Middle Eastern abductions: our site, the reality

On the For the Lost web page is the excellent essay by Meaghan Good, The Middle Eastern Abduction Myth. It is still unfortunate that the myth that most parental abductors are Middle Eastern males persists. I was curious how this applied to our site specifically. What percentage of cases possibly involve the Middle East, and do the gender ratios seem unbalanced?

For this I looked at all 375 cases on the site. The only ones included in this sample were ones taken or possibly in the following countries: Egypt, Libya, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Qatar, Kuwait, Yemen, Oman, Jordan, United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain. While Iran is technically a Persian nation and not a Middle Eastern one it is considered as such by most of the population and thus it has been included. Turkey was excluded for being considered a European nation and both Afghanistan and Pakistan were excluded for being Asian nations. Twenty three cases met this criteria. Of those, seventeen involved fathers and six involved mothers. So while it appears that fathers are more common abductors amongst children taken to Middle Eastern countries, the total of children taken to them is a small amount compared to the whole picture.

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6 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Meaghan said,

    January 30, 2009 @ 1:17 pm

    I think part of the reason fathers are more common abductors is that single men are more likely to emigrate from that area than single women. I think most women who move from a Middle Eastern country to the US are married and go with their husbands. In some of those countries, women aren’t even allowed to travel alone or without permission from their husband or another male relative.

  2. 2

    Suraska said,

    October 7, 2014 @ 7:18 pm

    Gross misinformation. It is my mother, a United States Citizen, who was the “kidnapper” and she had taken my older brother from her psycho non-citiz ex lover in order to live with my father (her husband) in Turkey/Iraq. I list both, because my father is an Iraqi National and moved periodically between the two nations. Both extremely patriarchal nations would not hear of separating a small child from his mother. A man may prevent his children from leaving the country but that is the case in most western nations also. The mother is something to be prized and highly respected. They aren’t cast aside like worthless rubbish as is popular assumption in the western world. After all what she has done to bring the child in to this world cannot be accomplished by any man. Women are sheltered, restricted, chastened but the “Near/Middle East” also respects their importance in the domestic setting.

  3. 3

    suraskathequiet said,

    October 9, 2014 @ 8:03 pm

    It should be noted that if a father is denying a mother access 100% and she cannot visit her children at all he had better have a very good reason such as her sexual immorality or neglect of the children.
    He needs strong proof of this also. I only know of Saudi Arabia,Syria,and Yemen that have denied a mother solely on her ex husband’s allegations and the men paid bribes to achieve this result.
    Otherwise custody may be transferred to her(usually through a male relative but de facto to the mother) and if she is not remarried may receive a bit of Child Maintenance.

  4. 4

    Allah said,

    October 22, 2015 @ 1:32 am

    I agree that not all custody cases in Muslim countries are bad. After I managed to get out of my marriage, by getting my husband to allow me to return to the United States for my father’s funeral and staying in the United States to file for divorce,I was awarded a visitation agreement. My ex had to arrange and pay for me to fly over to see our children at least 3 times a year. He would be waiting with the children and their stuff at the airport when I arrived then after stopping by the US Embassy to turn in my passport(he wanted collateral that I wouldn’t attempt to flee with the children,because like any mother I had considered it)would take us to an apartment to spend the 2-3 week visitation at. The only catch was that if I wanted to take my children out then I had to let the nanny and body guard tag along,driving us around and basically tracking my every move with the children. On several occasions my ex would be out of town for his pro ath career and I could stay at his place with my kids. Again he was responsible to pay all expenses and I could move about freely with the children as long as the body guard and nanny weren’t too far away. And I did all of this as a woman of color. Had I chosen to remain permanently in that country after my divorce then the custody agreement was such that the children would live in my ex husband’s household, but I would get to see them every single day by taking them to and from school, appointments, staying with them at their daddy’s house in the evenings after school until bedtime, eating supper with them,and being there until it was time for the nanny to put them to bed. Again my ex would have had to pay for my accommodations in that arrangement also. You see,Muslim nations,place high responsibility on the father,expecting him to financially support and care for all of the child’s material needs. The mother’s sole purpose is to nurture. In most custody cases involving a Muslim father,he wants his children to see the mother,but feels very strongly responsible for the child’s education,soul,and environment,so takes the child back to his country to insure an ideal Muslim background.

  5. 5

    Never Marry A Foreigner! said,

    October 24, 2015 @ 12:35 am

    Yeah right! You must be lying.You,as a Black American woman placing you at a double disadvantage, supposedly divorced your White Muslim husband, while your children remained in an Islamic nation, and received all expenses paid access,even roaming around more or less freely with the children and your ex didn’t mind in the least,leaving town nonchalantly? Unheard of! There are plenty of White women who have had their children stolen away to the Middle East, never to return or be heard from again,but your ex husband supposedly not only allows you to see your children, pays for it,and even offers you to live in the country with the children at his expense? If something that bizarre and miraculous had truly occurred then it would have been front pagee news!

  6. 6

    Think Twice said,

    September 6, 2016 @ 12:11 am

    Few Americans know much if anything at all about Islam and Muslim culture and thus these situations are viewed as shocking tragedies when American mothers lose possession of their children born to Muslim Fathers. In reality if the American mothers would have bothered to do some research on Islamic culture BEFORE bringing a child into the world with a Muslim father, they would have been expecting to lose direction and possession of their children from day 1. Why? Because no one would ever condone taking a nursing infant from its’ mother&depriving it all important maternal interaction while the child is still very young, BUT when you wean that child&it is time for the child to begin their education, especially a son, the child then belongs to the father, until It reaches its’ majority, because it is the sole responsibility of the father insure that his child recieves a proper Islamic education and upbringing. In addition in many countries the father holds legal sole authority over the child even when it is very young and still in the possession of the mother, deciding the child’s residence and implementing constraints. The age at which as father is granted possession varies by country, but the median age is about 7 years old for a boy before the mother must surrender her child completely and can be, often is, slightly older if the child is a girl. With American mothers who are almost always unanimously awarded custody and possession, it becomes necessary to remove the child from the United States at first opportunity, because the American mother will refuse to surrender her child to the father for the child’s religious education and traditional upbringing, and as I said previously, Muslim fathers are held responsible for the education of their children and the direction of their lives, so drastic action is needed to accomplish this. In the United States this is called international child abduction, the father is automatically demonized, and the mother is a victim deserving of pity. On the other hand, the Islamic government of the Muslim father’s homeland believes that he is a hero for ‘rescuing’ his children from the dangerous clutches of morally corrupt unbelieving Americans and bringing them to their rightful true domecile in their country to grow up as good pious Muslims, therefore if ever the American mother manages to locate her child, it will never be returned to her possession, because the father has done nothing wrong and is living in accordance to Islamic Law with the child in his home under his sole authority. A decent non-vindictive man may permit his children to see their mother IF the mother does not challenge his custody and possession, meaning that she hasn’t gotten any bright and reckless ideas or plots to attempt to remove the children from the country without his permission, with the help of some hired mercenary vigilante professional kid snatchers. American women, when they have children with these men, never even fathom that there will come a day when she is usurped and placed in a powerless position, at the mercy of the very same man charming the socks off of her initially. If she knows the heartache she will most likely one day suffer and still decides to procreate with a Muslim man then more power to her, but she shouldn’t be looking for sympathy when it does happen. The main problem is mass ignorance and most American women have no idea of what kind of failure they are foolishly setting themselves up for though.

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