We recently interviewed Professor Margaret McClain a retired faculty member of Arkansas State University in Jonesboro, Arkansas. McClain told us her story of the loss of her daughter in an illegal abduction by her Saudi ex-husband in violation of state, federal and international laws against parental abduction. Professor McClain and other American women, a father and some children testified about the trauma of loss of American children kidnapped and removed to Saudi Arabia during a 2002 hearings before the US House Representatives Government Reform Committee chaired by former Indiana Republican Dan Burton.
One mother and a daughter from Miami, Florida, Mrs. Miriam Hernandez -Davis and her then 16 year old daughter Dria Hernandez Davis told the Congressional committee about the unusual circumstances of her abduction by her father and mother’s ex-husband. The family resorted to using their own resources to rescue Dria after the US government did little to assist in that effort. Professor McClain, who was part of that 2002 House Government Reform panel of hearing witnesses, contacted the daughter’s mother.
Through that contact we were able to interview a beautiful and poised young woman, who now goes by the name of Yasmeen Alexandria Davis. She is now in her late twenties, pursuing a graduate degree in social work while employed at a nonprofit agency in South Florida. She still suffers PTSD effects from the experience. The most troubling aspect is the continued harassment by her Saudi father, who employs US lawyers and ex-FBI agents, to check in with her and ask if she would testify against him in case he returned to the US or cause trouble if her Saudi father if he brought his children, by a subsequent marriage, to visit Disneyland. There is an outstanding warrant for his arrest if he were to step foot in the US. Among the areas of inquiry in our interview with Ms. Davis are:
- Her mother’s divorce and traditional custody/visitation rights when she divorced her Saudi ex-husband when Yasmeen was two years of age.
- Her Saudi father’s continued derogation of her background, religion and education.
- Her mother’s plea with the Florida family court judge to have her ex-Saudi husband surrender his passport during their summer visits to prevent him from taking her daughter into a country where she might never be able to return without his permission.
- Her trauma at age 11, after her Saudi Father abducted and removed her against her will to Saudi Arabia during a summer vacation, and refused to allow her to see or speak with her mother.
- Her protests of the new unwanted circumstances at her father’s residence in Saudi Arabia and her demands to be returned home.
- The physical abuse she suffered at the hands of her father for refusing to convert to Islam.
- The several years of deprivation in education while in Saudi Arabia.
- The social ostracism and isolation she experienced in her father’s household.
- The failure of the US Embassy to provide assistance to return her, an American citizen and minor, home.
- How her family had to resort to their own means to rescue her.
- How she suffered PTSD from the experience and still has lingering effects.
- What her experience was like testifying as a 16 year old before the House Government Reform Committee in 2002.
- How her Saudi father continues to keep tabs and harass her with calls and letters from US lawyers and visits from a former FBI agent he has retained.
- What changes she believes should be undertaken here in the US to protect American children from kidnapping by fundamentalist Muslim fathers.
Watch this Vimeo video interview of Ms. Yasmeen Alexandria Davis by NER Senior Editor Jerry Gordon
EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared on The New English Review.