The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is a land that does not host many different cultures and religions. Amongst one of the very few is the people of Burmese that fled the persecution in Myanmar nearly half a century ago. Around a quarter of a million entered the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia after escaping the religious persecution and found shelter in the land of the Arabs. Since then they have lived and spent the past five decades in the Kingdom very happily and gratefully. The Burmese community, that fled from Myanmar has integrated and now holds its stronghold in the city of Mecca.[irp]
It has solidified its presence and now within the city of Mecca, they have become a cultural melting pot. After we tried to communicate and know a little about the people of this community, we came to know how grateful they are for being welcomed in the Kingdom. Since they have come here, they can only thank God repeatedly.
After interviewing a man named Ibrahim, there were only praises for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for their hospitality. He was grateful that they had learned the Arabic language and how he was amongst the integrated Burmese. He loves living in the Kingdom and being a part of it. He feels extremely lucky for being able to grow on this land and not in Myanmar. He also talked about his sister who is now married to a Saudi National and how soon, he’ll be married to someone from a Saudi family. For him, Saudis and the Kingdom have only been good to him and he feels utterly blessed. No matter how many times he thanks, God, it seems less to Ibrahim.
The leader of the Burmese community in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is, Abu Al-Shamaa Abdulmajeed Al-Arkani. He has been in the Kingdom from the time of the demised King Abdul Aziz. This dates to the year of 1368 according to the Hijri Calendar. There was only a handful of Burmese that was given the Saudi Citizenship, he said. The number was few, that they could be counted on the fingertips. Despite all of that, now things are beginning to change and the Kingdom recognizes the community better than before.
If all things go according to plan, soon Burmese community will be recognized as a separate community and will be given the freedom to not follow some of the laws and regulations. They will be under the protection of the Kingdom but will not have to abide by the Saudi residence laws. The Saudi projects should be applauded who try their best to integrate the community in the fields of healthcare, public education, and employment.[irp]
According to the leader, Changes to the Saudi Arabia’s residency laws have reduced work opportunities for the Burmese community. This change has occurred over the past three decades, but gradually now things have changed since the Saudi Authorities have stepped in and taken the community under its wing.
Source: Al Arabiya