One of many.
by Jerry Gordon (March 2014)
One of horrors that have confronted American women who naïvely marry Saudi men is the possible risk of having children of those marriages kidnapped following divorce in accordance with Sharia and removed to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. There are estimated to be in excess of 1,000 such cases. A few have been featured in investigative reports on CBS 60 Minutes and Fox News’ The O’Reilly Factor. Frequently American wives of Saudis and other fundamentalist Muslims are physically abused and maltreated under Sharia. We saw that in our interview with American feminist Phyllis Chesler about her experience following a marriage to an Afghan Muslim husband educated in the West upon her arrival at the family compound in Kabul. See The New English Review Flight from an Afghan Seraglio and An American Feminist Fighting Sharia: an Interview with Dr. Phyllis Chesler (January 2014).
In the current debates in state legislatures over consideration of American Laws for American Courts, legislators often ask, “is this legislation really needed to address foreign laws and doctrines” that intrude on the fundamental Constitution Rights of American citizens? Often cited are cases that have recognized Sharia doctrine in state appellate and lower courts. Illustrative of the compelling need for such protections are the numerous incidents involving spousal abuse of American wives and kidnapping of children in divorce cases, where under Shariah, the Muslim ex-husbands can exercise rights to remove their children even though doing so may violate US criminal laws.
Last September during a presentation I gave before an ACT! For America chapter in Jonesboro, Arkansas, I encountered Professor Margaret McClain, then on the faculty of Arkansas State University (ASU). She has since retired after 30 years at ASU. In the late 1980’s Professor McClain was a faculty member teaching English as a Second Language in a special program for Saudi Students entering ASU. She had been recently widowed and met a Saudi graduate student, a Computer Science major at a university event. Thus began what eventuated in an exploitative marriage that produced a child, Heidi. McClain suffered frequent physical and psychological abuse during the marriage at the hands of her Saudi husband for her refusal to be compliant. That led to a divorce and custody of Heidi granted to Professor McClain under Arkansas law. Upon Professor McClain’s subsequent marriage to an American following the divorce, her Saudi ex-husband conspired with a more compliant American convert to Islam to kidnap and remove Heidi, then five years old, to Saudi Arabia.
Professor McClain was one of several American wives with Saudi ex-husbands who abducted and removed children to Saudi Arabia in violation of state, federal and international parental kidnapping laws. These women testified about these cases before Congrees during the 107th Session. The US State Department had set up the Office of Child Issues to deal with complaints and conduct investigations of such abuses. Media stories sparked by 9/11 led the US. House of Repesentatives Government Reform Committee, then chaired by former Indiana Republican Dan Burton, to hold five days of hearings from June to December 2002. The Committee published a final report, Investigation into Abductions of American Children to Saudi Arabia. In one instance, the Committee heard from a 16 year old daughter of a Florida woman, Dria Hernandez-Davis, about her experience of living under difficult circumstances and her remarkable escape and rescue. A rescue privately financed with $200,000 in bribes provided by her grandmother who refinanced her home to obtain the necessary funds. The US State Department Office of Child Issues and the US Embassy legation in Riyadh appeared to have offered little assistance to rescue these children.
Professor McClain consented to tell her story about the kidnapping of her American daughter, Heidi, by her Saudi ex-husband to alert other Americans as to the dangers of Shariah law sanctioning spousal abuse and criminal violations of US laws against kidnapping. Heidi is now 21 years old. Professor McClain last visited her six years ago under intense restrictions in Saudi Arabia. Only her older daughter Roxanne by a prior marriage has had periodic contact with Heidi in Saudi Arabia.
Watch the video or read the interview transcript at New English Review. Excerpt below:
McClain: Al-Omary told me on our wedding day, to my great shock and horror, that since I was now his wife, I would have to cover my head with a veil. Not wishing to argue, I think I countered with some excuse that I would not be seen teaching in front of a class wearing a veil. I believe I also mentioned that I could be fired for covering up. Al-Omary was a freeloader and I was his sole source of support while he was a student. He knew if I lost my job, he might actually have to go to work. Many of his attempts to control me were subtle or psychological torture. The idea was to beat me down and try to make me submissive to him. For example, one day he came home without his car; he announced that he had sold it because he needed the money. Soon, he started chauffeuring me around – to school, shopping, etc. It seemed that he gradually spent more and more time away from home (mostly with his buddies at the mosque), and I was left without a car. One weekend, the temperature was in the 90s and he took off to the mosque in Memphis, leaving Heidi and me without transportation. I had to get something from the store, probably diapers or formula, so I walked the three blocks, carrying Heidi in my arms. When I returned home, I found that I had locked myself out and I just sat down on the front step and cried. I pulled myself together, left Al-Omary a note, and ordered a taxi to take us to a motel. Hours later Al-Omary showed up at the motel. I was so upset that I sent him home because I wanted to spend the night away from him. He just laughed because he was a sadist and enjoyed seeing others’ pain. From that point on, I took back control of my car keys and my car, reminding him that he was endangering his daughter’s life by his selfish behavior.
Gordon: What precipitated your divorce from Mr. Omary?
McClain: When Al-Omary gradually realized that I was not going to be as easy to convert as he had thought, he gradually became more and more abusive. His religious activities increased, and he was elected Assistant Director of the Jonesboro Islamic Center. He brought home loads of terrorist literature, which he expected me to read. When I questioned some of the ridiculous statements in the brochures, he yelled and even slapped me. I had broken bones on several occasions, and when I became pregnant again, I suffered a miscarriage due to a beating. Heidi was one year old at this time. That was almost the last straw. The last straw occurred when I was backing out of my driveway to take Heidi to her day care center. Al-Omary was running all around my car, kicking at the windows to make me stop. He was a karate expert, six foot three, and about 240 pounds. When he went to the back window and started kicking inches from Heidi’s face where she was sitting in her car seat, I had to stop the car to save my child’s life. I was envisioning glass shards all over her; it was clear to me that he could have killed or blinded her. Al-Omary was livid because I had removed Heidi from the care of a Muslim woman, whom I found sleeping while my daughter was climbing the stairs. She had left her eight-year-old in charge of all the babies. My only concern was to protect my daughter.
At another point, my uneasiness about Al-Omary’s stated desire to keep his green card and work in the US had increased. I realized that he had lied under oath to an immigration official to obtain his green card, thus committing immigration fraud. I began to feel like an accomplice, like I was used – to help him obtain immigration, to be the breadwinner…
It’s very reminiscent of this 2013 post, Interview with female victim of love jihad in America (audio).
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