My name is Heba Najeeb. I am 27 year-old Egyptian woman. I came with my parents to the homeland of Islam, Saudi Arabia. We established our life in Jeddah, in the Western Province of the kingdom. From there my days turned gloomy.
Since we came to Saudi Arabia, my father has adopted the extreme Whabbi interpretation of Islam. It was then that my mother’s life and my life became so miserable.
When my father felt that I might try to escape and go back to Egypt, he took my passport, depriving me of my right to leave. My struggle to survive became even harder after that.
I am followed and watched by my father around the clock. I am no longer his daughter, I am his prisoner. I have been fighting him hard but it is no use in a country that gives all the power to the men to control the women in the name of religion.
Every person has told me that I cannot leave Saudi Arabia without a male guardian’s permission and the visa document: that this is the Saudi law. But my guardian is my jailer, so how can I get permission from him? I keep saying to them that I am not even a Saudi woman, so why do I have to go by the Saudi law?
My mother is a passive type of woman; she accepted all the new rules that my father asked her to obey. She never showed any resistance or even hesitation -- which makes me wonder every day if my mother has any feelings any more.
I am stuck in this horrible country which destroyed the love I used to have for my father. I have been held in Saudi Arabia against my will for three years now. My father applied the Saudi male guardianship system to me and the Saudi authorities backed him up.
In 2008, through a friend, I was able contact the Egyptian Embassy and explain to them my situation. They provided me with a pass that I could use instead of the passport. They told me I could apply for a new passport when I got home. But they said they could not help me leave Saudi Arabia as long as I did not have the legal visa document that my father had confiscated.
I went to the Saudi human rights group; they sent me to the police. I filed a report against my father, but until today, the Saudi police have never even brought my father in for questioning.
I reached out for all the organizations to which I was able to get contacts, even Human Rights Watch, the United Nation office in Jeddah and many foreign embassies. None of them helped me.
I am still looking for a way out. I have not lost hope. But I am worn out. I grow sadder and sadder every day when I see that my youth and my life are going to be wasted in Saudi Arabia.
Please help me to leave. All I want in life is to go home. Is that too much to ask?