Saturday, June 2, 2007

Oman is making the news overseas, but not for the right reasons this week.

Balqis blogged about this, and having followed the link and read up on it I'm blogging too.

Obviously, I am not on the inside of the courts, and cannot vouch for what is what. My point is that the courts should have a chance to hear from her, and from her Ex-Husband and decide what is in the best interests of the children. To deport her before she is given a fair hearing is a grave miscarrage of justice.

The following is Excerpted from the website linked below, and is according to Kahdijah's american family:


Khadijah Heather Jones is an American citizen born in St Louis Mo. She has3 children. Zakaria, Amani, and Yosef. Heather went to St. Louis to be with herfamily, and receive cancer treatments and her children were with her on the trip stateside. When she returned to Oman, her father assisted her in traveling with the three children. When they were picked up at the airport, they were separated into 2 cars. This is where Jamal abducted the children. Her husband, Jamal Mohammed AlBalushi then told Heather he was divorcing her.

Jamal has threatened her life repeatedly. One time in front of US Embassywitnesses. Jamal pursued her in a car chase, Heather drove to US Embassy grounds where the guards there protected her, her father and the children behind Embassy gates. Suffice to say, there are many harrowing occurrences. There are too many to enumerate now. Bottom line is this, she is was forced out of the home, forced out of her job, and now looks at being forced out of the country without her children. She will not be able to enter Oman again, and due to the actions of Jamal canceling the kids American passports, the kids are not able to leave Oman.

You can read more here


17 comments:

Balqis said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Balqis said...

Sad we came to know this in Sabla, where an American member presented the story .
If we were in any other country of the Gulf, for sure newspapers or bloggers would have raised the issue and with big voice [in Bahrain they'd make hell].
But Oman prefers to remain Wonderland .
Many of us know how it feels cause passed her same situation: you know about release and noc when problems start [I assume this is the trouble for her] : is stupid I know, but even if you move to a total different culture, you expect it to have at least the basic features you were having in yours.
Thing is that everything happened according to the law, not even H.M. might do anything .
If only press presented her story

Anonymous said...

Hmmm. Sounds very very unfair, of course. BUT hard to be very sympathetic... because to marry an Omani, presumeably she converted to Islam. And as with any contract, especially one dealing with siomething as immensly important as your whole life, you really should always read the fine print.

And then she would have known that she would basically not have any rights at all in this situation. Islam for women is really like the pre-nuptual contract from hell. Is this a surprise? Duh.

If he's rich, or his family is rich, maybe she could try suing him in the USA civil courts. That would at least stop him going to NY for shopping.

Sorry to be so unsympathetic Sub. If she wasn't Amirican it would get zero attention, and trhis is happening throughout Oman ALL THE TIME.

JP

Suburban said...

Balquis, thanks for bringing the subject to my attention. It will be interesting to see how things go.

JP- Nice to hear from you again. And You don't have to agree with me all the time, or ever.

This happens to Omani women all the time, and the courts rarely back them, this I know. And it's just as tragic.

For foreign born mothers, who would be unable to obtain citizenship and therefore have a right to stay in Oman to raise thier children the situation is more complicated. Because once you are deported, there is no weekend visitation / joint custody.

I'm hapy to leave it to the courts to decide what is in the best interests of the children. However, the mother should be allowed to stay in Oman, or to return to Oman until the courts issue a final verdict.

The American Embassy has a few questions to answer to as well, if they did indeed cancell the childrens American Passports on the request of the Omani father. You can bet I'd raise bloddy hell if my country cancelled my daughter's hard-won passport on the request of her foreign father.

I'll try and keep the updates coming on this subject, thanks to both of you for your comments.

Balqis said...

There are some Omanis who married American ladies without forcing them to convert, they're still Christians
Islam has nothing to do with this
Do your homework before shooting crap

Anonymous said...

Knowing this family, I think you should read the facts. She embraced the Muslim religion. She worked in Oman before marriage. She went into the marrage with her eyes wide open. She lived 12 years in a marriage and loved her husband. She was rasing her children properly. Her only fault was to think justice in the courts of Oman could be given to her and her children. As an American, she thought court rulings were the final say in such matters. Seems power and influence mean more. This was a women who went against family and married into a faith she believe strongly about. She just wants justice as a good Muslim mother. Is that too much to ask of the Omani government God have mercy on her and her children. Allah must be her protector in this matter

Anonymous said...

