Friday, January 19, 2007

Slaves in Saudi Arabia

Anyone who has visited Saudi Arabia knows the racism with which ordinary Saudis treats the brown and black-skinned masses that come for Hajj. Like hundreds of Bangladeshis every year, my parents endured these indignities during their recent pilgrimage. When he returned from Mecca, my father told me, "To them, we will always be miskeen (beggar). Doesn't matter what we do, or where we come from. They see our skin and don't need to see more." If this is how pilgrims are treated, imagine how much worse is the plight of the "Guest Worker." Yet, we Muslims remain silent on these abuses -- after all the Saudis are the keepers of Islam's holiest site, so they cannot possibly be racist!
How appropriate as well that HRW used the phrase "slavery" to describe conditions inside the desert kingdom. Saudi Arabia was in fact one of the last nation-states to abolish slavery. Along with Yemen, the Saudis only abolished slavery in 1962. Prior to that, the Islamic world's experience with slavery was extremely problematic.

To read more go to Slaves in Saudi by Naeem Mohaiemen


  1. Anonymous10:55 AM

    huh? and in that comment on the previous post, hikandhi heavily emphasized that arabs are holy and we should respect them regardless.

    well, i guess since the claim that the prophet was sent to them, the quran was in their language, and residents of paradise talk in their language, therefore those arabs would be .. you know ... kinda the "chosen people". they are born with a ticket to heaven eh. i guess all of them carry the noble blood of the prophet.

    don't we all wish you were an arab? all the oil in the world. all the money. and when we want a babe, just go to america and buy off a couple of blondes for the person harem.

    oh wel. dream on. pathetic non-arabs that we are. hehe.

    ... and God knows best.

  2. Anonymous1:06 PM

    arabs aren't "chosen ppl".. nor are the jews...

    everybody'z equal n slavery is not allowed in islam.

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