10 months. you can’t ignore health for the pregnancy adn expect a perfect natural birth. education is the key, i hopw you achieve it nad help a lot of women suffering needlessly without the education.

  18. Wow so many similar thoughts that I also wanted to share were posted before me! How can that man, if he truly loves you and wants to protect you, think it is OK for you to move yourself and all 5 of your kids by yourselves to Egypt. Then now you must shuttle back and forth between Egypt and KSA. He is definately already married and I question how estranged he is.

    I am sorry about the harsh comments when you were only looking to share your story and your love of Islam and fighting for an ideal you have is admirable but this man is raising some serious red flags. In fact it reminds me of my fiance of 5 years, a Turk who brought me back to the US with him and gave me this whole song and dance that I swallowed hook line and sinker while his OTHER american wife and child were literally a 20 minute drive away. He also left me to fend for myself and bare the brunt of my relocation he was only kinda of there. The similarties in your story are striking.

  19. Interesting post. As coolred and others point out, by reading between the lines one gets a pretty good picture of the potential pitfalls of marrying (trying to marry?) a Saudi man. This is very good information. I might raise the question; is it ok that such a society exists for those who want to live that way? Is the problem for Saudi women that they are not free to choose, unlike Americans who can? It just occurred to me how funny the situation is; Saudi women who want to leave can’t and American women are trying to come and can’t. Quite a government! If the Saudi govt had a more open attitude towards immigration, this might help the society move in this direction. Otherwise: good for you Aisha in spreading natural childbirth! I prepared for my birth with the bradley method, and though I ended up needing a c-section, I am still so grateful for the help of my midwife. I would say it was my “backup” obstetrician that led to the c-section because she was so unwilling to give me proper care (example; 2 days after my due date she had a ultrasound done to see if I had placenta previa). So, mashaAllah! You go girl!

  20. I was born in a natural childbirth, actually my parents were all alone due to a misunderstanding and I still look back upon my birth with great satisfaction.

    I have always been for natural childbirth.

  21. Aisha,
    I wish the best for you and your family and hope that you, your children, and husband will all be able to live together under one roof in the near future.

    I am really glad to hear of someone promoting natural childbirth. 🙂 Any time I hear of someone promoting natural childbirth through doula services, midwifery services, etc. it puts a smile on my face! I even know of one woman who photographs the birth process and can paint a portrait based on the photo depending on what the mother wants. I find this also to be really positive and interesting.

    Good luck with learning Arabic, too! 🙂

    For any international couple, there are many headaches when it comes to getting a marriage approved in a particular country. I think this is even more true for someone wanting to marry a Saudi citizen. Therefore, it most definitely needs to be worth it!

    Recently someone told me that marriage originated in order for a man to prove that he “owned” a woman in order to prevent disputes between men and has since then developed into what it is today. Whether or not this is true, I believe that a marriage certificate is simply a legally binding contractual document. What matters most is whether or not the two people are genuinely deeply committed to each other or not. Of course, having it legal does make things easier in some respects!

  22. Why buy the whole pig if you can get sausage for free?

    On the childbirth thing, I speak with some authority, having given birth nine weeks ago. The highest point of that experience was the emergence of my son. The second highest point of that experience was the first minute after the epidural kicked in. To be free from pain was a such a high! I felt so happy that I believe I proposed marriage to my anesthesiologist – notwithstanding the fact that my husband was next to me, and the fact that the anesthesiologist was a fiftyish Asian woman.

    So I’m all for natural birth for those who want it, as long as those of us who don’t are left to enjoy our epidurals in peace.

  23. @nn – congrats on your new baby..

    I have seen the look on a lot of people’s faces when epidural kicks in and see pure bliss!!! and i’m envious, wish i had them in my time..

    oth choices are good as long as it ‘s what the mom wants 🙂

  24. Aisha,

    You are going into a very difficult situation even for the best of the best of Saudis. But, you are a determined woman who has a great education to fall back on if needed.

    You quoted a saying that my grandmother taught us from over 100 years ago that her mother taught her about the milk and the cow. I’ve seen many women come and go in Saudi over the years and whether the gal was a virgin or not had nothing to do with the final outcome of their marriage.

    You are going veiled, but with your eyes wide open.