This lady must think people are stupid, there are more holes in her story than in a fishing net.

The facts are, as the mother of omanis she could easily be sponsored by her children in the event of her being divorced or widowed.

But then again she would have only have had to be married two years before getting an omani passport such is the authorities desire to make foreign wives feel right at home here.

And as for her getting into a car at the airport and being divorced there and then.......oh purlease!!!!!!

I suspect the american embassy took the passports back as they know full well they shouldn't have issued them in the first place, I can just imagine the guy on the desk hearing 'diplomatic incident' screaming at him eveywhere he turned.

And as the lady full well knows, she shouldn't have had them, yes they may have been entitled to them but the law in oman is very clear, YOU CANNOT HAVE TWO PASSPORTS, and if your are caught with two you have to make choices.

And how was she going to get the kids out of the country on them anyway, it wouldn't have taken the immigration officer at seeb very long to see they had no oman visas in them.

I think this lady and her family are going to have to take onboard that they can fool some of the people some of the time, but they can't fool all of the people for even some of the time either.

I don't know this lady but as the foreign wife of an omani who's been married for 30 years and has lived here for 29years, I can tell you that much has been left out of this story when told to the international press.

I think the family should be careful as to what they say, there anguish is understandable but there are people who are so generally peed off with the lopsided reporting of this saga, they feel it's becoming important to fill people in on what has been conveniently left unsaid or just plain distorted.

And know I don't know the husband but I do know american ladies who know this girl.....there are two sides to every story.

Suburban said...

There are plenty of sides to every story. As I said in my original post, what I had published was according to Khadija's family.

The courts will decide what's best, but whatever the circumstances of her sponsorship, she should be allowed to stay until the cast is brought to court.

A good mother will do anything for her children.

Anonymous said...

suburban, I think khadijas family shot her in the foot with their innacurate account of what they preceived to be the in and outs of this saga. Why else would khadijah now feel the need to contact websites that published her story and contradict her family, as well as have her story removed from some of websites. Or perhaps its not her thats had the story removed, perhaps website owners have now stood back and had another think about some of the absolute tosh written about this saga.

And I'll repeat, it is made easy for foreign mothers to gain Omani citizenship, they can apply two years after being married and do not have to complete the language test part of the interview that other applicants have to. After application you do not have to wait long.

And as for, "this is happening to Omani women all the time"....can i ask you what does?

I'd also like to point out that a Muslim male can marry any woman from a 'religion of the book'...ie, Islam, Christianity and Judaism and she does not have to convert to Islam. She is free to practice her own religion, however you can bet your last dollar that most of the Western foreign wives who have converted to Islam are American with baptist backgrounds. I think khadija has also said she converted to Islam way before she met her husband and way before she came to Oman, I think she said it was whilst at university.

You said, 'a good mother will do anything for her children'....I couldn't agree more but I'd also like to say, "there are also things a mother wouldn't do."

If you'd like any more accurate information regarding womens rights in Oman/divorce etc, I'd be more than happy to discuss it with you via the baord. I think its time fact was seperated from fiction regarding the legalites of issues highlighted by this case.

And as I said before, I really am interested to know just what hapens to Omani women all the time. You seem to imply you're an expert on the subject.......but are you? :)

Suburban said...

Hi Anon,

Thanks for taking the time to post such s full response here. I gather you are responding to both myself and JP in your most recent reply. I"ll address the issues that concern me, and email JP to see if he wants reply as well.

When I showed my first replies to my husband, he suggested that maybe I change the blog name to

www.suburbanhatescriticisim.com

Here goes.

1) I'd be delighted to publish a clarifiaction on the matter, or remove the post entirely. Please show me to the boards where this is clarified.

2) Let me quote the original post here, because I was more than fair in it. Obviously, I am not on the inside of the courts, and cannot vouch for what is what. My point is that the courts should have a chance to hear from her, and from her Ex-Husband and decide what is in the best interests of the children. To deport her before she is given a fair hearing is a grave miscarrage of justice. The following is Excerpted from the website linked below, and is according to Kahdijah's american family:

3) You are correct, and I was misteken regarding citisenship. It is easyish for foreign mothers to gain citisenship, though my understanding of it is that they may not retain thier original citisenship. Please correct me if I am mistaken. Were it me, I would keep my birth citisenship.

