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American woman in custody battle in Oman to be deported

American woman in custody battle in Oman to be deported

For two years, American-born Khadijah Heather Jones has fought a custody battle in Oman. Now, with the custody hearing in the Middle Eastern country less than a week away, she faces deportation before she can make her case.
She is worried she may never see her children again.
"It's just going to crush my heart and soul if the police take my kids away," Jones said in a phone interview.
The custody hearing is June 6. But when Jones was fired from her telecommunications job earlier this month, she was ordered to leave the country by June 4.
She has hired four lawyers and sought help from the State Department, the American Embassy in Oman and Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill. Still, she feels that as the American ex-wife of an Omani with ties to the nation's royal family, the deck is stacked against her.
"I feel like I'm living a real-life movie, a horrible movie," Jones said.
Jones grew up in the St. Louis suburb of Hazelwood, Missouri. She said she converted from Catholicism to Islam when she was 18.
She first met Omani-born Jamal Mohammed Al Balushi while teaching in Oman in early 1993, and they married that December, settling in Oman. Their children _ sons Zakaria, 12, and Yusef, 5, and daughter Amani, 9 _ were born in Oman and have lived their entire lives there.
Jones said her husband took the kids, their birth certificates and other documents, asked for a divorce and moved in with relatives.
It took Jones nearly three months, but a court eventually gave her custody. Fearing retribution, Jones said she and the children have spent the last two years moving from the home of one friend to another.
A spokesman for the State Department said there is little the U.S. government can do because Americans living overseas are subject to the laws of the land where they reside. Calls to the Omani Embassy were not returned.
McCaskill spokeswoman Maria Speiser said the senator sent a letter last week to the American Embassy in Muscat, "asking that they look very close in the case and do everything in their power to help the situation."
Jones and her four attorneys are trying to get her deportation hearing pushed back after the custody hearing.


Updated : 2021-10-21 15:15 GMT+08:00