  25. NN is it only nine weeks yet?
    I confused ”natural” with ”home” birth.
    I am all for pain relief!

  26. @nn> so funny! i myself agree with natural birth, but be in a hospital, because i experienced near death giving birth [i hemmorrhaged…very scary]. gia in jed

  27. I have to mention what happened yesterday – it’s on the topic of home birth co-incidential ????

    A couple decided to have their baby @home without a midwife or any one else present, just them andtheir 2 kids <4yrs of age… she had complications , not surprising since the baby was close to 10lbs. anyway they called 911 – the baby is was fine, mom not so fine and i was in surgery till 1.45am !!! she'll have long term issues on my end and the OB doesn't have good news either.

    I'm all for natural, but don't do it alone folks, do it with someone qualified ,even if you want it at your home, have backup. 50yrs ago people popped babies out inthe field, however 50yrs ago, they were fit and worked and didn't eat junk, thereby mother nature regulated …

    There was a debate in the staff room last night about the waste she caused, Hosp services+exended care + so many drs+ nurses, OR + medications, quality of life issues and the poor kids !!!!!
    and god knows how much of taxpayer money downthe drain…now all it would have taken to prevent this was the services of a capable doula @ her home…
    oh well it's the season for fruitcakes i guess..

  28. Also, Radha, do we have accurate figures for the survival rates (mother AND child) for those ‘natural’ births out in the fields?

    Both of my children were ‘natural’ using the Lamaze program IN the hospital. No one forced drugs on me. I didn’t have no stinkin’ EPIDURAL!! I got to feel Every.Single.Pain and I continue to feel it to this day!! Actually, I had pretty easy labors and deliveries the worst pain came years later. If you want MY advice on childbirth I’d say HAVE YOUR TUBES TIED before you ever get pregnant!!!! But…perhaps I’m a bit jaded?

  29. All 5 of mine were without epidurals and what not…just lots of meditating and heavy breathing. I didnt like the idea of having any sort of medication in my body during labor…especially given I was in a hosp that apparently hadnt heard we had arrived into the 20 century…and then some.

    I had my babies and took them home as soon as possible.

  30. We took all sorts of classes in the hospital before labor but I was always very certain I wanted pain relief. It turned out to be a necessity because there’s no way I’d be able to push for six hours with no epidural. Would have ended up in the OR for sure. I have renewed respect for our mother’s generation – how did they do it without the drugs??

  31. 50 years ago people were OK with moms and babies dying. If you read any novel taking place a hundred or more years ago, you will find passing mentions of women dying in labor as a totally normal thing. Let’s not even go into infant mortality.

  32. My mother had a doctor and midwife attending the births of her children, I was a bit too fast for the doctor… And of course when with my little sister there was something she had her in the hospital. Home birth is not automatically the best option.

  33. Oh I do not appreciate the third world labor having no moral values. Not at All.

  34. @NN, I don’t think the doctors would let the “pushing” go on for six hours, would they? I couldn’t imagine! (Maybe Aisha can answer?)

    For my children it took me about an hour to literally push them out. And even then the midwife was telling me to push harder because the babies heartbeat(s) was getting weaker and she did not want to wait any longer. I was finally able to get them out when the midwife asked me to make a choice, push the babies out or get a c-section!

    For my first child I went many, many hours with no pain relief, then I gave in and had the epidural. I was actually disappointed in myself that I didn’t hold out a bit longer but my labor was quite long and I couldn’t bare the pain anymore.

    For my second, I was stronger and was absolutely determined to give birth naturally and I did! And I will have nightmares of that birth for the rest of my life! It was that painful! When I experienced the full pain of the notorious “pushing pressure” it was insane. Uncontrollably, I let out a deep moaning sound and knew that was it; it was time to push! So, I pushed. But then NOTHING happened! The baby didn’t come out as easily as I imagined. NO ONE told me how many times you must actually push (and hold it) before your baby is born! Although I do have a friend that says she can get hers out in one go! Good on her but I wasn’t so lucky.

    I have no idea how women have a plethora of babies with no pain relief. And now that I think of it, I have no idea how women have babies in the backseats of cars with that pain! The hospital bed was uncomfortable enough, how about a backseat!?

    It’s unreal what we women go through to procreate. Really…we should be PAID to give birth for all the pain we suffer!