4) I know a woman doesn't need to convert. Interesting about the southern baptist thing, WHat's behind that? if I were going to be a christian southern baptist looks like fun.

5) I need all the fingers and toes on both hands and one foot to count the number of divorced Omani women I know who lost the custody of thier children upon divorce, or have custody on terms that restrict thier movements and possibilities for remarrage. THat's what happens "all the time"

THanks again for stopping by. Let me know where i can go to get the story set straight.

regards,

Suburban

Anonymous said...

JP here -

Anon, you sound from the above like you're a non-Omani wife married to a Muslim Omani. So, I guess you have both knowledge and [might I suggest] a bit of baggage on this topic.

Like Sub', I also know several divorced Omani women, all of whom I think are treated very very differently than they would be in more Western Countries. IE, they have either lost custody of the children [over 3 yrs of age] or have been threatened with having their kids taken if they leave the country or remarry [or even if they get caught with a boyfriend]. They also don't get ANY alimony (but do get child support). But maybe that's because alimony has to be in the original Sharia marriage contract?

I'm also intrigued by your comment "there are also things a mother wouldn't do"... Expand please!

I also was under the impression that Omani's could not hold 2 passports [eg Omani and US], but I don't know if a non-Omani wife who takes Omani citizenship has to renounce her existing citizenship or not. If you can, it would be nice to know.

And while I'm at it, Balqis: your comment "they're still Christians
Islam has nothing to do with this...". Hmmm. I did assume that all Omani marriages were under Sharia Law whether the wife is Christian or not. Last time I checked, Sharia is pretty much a Muslim thing. And as such Sharia assigns highly non-symmetrical rights to men and women, incl. marriage and divorce rights.

IMHO, such a religious basis for law often codifies strange legal anomolies as a result [eg. the different treatment of same-sex couples or polyamous marriages in much of Western Law].

Always eager to have a good discussion! Thanks Suburban and Anon. One thing Oman definitely needs is more frank and honest debate!

JP

Anonymous said...

whilst love the comments by people who do not even know him or her involved. Look at facts--a divorce happened?? Do you really know that or are they married but living apart? Why is her employer not freely giving her a NOC letter to stay in the country? If her labor case is in court, that means the ministry deemed it necessary to pursue a court batrtle base on injustice when her service was terminated. ALso it takes more than 2 years to become "an Omani" and get an Omani passport. And you also have to know, before printing the real procedures and regulations of obtaining a sponsorship on family or resident visa, what is really needed to get a child to sponsor you. Are these OMani or American children? If she has children, what does the Omani govt ask from her husband/not legally divorced status husband....will he allow it and does it require his consent?
Someone in other blogs stated she got a divorce when he was in the UK? Why did he leave the children and her in Oman while he was in the UK? Also after reading, her children were taken from her the day or day after arriving back into Oman with her father....if this is so why doesn't someone in authority question the good actions of the father and his family???before comments are made, lets look at other points of views and lets get some facts in. I think no one really knows what goes on between husband and wife and if you are believers --i think everyone should help to put this family back together rather than divide it more

Anas said...

I found this in OMani laws....

The 1996 Basic Law granted citizens certain civil liberties, banned discrimination, and clarified the process for royal succession. According to Article 17 of the Basic Law, "All citizens are equal before the Law, and they are equal in public rights and duties. There shall be no discrimination between them on the grounds of gender, origin, colour, language, religion, sect, domicile or social status."

The Basic Law, however, does not apply to or protect noncitizens from discrimination. Considering that foreign guest workers, many of whom are women, constitute over a quarter of Oman's population, many Omani residents are left without legal protections.
Although the Basic Law prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender, women may still undergo legal and social discrimination. Oman's Shari'a courts favor men in matters of personal status, and women are legally restricted from traveling abroad without the permission of a male relative.

According to Article 12 of the Basic Law, "Justice, equality, and equality of opportunity between Omanis are the pillars of society, guaranteed by the State." Both men and women are free to appear before the courts and gain access to legal defense; however, it was only recently that a royal decree established criminal rules of procedure for criminal cases before the court, providing rules of evidence, procedures for entering cases into the criminal system, and detailing provisions for a public trial.

