7.30pm Thursday 2 June. Live from Glasgow: Organised by the Scottish Secular Society. Abuse, Fear & Manipulation: Saudi Arabia’s hold inside the UK with Haifa Alshamrani.
Haifa is a Saudi national, atheist, and former medical student at the University of Glasgow. Along with her husband, Amri, Haifa refused to break the law by laundering Saudi government money into the UK for the purposes of converting a church into a mosque. The consequences for Haifa, who is an atheist, and her family have been severe. Their Saudi bank accounts frozen, their savings withheld, her government sponsored scholarship and monthly stipend revoked, strangers visiting their UK home to bully them into compliance, and her forced removal from the university (for lack of funds).
Now as asylum seekers, they face a new gambit of challenges and set backs. Unable to legally work under asylum restrictions, they face losing their home, their children removed from school, and being shipped off to a detention centre for an undisclosed length of time while they wait for the Home Office to acknowledge them.
Haifa’s story is sadly not unique. The international manipulation and bullying tactics used by the Saudi government on Haifa and her family are efforts that are far too common with Saudi nationals overseas.