Father keeps daughter in Saudi Arabia against her will...
Visiting Mecca can be dangerous....
Nazia Quazi has a Canadian passport and an Indian passport. But for the past three years she's been stuck in Saudi Arabia with neither piece of identification. Her passports and other travel documents have been confiscated by a most unlikely authority: Her father.
He refuses to give them back and even if he did, the 24-year-old woman would still be at his mercy in her bid to leave the Muslim country which has a law that says it is the father who is responsible for the actions of unmarried daughters.
Quazi's story begins in Ottawa, where she and her mother and brothers were living while she studied computer science at the University of Ottawa. It was here that she met her boyfriend, Bjorn Singhal, who was studying to become a pilot, and here that her conservative parents first expressed their disapproval when the relationship became serious.
In 2001, Quazi, her mother Shaheen Unnisa, and her two brothers left Riyadh, Saudi Arabia to emigrate to Canada in pursuit of Western educations for her and her siblings.
Her father's immigration forms, she says, were not in order so he never became a Canadian citizen and continues to work in Saudi Arabia.
The family is originally from India, but her father has worked in Riyadh for 25 years.
Quazi returned to Riyadh three years ago after a trip to India. Her father, Quazi Malik Abdul Gaffar, had convinced her to visit him for the Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca known as Umrah. "He decided I was supposed to come to Saudi for Umrah, and be here for a week, and then go back."
She's been trying to get out of the country ever since.
"Once I got here, my dad took all of the documentation. Now I require his permission to leave the country and he's not ready to give it," she said.