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Saudi’s lost women
Women abandoned as babies on Saudi’s streets cannot lay claim to a traceable lineage, and face social problems in the kingdom.
June 29, 2009 9:18 by Fatima Al-Saadi
21-year-old Fatma says she was found outside a mosque. “My mother heartlessly decided to get rid of me and hide her shame. Yeah, we were treated well at the shelter but at the end of the day we are women with no family and lineage,” she said. “I am a confident woman and have a university degree. I’m also open-minded. I dream of a husband with whom I could share my life and have children,” she says.
“I don’t want a husband who will wrong me because of my background and because I don’t have a family,” she says adding that she would prefer marrying someone who from the same social class.
“My friends from the shelter who married men with families ended up getting divorced. It just doesn’t work.
“They curse us and believe that marrying us would bring them and their families shame. I had a friend whose husband would call her a ‘nobody’. She hated him for mentally torturing her and ran away. We still don’t know where she is,” she says, adding that the government should do more to help people like her.
Lulwa is another woman without a traceable lineage. “I was found in a junkyard. This is my destiny and this is how I will live the rest of my life,” she says.
“I once remember a woman coming to the shelter searching for a bride for her son. She told the people in charge that she wanted an orphan and not one of us. I was shocked and asked myself what we had done. It’s not like we have any choice in the matter.”
Abdullah Al-Jadaani, an official at the Fatwa and Endowment Center in Riyadh, says that Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) did not preach against marrying women without traceable lineages, but encouraged people to marry women of good character.
“Most of these women are of excellent character. It is not their fault that they are in the situation they are in. Marrying such women is honorable, something that would earn great reward from God. These poor women would make excellent wives,” he says.
(Names of women interviewed for this story have been changed to protect their identities.)
First seen in Arab News.
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