Anyone that has followed my writing knows a lot about me personally. I tend not to shy away from sharing things about my family, my up bringing, my challenges, and my thoughts on society. As much as it is a pleasure to share these stories with my readers, I am also in a position of responsibility to discuss matters in society that go against the values that I hold dear to me, my readers, and the people I love.

During yesterdays Federal National Council meeting an FNC member said a law should be amended to prevent Non-Emirati mothers from being granted custody of their child in the case of divorce. He further argued that Emirati men marrying foreign women is bringing about many consequences in society, a major one being disappearing culture, and how a law like this was necessary to ‘protect national identity’.

He also went on to say that Non-Emirati women want to marry Emirati men to benefit from the services that our government provides. Those benefits would further increase when she has children, which would give her more incentive to keep custody of the children in the case of a divorce. As you all know I am a proud Emirati, my love for the country, it’s leaders, and it’s people are absolute, just as the love of my family is absolute.

I was lucky enough to be raised by an Emirati father and a Scottish mother. I was also lucky enough to never have to see any of these laws come in to action during my childhood as we grew up in a stable, loving, household. I try to avoid writing an opinion piece when I’m emotional, but given the messages I have been receiving to publish a thought I wanted to get this out, so you are getting all heart here, which I guess is fitting when I’m writing about my mother.

When I read the article on the FNC member’s thoughts on Non-Emirati women and mothers it’s hard for me to imagine what might have happened should my mother and father have split when my brothers and I were younger. A process like that is already hard enough without society judging who should and shouldn’t raise us based on culture and national identity, rather than love and affection.

Say we do amend the law, and Non-Emirati mothers have no right to gain custody of their kids, and they end up staying with their father in the UAE. I guess we will all be able to cheer that we have protected our national identity at what seems like a little cost of having a child grow up without the warmth of a mother’s embrace. Is that the image that we want to give little Emirati boys and girls who have foreign mothers? That their mothers don’t count; that their mothers have less of a voice, that their mothers are not protected under law. Their mothers deserve better.

Another thing I didn’t quite understand is the inherent assumption the FNC member made that foreign women only wanted to marry Emirati men for the services and privileges that come along with it. Seriously? Is it really that crazy to think that she might love him and want to spend the rest of her life with him? Why is that so hard to believe? And I state again, if this is what FNC members are saying about foreign mothers, what does that say to young Emirati girls and boys whose mothers are not from the UAE? She only married my dad for the money? Again, their mothers deserve better.

To go into this matter further from a technical point of view, what if the Emirati husband wants a divorce at absolutely no fault of the foreign wife. Why should she pay the price of never not having her children beside her? A non-Emirati mother is still a mother, she loves and cries just like any other mother would. The problem here is that they are over emphasizing Non-Emirati so much that they forget that when all is said and done she is still a loving mother that wants to care and nurture her kids.

I grew up in the UAE and I was blessed to have a wonderful childhood. My brothers and I were happy being raised by mixed parents, we were loved, and knew no different. More importantly we never lived in fear that we would not be able to stay with our mother if things went wrong, and that is a fear no child, or mother, should ever have to live with.

Today I am married to a young Emirati lady I am in love with; we have two beautiful young boys Khalifa and Abdullah. My mother, their grandmother, visits us all regularly, I want my kids to know all parts of their culture and where we all came from. And like us all I want them to grow up to be contributing members of society because that’s what counts, that they are making this country a better place. That they are giving back to a country that puts family and love before culture, because what’s the point of protecting a national identity where mothers can’t be part of it when times get tough.