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

Updated 17 December 2014
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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.


Saudi Arabia greets 1.68m pilgrims, passport chief reveals

Maj. Gen. Sulaiman bin Abdul Aziz Al-Yahya speaks in Jeddah on Wednesday. (SPA)
Updated 16 August 2018
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Saudi Arabia greets 1.68m pilgrims, passport chief reveals

  • The Ministry of Interior has been working hard every year to make Hajj successful and easy by using technology to facilitate Hajj permits
  • The number of pilgrims increases annually which is a good sign of a successful Hajj

JEDDAH: More than 1.68 million Hajj pilgrims had arrived in the Kingdom by noon on Thursday, the General Directorate of Passports announced.
Maj. Gen. Sulaiman bin Abdul Aziz Al-Yahya, director general of passports, told a press conference: “Up to this moment, our air, land and sea checkpoints have warmly received 1,684,629 pilgrims from different countries of the world.”
According to Al-Yahya, 1,584,085 pilgrims have arrived by air, 84,381 entered the country via land crossing points, and 16,163 came by sea.
“Under close supervision by the minister of interior, Prince Abdul Aziz bin Saud bin Naif, and a daily follow-up by the Makkah governor, Prince Khaled Al-Faisal, we had an early plan to efficiently receive Hajj worshippers. For that reason, we have all qualified personnel and modern technology available for their service so that the arrival process is done in a short time as possible,” he said.
Al-Yahya said that well-trained staff members were present to prevent lawbreakers from entering the holy sites.
“The role of these workers is to take hold of law violators and impose penalties on them. They are working 24 hours a day. For example, a driver who illegally transports pilgrims into Makkah will be fined SR10,000 ($2,600) for every passenger he is caught transporting,” Al-Yahya said.
The violation would also bring a 15-day jail sentence.
“When the same violator commits the same felony, a SR25,000 fine will be imposed for every passenger he is carrying, in addition to two months in jail. Third-time offenders will spend six months in jail and will have to pay a fine of SR50,000,” he said.
He said that about 18 drivers have been detained following violations. Punishments will vary since some were caught using relatives’ cars.
Al-Yahya said a pilgrims’ departure plan was in place to assist worshippers in departing for their countries after their rituals have been completed.
Al-Yahya highlighted the contribution of women in the passports system during Hajj.
“We have 107 women officials working at the King Abdul Aziz International Airport. There are others in different locations, such as Prince Mohammed bin Abdul Aziz International Airport in Madinah, where 58 female agents are working.”
Al-Yahya said that the directorate is using the latest technology to counter passport counterfeiting, a growing problem around the world.
He praised the Makkah Route project, saying pilgrims had been able to enter the Kingdom with minimal delay and without complications.
Pilgrims on this route took no more than 35 minutes to leave their flights and board buses for the holy city.
“Even on their way to Makkah, they don’t need to stop at checkpoints,” he said.

‘Makkah Road’ pilgrims
Thursday morning saw the arrival in Saudi Arabia of the final flights of this year’s “Makkah Road” initiative. The project, which was implemented this year, has seen 103,057 pilgrims arrive to perform Hajj on 240 flights from Kuala Lumpur and Jakarta to Jeddah and Madinah.
Al-Yahya said that the initiative has been a huge success, and represents just one of many projects that the Supreme Hajj Committee is developing under the direction of Prince Abdul Aziz bin Saud bin Naif.