(MENAFN - Arab News) Saudi women have voiced reservations against recruiting domestic helpers from Morocco as suggested by the chairman of the Saudi recruitment committee.
This is due to an old belief that Moroccan women use black magic to lure men to marry them. Some Saudi women urged the Shoura Council to intervene, while others threatened to quit their jobs to look after their homes if housemaids from the country were brought in.
Najla, a 32-year-old teacher at a private school, said she felt threatened by the news, pointing out that Moroccan women are known for being pliant and willing to adjust to varying situations, and this posed a threat to a working wife who is not at home most of the day.
Raja is a housewife who hopes the move falls through. She said Moroccan women are known for their black magic and could use it in Saudi homes. "It is better to be safe than sorry," Raja said.
"It all depends on the upbringing of the man," said Nuha, a physician and mother of three young children. She expressed support for the initiative to bring in Moroccan workers and pointed out that any threat can come from workers of any nationality and not only one.
Sawsan, a 40-year-old housewife, sees no harm in the initiative as she believes Saudi women should have confidence in themselves. "If a woman knows how to keep her husband satisfied, nothing can threaten her home."
Sameer, a divorced businessman, believes that "black magic" is the key phrase frightening people. "However, other nationalities, as we have experienced in the Kingdom, use black magic to control families."
"I am against having a live-in domestic helper in general," said Majed, a single lawyer, adding that having a stranger live in anyone's home is not healthy and can cause many problems, especially in marriages. "It is like bringing in an alien seed and planting it in your garden. No one can predict the outcome."
Umm Fahad, a 27-year-old mother of three, has worked with a Moroccan maid for seven years, and she thought it was the best experience.
"She was so clean, quiet and kind, and since she left I have been suffering with workers of other nationalities," she said, adding that at least the maid spoke the same language and understood Saudi traditions.
On the other hand, PR manager Abdullah saw no harm in recruiting from Morocco provided that a minimum age for workers is set and that watchdogs control visa allocations closely to prevent any foul play.
Moneera, a single journalist, saw no point to the fuss surrounding this issue. "Many families have recruited Moroccan domestic workers for many years now and there might have been minor complaints about them, like any other nationality."
"It is a ridiculous fear that is without base," said marriage counselor and psychoanalyst Hany Al-Ghamdi, pointing out that if a man has no respect for his family, nothing will stop him from having an affair and that any concerns about nationality are invalid. It is a misconception, Al-Ghamdi points out, to stereotype in this way based on nationality.
"If there is to be a reasonable analysis, we should ask why Moroccan women know how to attract and keep their men," said Al-Ghamdi, suggesting that Saudi women who feel threatened should take a closer look at themselves.
"There is no black magic in a relationship between a man and woman. But there is the magic of love, caring and tolerance," said Al-Ghamdi, adding that some women do not know how to understand their men and show tolerance toward them.
Tolerance, according to Al-Ghamdi, means being able to overcome problems and disputes and show love and femininity.
Moroccan women, in his opinion, are feminine by default. "They feel and express their femininity and surrender to their husbands, which is in their nature, while other women might look at it as degrading," said Al-Ghamdi, adding that marriages involving Moroccan women in the Kingdom are not a trend that could threaten Saudi women.
Teaching love, Al-Ghamdi believes, is one way to reduce Saudi women's fear of being threatened by other women.
"Aisha, the wife of Prophet (peace be upon him), was the first to open a 'school for women.' She was teaching women about even the most intimate details of their lives with their husbands.
We need more of this teaching, instead of the rigid curriculum we are teaching girls in schools," said Al-Ghamdi, stressing that even Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said "there is no alternative for love but to marry."
In his opinion this is a clear sign that there is love before marriage or at least strong admiration and desire, on which homes should be built to dispel any such threats.