Granting citizenship to Saudi women's expatriate sons

Granting citizenship to Saudi women's expatriate sons


GIVING Saudi nationality to sons of Saudi women married to foreigners is an old issue. It will be raised again and again until the authorities decide to end the suffering of many families in the country. I would like to point out that the article is not about the eligibility of nationality of sons with one of their parents being a non-Saudi, but the sons of Saudi mothers.

We know that sons of a Saudi man married to a foreign woman are given nationality but so far no decision has been made on granting nationality to expat sons of Saudi women. As a result, many Saudi women have been standing in queue in front of Saudi embassies with the hope of getting nationality for their sons.

At the same time, the sons of Saudi man, even if they have not visited the Kingdom or do not speak Arabic, or their mother is a non-Muslim, deserve Saudi nationality as per custom and the law. Why the situation becomes different when it comes to sons of Saudi woman married to a Muslim man, often an Arab born and brought up in the Kingdom?

Most laws and legislations are enacted by lawmakers in society. Our male-dominated society does not consider men and women equal citizens, but thinks that men are the origin while women are their dependants. Women derive their value and rights as a result of their belonging to men as daughters, wives, sisters and mothers and they do not have any independent identity or free will.

Therefore, there is nothing unusual if we see discriminatory regulations relating to women. Sons of Saudi women married to foreigners are not given nationality hence they are not entitled to public housing schemes or government loans except in special cases.

Women are considered dependent on their families or tribes who choose their grooms. The Saudi society will not accept a woman’s independent selection of her husband without meeting the society’s criteria, even if it is done with the consent of her family. Some families and tribes consider it as a big crime.

When a woman commits a ‘societal’ crime like marrying a non-Saudi she must be prepared to face its consequences. She may even face expulsion, albeit indirectly, either by her children or complexities in family's life. The Saudi society thinks that a woman challenges masculinity of Saudi men by marrying a non-Saudi. They say it secretly and sometimes openly. For them it is better for a Saudi woman to become the fourth wife of a Saudi or a misyar wife than marrying a foreigner who treats her like a queen.

These things happen because the male-dominated society views women as light-headed with limited thinking power and are unable to distinguish between good and bad. Such unbecoming treatment of women may occur anywhere in the world but a good number of Saudi women suffer for marrying foreigners.

Although a person is not supposed to give justifications for one of his/her personal choices, such as marriage, there is nothing wrong in giving some justifications to establish justice, especially when compare it with Saudi man married to a foreigner. I don’t have any objection to granting his wife and sons citizenship.

It’s the man who decides to marry the woman he likes. The situation is completely different for a woman who has to wait for the right groom to come and accept her. A physically and financially fit man is eligible for marriage even if he crosses the age of 40 while an unmarried woman aged 30 is considered a spinster.

A man will have specific conceptions about his would be life partner and her shape and nationality and can travel to any country to marry the woman he likes after obtaining permission from the Interior Ministry. But for woman it’s not that easy and we have not heard about Saudi women traveling abroad in search of a groom. Even if she does she would require the consent of her guardian (to travel not to mention marriage), the rest of her family, and then the Interior Ministry.

Why Saudi women marry non-Saudis? There are many reasons including the family’s desire to get her married with a cousin and other close relatives following Arab customs and traditions. A woman’s non-Saudi mother may wish to have a conjugal relationship with the son of her uncle. She may be a matured and highly educated woman and did not receive any suitable proposal from Saudis.

Another potential reason is that the woman would be divorced and had children, factors that sadly reduce a woman’s attractiveness to get married in our society. Marriage with a foreigner may also occur after falling in love with a co-worker or a college mate and it’s Allah Almighty who creates love between men and women.

In any case, it’s a true marriage based on the Qur’an and Sunnah fulfilling the required conditions. As long the spouses are happy and satisfied with the relationship no one is allowed to separate them and no one is allowed to make their life difficult.

Women are more attached to their land and nation, and the mother is the one who nourishes good habits, traditions, values ​​and patriotism along with her milk. Her wards will be closer to the values ​​of society than others. There lies the answer to those who fear naturalization would change the country’s demography. We are not discussing about the Aryans in Nazi Germany but about Muslims and Arabs.

Another argument is that such marriages would contribute to increasing unemployment among Saudis. Those who make this argument forget that granting citizenship is a human right, which may be subject to specific conditions such as religion, language or years of residency, but should not be subject to changing market situation and economic problems.

The government has given justice to women by allowing them to drive. I am sure it’s capable of putting an end to the suffering of Saudi women by giving security and safety to their sons by granting them citizenship without considering their father's nationality. Citizenship must be granted to all citizens — both men and women — without discrimination.