Syrians in Saudi Arabia

Syrians in Saudi Arabia

It was like heaven: the annual vacation to Syria is a ritual that almost every Syrian family follows. The first deep breath I take each time I exit the airplane when we arrive on Syrian lands instantly charges my body with maximum happiness, energy and peace, but that peace was lost five years ago in what started as a peaceful attempt to seek a better life for our kids, a life of free choice with no fear.

That’s us. That’s what we wanted and still want. We, true Syrians, we want a peaceful change, but politics is a dirty game where enemies plant evil among us and there have been some to appear from the inside. Our nation has broken into small sects of people influenced by anger and racism that are led by only the Shaitan, I believe. It is a test for us to find peace and mercy alongside strength. Until such is accomplished, however, one asks: how has it been back home? The answer is that it has been a living hell!. Tanks have been destroying Mosques, jets planes have been dropping bombs over civilians, chemical weapons have been used against children! It’s not safe to take a deep breath anymore. How can you live in a place where it’s even hard to breathe?!

Syrians that live in The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) have started applying for visas for their friends and family members. In addition, for those who have no one in KSA to help with obtaining a visa, they could apply for Umra through an easy procedure without too many expensive fees. As a result, more than 2 million Syrian citizens, according to Saudi resources, were welcomed to the country during the crisis. As a Syrian, I was therefore shocked to hear from several resources that Saudi Arabia is refusing to accept Syrian refuges! That needed a lot of clarification and the aMuslima team encouraged me to clarify some points regarding the above matter.

The visas for applicants to Saudi Arabia could only be renewed a few times, each time granting the visitor a month’s time until it expires again. This has changed for Syrians and our visas can be renewed for unlimited periods of time and won’t expire. Moreover, whoever came to KSA on Umra can also stay for unlimited periods without being questioned or followed. Their kids can register for school and not miss out on getting an education.

Also, Syrians are allowed to work even without valid citizenship ID so they can provide for themselves and their families. Then of course, after 3 months of training – as most companies requires – that person can get all of the necessary legal papers for becoming a legal citizen.

As a Syrian I believe that the Saudi government isn’t treating my people as refugees and that is why there are no refugees here. They came as respectful Syrian citizens and obtained the chance to become effective members of this society after having lost everything back home. I believe this is much better than being in a refugees’ camp somewhere and being treated not much differently than a prisoner with no chance of building a future. I’m not judging of course, only Allah fully knows the circumstances of those who were forced to run for their lives, leaving everything they loved and without enough time to plan or think of better options.

Finally, many thanks to the Saudi government for making it easier for people who have lost everything to start their lives anew here in KSA, and many thanks to every Syrian here who’s helping his brothers and sisters in making the first steps toward a better future. It is not always easy, and never perfect, but Muslims stand together. This is what Islam is all about.

Taghreed AlBaroudi

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