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Featured New Release


Sa‘udi Policies towards Migrants and Refuge

A Sacred Duty

Joseph A. Kéchichian is the author of Faysal: Saudi Arabia’s King for All Seasons (2008), Succession in Saudi Arabia (2001), Legal and Political Reforms in Saudi Arabia (2013), and ’Iffat al Thunayan: An Arabian Queen (2015).

Fahad Alsharif is the author of comparative case studies of migrant communities in Jeddah (2017 and 2018), and Empowering Women: Educational Programs and Reforms in the New Diversified Saudi Arabian Economy (2019).


Published in conjunction with the King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies (KFCRIS).



A Sacred Duty sets out the Kingdom’s policy toward the global issue of migrants and refugees, with special emphasis directed toward Muslim societies. Discussion focuses on refugee communities currently living in Sa‘udi Arabia, some of which migrated due to war, forced displacement, environmental catastrophe, and economic hardship. Some migrants have come from bordering countries such as Iraq and Yemen; others reached the Arabian Peninsula from Africa and Asia. All have been welcomed and cared for, though settlement conditions, repatriation and deportation circumstances were not always ideal.

Inevitably, and mirroring experience elsewhere in the world, there are undeniable gulfs between policies and practices. Policy shortcomings are measured against the substantive assistance planks that Riyadh espouses, including providing financial aid to refugees in third countries, over and above United Nations’ appeals. These acts are done without prejudice and mostly without publicity. Aid to the needy is justified by religious obligations, as well as on humanitarian grounds.

Sa‘udi Arabia’s aid contributions have generally been either overlooked or dismissed, and the religious foundations of their commitment to displaced populations has been negatively contrasted against human-rights based commitments espoused by Western states and institutions. Sa‘udi Policies towards Migrants and Refugees addresses these concerns, filling a key gap in the literature on a vital policy topic. The book refutes notions that the country discourages open research on sensitive topics and further dispels the prejudiced idea of a society closed to any kind of external influence. Sa‘udi Arabia’s granting of hospitality to refugees reinforces historic, tribal and universal norms in contrast to misplaced notions of hostility toward Western standards, which in the case of migrants and refugees has seen the application of confused and alarming standards of behavior by a plethora of Western states.


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