Oman's penal code was established in 1974 by royal decree No. 7. While women are treated equally with men in most areas of the penal code, some articles are discriminatory against women due to their gender. For example, men receive reduced sentences based on a crime's circumstances as defined in Article 252, which stipulates that a man who surprises his wife or a female relative committing adultery (in flagrante delicto) and immediately kills or injures her and/or her partner may be exempted from liability or be liable to a reduced penalty in accordance with Article 109 of this law. Article 109 of the penal code specifies that the penalty for such a crime should be applied as follows: "if the action is a felony giving rise to the capital punishment or life imprisonment it shall be reduced to prison for at least one year." Furthermore, while Omani law prohibits rape, spousal rape is not considered to be a crime.

Protections against arbitrary arrest, detention, and exile are not defined in gender-related terms within the Basic Law but rather in terms of citizenship. Article 16 of the Basic Law forbids the state to deport or exile an Omani citizen or prevent them from returning to the country. While no human rights monitoring groups are able to operate in Oman, arbitrary arrests and detentions are believed to be rare for both men and women.

One major obstacle to the improvement of women's status in Oman is the fact that many women are not aware of their rights under the laws and are thus unable to exercise them effectively. The small number of women lawyers is also an obstacle to women's access to justice, and the government does not facilitate the employment of women law school graduates in legal aid jobs or social justice assistance positions in rural areas.

She is being deported based on her contract with Omantel not her problems with her husband. The husband and his family has many issues and have done many unthinkable actions which leave me, as an Omani, very ashamed. Starting with abducting their children the same day she returned with family members. The husband living with an Indonesian housemaid when married but both left the house and the children and wife was still at their house? Housemaid arrested and tried in court for assault, attempt on lives and starting a fire in the residence home and was convicted yet husband still insists to keep housemaid with him. Assaults on wife from husband and brother(s)?? Assault on her father. Assault on wife in OMantel on more than one time. Threatened life of wife...the list goes on and if you were present in court....you can see just how the story really starts and continues.

Anonymous said...

Gosh, I forgot all about this blog after last years summer holidays. I wonder what happened in the end?

JP, after 32 very happy years of married life in oman I do indeed have baggage - 5 children ranging
age from 17 to almost 30 and 2 beautiful grandchildren. You just would not believe the amount of luggage we take with us on holiday.

Suburban said...

Anon,

I don't know what ever hapened to her or the kids. Cyclone Gonu struck right around the time the court hearing was to take place, and needless to say, I then had problems closer to home to focus on. I hope whatever happened, that the kids are in safe hands.


I do know that the American Embassy has changed it's rules for cancelling a passport, I assume as a result of this. I remain amazed and angry that the American embassy allowed the (non Custodial) father to cancel the passports.

Anonymous said...

I just came across this after at least 2 years. The mother gained Supreme Court custody of her 3 children back in Jan or Feb 2007. The father then approached Judge Bader Alrahabi who total conflict of interest was Khadijah & Jamal's civil judge, implementation judge, islamic shariah judge etc...anyway he decided to overturn the supreme court decision and take the kdis away from this mother in June 2007. The father never claimed the kids so they remained with her. Then at end of Jan 2008, father got appeal decision to take kids and for him to be the custodial parent. Appeal judges (2 of which were on the original appeal court in 2005 who gave mother kids) all agreed for father to take kids. In 2007 father had relationship with cousin and took kids on weekend basis to cousin's house even though they were not engaged or married. Father married his cousin last weekend. Father had children taken away while they attended MPS school and court judge bader rahabi ordered mother to bring youngest 5 yr old boy to take out of hosp and give him to father in evening. I happened to be in the court and cousin is workingin the court to know all of this. She even had to bring more than 15 bags of clothes to the court and my cousin had to check each bag--basically father doesn't want kids or to pay for them so he made mother hand all kids belongsings to him through the court. SICK MAN. SICK court system. And YES american embassy TOTALLY messed up by cancelling those childrens' American passports based on a made up story by the non-American father from a Non-American employee (INDIAN) working at the embassy.

Anonymous said...

Hi Anaonomous, I would like to ask you or anyone, about similar issue.
There is an expat woman here, say ,having an X nationality. He has an expat husband from Y nationality, both are muslim and they have 2 kids age 7 years. The woman has no job yet, but probably will get the job/own visa after 3 months.Recently the husband divorce her, is there anyway that she get the custody of her kids? He may get job after the iddah time finish. When do you think she should go to the court to ask for custody? Is it possible to claim the custody after she got her own visa eventhough the iddah period already expired?