    I’m going to tell my husband now…he owes me big time! 😡

    By the way, one thing I’ve noticed here in Saudi is how women here treat natural births like a badge of honor and anything else is looked down upon. That is one of the first questions asked after hearing news of a birth. كيف كانت الولادة؛ طبيعي او عملية؟

    Not sure if that is universal womanly behavior as I have only given birth here in Saudi.

  35. @NN

    “We took all sorts of classes in the hospital before labor but I was always very certain I wanted pain relief. It turned out to be a necessity because there’s no way I’d be able to push for six hours with no epidural. Would have ended up in the OR for sure. I have renewed respect for our mother’s generation – how did they do it without the drugs??”

    They died. Or at least many of them did. I am al for being natural if that’s your choice however I truly hate those “nazi organic mamas” that look down on people for not doing it naturally. There’s a reason there’s a higher birth mortality rate as well as mother mortality rate back in the “old” natural days. Don’t get me started on the “no immunization nazis” because it really irratates me that their choices put my loved ones in danger. If you are going to keep your children out of public school and out of the public square then by all means…. play russian roulette with your child life. Do not play it with mine though. Selfish.

  36. I’m sure that no one DIES from not having pain meds for delivery. It’s the not being in a hospital and/or being prepared for something going wrong where a c-section is needed.

  37. ‘Don’t get me started on the “no immunization nazis” because it really irratates me that their choices put my loved ones in danger’

    I hear ya!

  38. @Lynn

    Being in pain for a long period of time can have a detremental effect on the mother and her ability to safely deliver.

  39. Ok, getting back to the original post:

    I just read the comments and I think a lot of commenters are jumping to conclusions a bit too quickly. But I know it’s so easy to do here isn’t it?

    Poor Aisha shares her story and then people suspect her of a self-inflicted drama, i.e. second wife.

    I don’t necessarily agree with how she met her husband (guy seems shady) but it’s her life. And now she has to sort it out for the sake of her children. We all have problems to sort out. Maybe she put her story out there in the hopes of someone helping her with her plight. Give her a break. If you’re kind, maybe she’ll respond. (Although, with this crowd, that may or may not be a good thing because the more info that’s given the more judgements that are passed.)

    Actually, on second thought, I think people should keep personal stories like this to themselves unless they are prepared to be judged because it will happen whether they like it or not.

    I hope her natural birthing education is successful here in Saudi all the same.

  40. No one dies because they choose a natural birth 🙂 provided they have intervention close by. This case i mentioned was extreme, home birth with no attendant. Her sobs are heart breaking ,no one should be punished like this for a mistake. she was in labor for over 20hrs and pushing for 3. I’m so glad the baby is fine.she was apparently in no pain , how one achieves that is beyond me , but hey i will take her at her word. Unfortunately she will have plenty of pain now and worse issues with the tearing and sadly no more kids.

    Mine was plenty painful, and i was a mean bitch, at that time in india dad’s didn’t dare come into labor wards, although F popped in now and then and got cursed at… blamed for his his big saudi bones to hell and back. I don’t think i would have giant kids if i married an indian , My family consists of Giants , large headed giants , v painful to deliver. If not for F i would have opted for a C-section happily.

    As for Aisha, who knows what er circumstances were, irrespective of rigt or wrong no one should be allowed to regulate who marries whom.. That’s the single biggest pain insaudi apart formthe mahrem system.

  41. @lynn,
    I don’t think you can send your kids to public school or any school without immunizations nowadays.
    even summer camps required them. Our kids ward isolates them when they are admitted, believe me it’s harder ont hem then onthe rest of the innoculated population, but it’s their choice.

  42. I agree with Jenna that your husband is more likely closer to his first wife then you think, with that said, you seem fine being a sister wife as it has been made clear to you that he is not divorced. With that said I hope the first wife is as agreeable to what is going on as you are, and I hope you get approved in the marriage and are able to live in KSA. I question his honesty, but I don’t question your sincereity, so I hope for your sake it all works out.
    I also like that you promote natural birth.

  43. I think vaccinations are a scam. I never believed it until I started looking it up for myself. I think every woman owes it to her babies to seriously look into what vaccinations actually are, what they do and do not do so she can make an informed choice.

    Vaccines also contain unknown amounts of animal DNA and RNA. and also the toxic substances and heavy metals aluminium, phenol, acetone, MSG, acetone, cadmium, lead and formaldehyde. The last thing you want to have injected into a newborn.

