Affairs News orphans in Saudi Arabia: Are they the lost generation?
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Orphans in Saudi Arabia: Are they the lost generation?
The following commentary first appeared in the Saudi-based Arabic daily Okaz. It was translated into English and published by Arab News on November 25.
Recently a prominent Arabic daily published a series of articles on children in orphanages. These are children who are usually the result of extramarital relations. They have been abandoned by heartless parents who left them in mosques or beside trash containers instead of showing courage and bearing the responsibility for their acts.
According to a woman supervisor in one of the orphanages, a majority of the children are dark-skinned which gives a hint of the social and economic background which produced them.
The children, however, are innocent and cannot be blamed for the circumstances in which they find themselves. Indeed, they were lucky to be found by someone who turned them over to the authorities; left on the street by callous parents, they could easily have been attacked by dogs or cats or have died of exposure.
I was sad to read that families seeking to sponsor these children normally ask for a boy or girl with fair skin rather than a dark one.
Since most of the children in the orphanages are dark-skinned, they generally end up staying in the orphanages for their childhood and much of their youth.
The boys stand some chance of venturing into normal life; some go to military schools and others are able to make a place for themselves in society.
The real tragedy lies with the girls whose futures are bleak indeed. The lucky ones will marry and leave the orphanage for a new life with their husbands.
The unlucky ones have no choice but to remain in the orphanage indefinitely - perhaps until God mercifully shows them a way out or, in the worst cases, until they die.
While respecting families' choices as to who they should sponsor, the condition of colour contradicts the spirit of Islam. Doing so may undermine the good work the families are trying to do by raising the despicable spectre of racial superiority.
Where is the mercy, compassion and social justice that Islam preaches? These children have committed no crime and should not be rejected because of their colour.
Social institutions are doing a great service in sheltering and nurturing these children. What we need is for people to accept these children, regardless of sex or colour.
The ultimate objective should be to do good and seek rewards from God. Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) says all Muslims are equal and the best are those who are most pious.
Full credit for this news article goes to: Gulf News, United Arab Emirates
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