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Saudi Arabia

7,532: No. of wives, children left abroad by Saudis

A charity cares for 7,532 Saudis abandoned by their fathers and husbands in 31 countries around the world, an official from the organization has revealed.
Tawfiq Al-Suwailem, chairman of the Saudi Charitable Society for the Welfare of Saudi Families Abroad (Awaser), said that Kuwait tops the list with 780 families and 3,495 individuals. This is followed by Jordan with 909 families, Syria with 283 families and 814 individuals, Egypt with 269 families and 643 individuals, and Bahrain with 121 families and 525 individuals. China came in at 31st place with one family. There were no records of Saudis marrying non-Muslims, he said.
Al-Suwailem said those Saudis who deny they have kin outside the Kingdom would be investigated by the Ministry of Interior. He said Saudis are marrying non-Saudis because of changes in traditions and customs, and the cost of marriages rising to over SR200,000.
Arab News reported recently that Awaser has found that 70 percent of Saudi fathers who marry foreign women and then abandon them and their children abroad are over 50.
Al-Suwailem had said 25 percent of these fathers are aged 35 to 50. Many of the Saudi men who abandon their families abroad use the excuse that they are afraid of being jailed for getting married without the approval of the Saudi government, he said.
Al-Suwailem called on the government to speed up procedures so that children of Saudis living abroad can return to the Kingdom. He said many wives and children living abroad are unaware that they can get support in the Kingdom. Awaser takes care of families left behind by Saudi men.
Other countries with stranded Saudis include Morocco, Lebanon, Yemen, UAE, Qatar, Philippines, Indonesia, US, India, Oman, Tunisia, Britain, Pakistan and Sudan.

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