    In America every parent has the right to choose not to have their children inoculated, but it takes a lot of fighting and knowing your rights. Nurses will not tell you, but all states have philosophical and/or religious exemption.
    And that is because when you come to the very bottom, no doctor will be willing to sign a paper that he guarantees vaccinations will never ever harm your child. They know it can and does in some cases.

    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=7992548857856608549#docid=-6351515212287981735

  44. @Aafke

    Agreed. However, there is a reason immunizations were developed. There were children dying, period. And while is a POSSIBLITY of problems there is also FACTS that certain diseases were wiped out by immunizations (polio, but I’ve heard that’s coming back due to parents choices, small pox etc) and certain conditions that are vastly controlled by immunizing. I will agree with one thing about Immunizations is that I do not like the lumping up of immunizations drs do. I would much prefer to do it when children are older but younger than 5 if not in public daycare and in one shot increments.

  45. @onigiriFB

    “Don’t get me started on the “no immunization nazis” because it really irratates me that their choices put my loved ones in danger. If you are going to keep your children out of public school and out of the public square then by all means…. play russian roulette with your child life. Do not play it with mine though. Selfish.”

    I don’t get how a non-immunized child puts an immunized child in danger. Don’t immunizations make you “immune” to the disease so you won’t contract it if you are exposed to it?

  46. Asalam Alaikum,

    Gotta love American Bedu followers! A lively and interactive group; I love it! I’m shocked that my story was read by so many and generated so many comments! Regrdless of opinions about my story it’s truly an honor to be featured in this forum.

    I have prepared responses to all of your comments, however it’s too much for a comment forum. I corresponded with American Bedu and she decided to post my responsesin a follow-up post after a few days.

    So if anyonehas interest in ‘the rest of the story” as brought about by your comments and questions, please watch for the coming post.

    Also if anyone has any burning questions (not already asked) about my situatiion or about chilbirth, please get them posted here ASAP so that I have time to include them in my reply. (LOL what am I getting myself into with this group?!?)

    Best regards to all and thanks for taking the time,

    Aisha (Natural Mom)

  47. @cynthia,

    No immunizations arn’t fool proof, and they tend to wear off too. also int he school system there may be immuno comprimised kids and adults who could get nasty bugs form non-vaccinated people, Also the diseases could come back inmutant form.
    there are million reason for and against vaccinations.

    I’m ok if you don’t want to vaccinate your family, but i will also take extra precautions treating them and will get mightily pissed off if i catch something form them 🙂

    Just as parents have the right to no vaccinate kids i think those that do have a choice to not expose them to vaccinated kids..

    I know not all vaccines are warranted but i thank god i’m in an era where i don’t have to worry about polio/small pox/diptheria and whoopng cough …the terrible 4 🙂

  48. Yup what dr radha says. *waves hand* I am an immuno-comp person due to a chronic medical condition. My children have the possiblity of also developing my condition thus all ic. That is probably the biggest problem I have with the “immunization nazis” they believe inconclusive science and speculation but not fact and research? So again if you keep your kid home and they don’t come in contact with mine then by all means play russian roulette with your own loved ones life.

  49. @Cynthia

    “I don’t get how a non-immunized child puts an immunized child in danger. Don’t immunizations make you “immune” to the disease so you won’t contract it if you are exposed to it?”

    A non-immunized child won’t put an immunized one in danger, but he/she puts in danger those who are too young to have been vaxed or too feeble.

    Example: You choose not to vax you child, say, for pertussis. Your child contracts pertussis, carries it well, but passes it to my child, who is not due for his shots for a few more months. My child ends up in a hospital. He does not have immunity yet because he’s too young for his shots.

  50. or a non-immunized child can have contact with me, who has little to no immunity due to my cancer treatments. I am easily susceptible to catch anything. A common cold for a child can easily turn into pneumonia for me.

  51. artificial sweeteners when eaten turn into formaldehyde….eat to much you get gas and diarrhea….just wanted to say something. gia in jed

  52. […] Arabia: Café Muslimah – For Women OnlySaudi Arabia/USA: Analysis and Implications of WikileaksSaudi Arabia: All She Wants Is A "Normal" Family Life and MarriageWhat Exactly do Women in Saudi Arabia Wear Under the Abaya?Popular Malls and Shopping Centers in […]

  53. Thank you for sharing your story- it’s a very personal thing to put out for public view, but hopefully women will learn from it.

