Destitute family forced to sleep in Haram courtyard
A 60-year-old Saudi and his children sit in the courtyards surrounding the
Grand Mosque in Makkah on Monday. (AN photo)
By BADEA ABU AL-NAJA | ARAB NEWS
Published: Apr 26, 2010 23:52 Updated: Apr 26, 2010 23:52
MAKKAH: A homeless Saudi family of five, which includes four young children,
has been forced to sleep rough in the courtyards surrounding the Grand Mosque
since they cannot afford to rent an apartment.
Single parent Saad Al-Harithy, 60, is calling on philanthropists to help him
afford a home and find a job to bring up his children in a dignified and secure
Al-Harithy lost his job as a guard at a girls' school in Riyadh after he
divorced his wife; the presence of a wife is mandatory in order to work as a
security guard at girls' school.
Having lost his job, Al-Harithy came to Makkah three months ago. With no money,
the 60-year-old has been forced, along with his children who include a
13-year-old girl, to live rough in the courtyards surrounding the Grand Mosque.
Al-Harithy has a wheelchair that he uses to push elderly and weak pilgrims for
small sums of cash.
However, since he has no license this line of work is illegal and Al-Harithy
risks arrest or in the least having his wheelchair confiscated.
He is also concerned about the safety of his children when he is busy inside
the Grand Mosque. He fears his daughter might be sexually-assaulted and that
his sons might be lured toward a life of crime with there being no one to look
after them while he is trying to scrape an earning.
Dr. Rajab Berasali, psychiatry consultant at the Hira General Hospital in
Makkah, said there is a need to help people like Al-Harithy and that children
who are homeless are likely to develop grudges against society and risk
Berasali added that such children also risk being sexually exploited.
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