Qatari families keen to take care of orphans

January 23, 2013 - 2:43:08 am

DOHA: There is a long waiting list of Qatari families keen to provide guardianship to orphans in accordance with Islamic laws, says the head of the state-run organisation devoted to the care of parentless children. Adoption, as it is defined in the West, is not allowed in Islam.

Qatar hopes to have a new law in place soon for the care and protection of orphans, particularly those of unknown parentage, said Khalid Kamal, director of Dhreima (Qatar Orphans’ Foundation).

The Foundation, he said, was a temporary shelter for orphans, and the only way they could become a part of the social mainstream was if families became their guardians as per 

Islamic laws.

Islam allows adoption of orphans, but only for the purpose of raising them and providing them education and social security. They cannot be given the name of the family that adopts them because of the issue of inheritance.

Dhreima, Kamal said, was coordinating with the judiciary so that adopting families could give suitable first names to children left in its custody for upbringing.

Speaking on the sidelines of a workshop on “Media and social stigma attached with orphans and children of unknown parentage” here yesterday, Kamal said the government provided full support for the protection of children of unknown parentage.

“The role of Dhreima is to establish legal grounds for the guardianship of children of unknown parentage and to create awareness in society about the issue,” Kamal said.

“There are many Qatari families in the waiting list who wish to adopt children from the foundation,” he added.  

He said the media could play a major role in influencing public opinion, and through the media Dhreima wished to end negative stereotypes about orphans.

Dr Khalifa Al Mohrezi, a specialist in family training and human resource development, said that as compared to Western communities, Arabs had a negative image of children of unknown parentage. 

“According to the statistics available, we have about 44 million children in the Arab world who are orphans,” Dr Al Mohrezi said, adding that these children felt inferior as society refused to accept them.

Qatari laws allow for orphans to acquire the nationality of Qatar, Ali Ahmed Al Khinji, a legal expert, told this newspaper. 

However, he said, because Islam did not allow adoption as in the West, regulations were needed on giving the family name to adopted children, irrespective of their parentage. “Adoption is not allowed in Islam. You can adopt a child to raise him, but giving him your name is not allowed. This is where the law needs regulation,” Al Khinji said. 

Islam promises the highest rewards to those who support orphans. THE PENINSULA