    I do have to express my disgust over point number 4, though. Not to be harsh, but statements like, “These workers usually come from third-world countries and do not necessarily have the same moral standards, nor care for children that you have; whether it stems from ignorance or mal intent.” contribute to a culture that dehumanizes other Muslims based on their racial and national origins.

    Abuse is abuse and is wrong, whether it comes from a Saudi parent or a domestic worker. But myths that foreign domestic workers as a class are abusive, unhygenic, diseased, ignorant, or careless are used to justify abuse of these workers.

    This kind of discourse moves conversation from the obvious questions: “Why do you beat your maid?” or “Why does your family follow strict gender segregation among the Saudi women but allow the men of the house to sexually abuse maids?” to victim blaming- “She’s dirty, she’s ignorant, she’s a danger to my children.”

    Haram alyaik.

  54. @Liz- Not to be harsh but statements like THIS – ‘…contribute to a culture that dehumanizes other Muslims based on their racial and national origins’ makes it seem as though your only concern is dehumanizing other Muslims rather than human beings. What if these ‘third worlders’ are Christians or Buddhists or, God forbid, atheists? Can we then feel free to dehumanize them?

  55. @Liz- Not to be harsh but statements like THIS – ‘…contribute to a culture that dehumanizes other Muslims based on their racial and national origins’ makes it seem as though your only concern is dehumanizing other Muslims rather than human beings. What if these ‘third worlders’ are Christians or Buddhists or, God forbid, atheists? Can we then feel free to dehumanize them?

    ———————————————————-

    Dear Lynn,

    The Prophet(pbuh) said:
    ‘A Muslim would neither abuse nor speak bad words to, nor curse others.’(Sahih Muslim)

    Can Muslim disrespect and steal from Non-Muslim?

    http://www.zawaj.com/askbilqis/is-it-okay-for-muslims-to-disrespect-and-steal-from-non-muslims/

    Hope, u and other Muslims will go through it and understand well.

  56. Azad,
    Thank you for your reply but since Liz is the one that made the statement I would like to see what she has to say in reply to my question.

  57. @Lynn- completely agree and accept your point. I qualified my language because in Saudi the rights of Christians, Buddhists, minority Muslim groups, ect. are tenuous and these people, natives and foreign workers both, are often dehumanized in day to day discourse and practice. But if you enter into the Saudi discourse on their own terms, you find that even people who are rendered “fully human” by their religious identity are dehumanized because of their racial and national origins.

    That is to say, the Saudi state never claims to treat Christian or Buddhist works with respect. But the Saudi state (and Saudi society writ large) does claim to treat all Muslims as equals, members of the ummah, ect. The two harams are supposed to be places where all Muslims can live and worship in fellowship- the Malcolm X vision of Islam/hajj in which racial identity is erased by the brother/sisterhood of deen. The reality of Saudi, of course, is that a strictly enforced racial hierarchy that priveleges whiteness, Arab/tribal identity, and national identity trumps religion any day.

    So my point is that even if you engage with Saudi on its own terms (ie Saudi guarantees the rights only of Muslims, and then only Muslims who toe a certain ideological line), the society fails to live up to what it promises.

    But, of course, speaking from my own perspective, migrant workers of other religions have their rights violated as well, which is in no way acceptable.

  58. @Liz,

    Very good comment and analysis.

  59. @American Bedu- Thanks!

  60. My pleasure, Liz.

  61. Sure I believe that he is not really that estranged from the first wife and that possibly he found it convenient to delay the marriage permission so he can simply send money to his other wife in Egypt without having to relocate her and cause more clashes with the first wife. Plus it is cheaper renting a home in Egypt that Riyah.

    Sorry to be cynic, but according to sharia if you have a child that already got the nationality you can go to court in saudi and request your right to be with the child until a certain age and it would be granted. Then the iqama would be issued.

    Thus there is something unclear in the story.

  62. QUOTE: “4. Be cautious about leaving your children alone with maids or drivers. These workers usually come from third-world countries and do not necessarily have the same moral standards, nor care for children that you have; whether it stems from ignorance or mal intent.”

