Saudi Arabia mulls nationality for children of Saudi mothers, foreign fathers

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The Shoura Council on Tuesday agreed to study a proposal to grant nationality to children whose mothers are Saudis but fathers are non-Saudis.

With a majority of 63 votes, the council agreed to study two proposals aimed at amending the Saudi nationality rules and regulations.

The proposal was tabled about two years ago but had never been taken up for discussion.

The proposal was tabled by two incumbent members, Latifa al-Shaalan and Ata al-Sibaiti, and three outgoing female members, Haya al-Manie, Thuraya Obaid and Wafa Taibah. The issue stirred hot discussions in the council with some members fully supporting it and others strongly opposing it.

Fahd al-Anzi, a member with a legal background, opposed granting nationality to children whose mothers are Saudis but fathers are non-Saudis on the ground that the children are usually attached to their fathers.

“The marriage of a Saudi woman to a non-Saudi man is her choice, but giving nationality to her children is not,” he said.

Faisal al-Fadil, another member with legal background, opposed his colleague.

He said granting nationality to those children concerns human rights embodied in Shariah.

Iqbal Darandri, a female member, supported the proposal, saying some of these children were born in the kingdom and do not know any other homeland.

Noura al-Masaad, a female member who was the first to speak in the council, said most countries grant nationalities to children of women married to foreign men.

Abdullah al-Harbe said many people whose mothers are Saudis but fathers are non-Saudis are positive members of the community, so preventing them from getting the nationality will deprive the kingdom of a qualified cadre.