    I find this to be the most racist statement to have ever been stated. Most of the third-world nationals I used to work with in the Gulf were the kindest, sweetest and most scrupulously honest people I’ve ever met and they remained that way even in the face of never-ending abuse and inhuman violation of their contracts. Your allegation is really gross because most of them are actually loving parents who haven’t seen their children for years due to the natives’ arrogant refusal to understand that these people are just as human and just as much in need of their loved ones as they are.

    The excruciating pain that these humble hard-working people are going through quietly every day is something the privileged aliens like you will never be in touch with. The niqab that separates you from the rest of the world has also become a barrier to your ability to relate to the less privileged. Shame on you as you imbibed the local culture’s unfeeling attitude too soon – you are a fast learner but a fast learner of the worst!

    I’ve just seen your other post where you answered the questions of those who commented on your racist statement here and I see that you backtracked after the backlash, but there are several new problems with your answer and that is your allegation that many of the poor third-world nationals can’t be trusted because many of them become jealous, bitter and spiteful when they see the Saudis’ luxurious lifestyle.

    QUOTE: “As for the maids/drivers, it’s just important to realize that they come from different customs and backgrounds from your own. They come to Saudi to work and live in private homes. These are not people who put in their days’ work and go home to their own family at the end of the day. I can’t imagine how hard it must be for them emotionally to be separated from their own families (women often leaving their own young children behind in their own countries) to live in servitude to yours. There can be jealousy and contempt as they see your lifestyle in comparison to the poverty from which they come. Many are grateful for the opportunity to work, others become spiteful and angry.”

    http://americanbedu.com/2010/12/17/saudi-arabia-follow-up-from-interview-with-aisha/

    I have something to tell you about that and it is that when people leave their countries and loved ones only to realize they have been tricked into a distant country where their hard work is not adequately valued, where they work for peanuts amid unimaginable luxury, they inevitably become really, really sad and yes, angry, but it takes a very strong spiritual person to rise above such feelings, especially when they are perfectly justified. Still, I have seen many quiet third-world heroes who have emerged victorious over the extreme emotional damage caused by the people of the Gulf and have refused to pay bad for bad.

    This is the kind of great spiritual victory that you Saudis will remain for ever oblivious of as you don’t care how your domestic help feels. They are subhuman for you, so you can’t care less. I want to see how you would all react if anyone subjected you to the same degrading abuse only for a year – most probably you would grab the guns and react with violence to anybody who questions your human rights but the human rights of others are absolutely nothing to you.

    Given the inhuman abuse that your people administer so generously to others – and that’s the only thing they are really generous with – I find your expectation for gratitude to be shameless beyond imagination.

    I have a simple cure for all the negative feelings that you see as intrinsic to your domestic help – start paying really good salaries and don’t stop them from seeing their families once in the year and they won’t feel bad about your lifestyle even for a day.

    No? So I thought.

    QUOTE: “My comment about the morality of American society has to do with the acceptance of relationship outside of marital commitment. Of vivid memory and concern for me was something that struck me as I drove by a high school just before leaving for Egypt. School had just let out and there were teens milling around waiting for buses and rides home. Many of these were teen couples who were displaying outward sexual affection. Many of them had their hands in the back pockets of their partner, were French kissing on the sidewalk, standing very close and swaying as if to their own music while gazing intimately into each others eyes, etc. As I drove by I felt saddened by my own society. I personally don’t feel that this behavior is acceptable for unmarried persons, let alone teens. The fact that these kids felt perfectly comfortable to openly display this type of affection is concerning. It is a reflection of the morality of the society and it is not the environment that I want to raise my children in.”

    http://americanbedu.com/2010/12/17/saudi-arabia-follow-up-from-interview-with-aisha/

    Yet you probably keep coming back despite your deep dislike for our “immoral” ways or maybe you are simultaneously, paradoxically, bitter and jealous of the fact that we are free to express affection to each other without looking over our shoulders, worried that the religious police may whisk us away and rape us as a punishment before deporting us for good.

    I wouldn’t French-kiss anyone in the street, either, but that’s another story – and I certainly don’t need to be a Muslim to be this modest.

    Good luck with your chosen way of life because someone with your understanding belongs to the Middle East without any doubt. I pity the people working for you, though – they definitely need an employer who is not the suspicious bigot you are.

  63. Moderator, I just posted a long comment and it did not appear. May I have it posted please?

  64. Thank you very much, moderator. 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: