The Islamic Brew of Racism, Apartheid, and Slavery

While the world is in a dither about America recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital, it is, predictably, totally unconcerned about the constant and ongoing practice of "legally or culturally enforced discrimination and/or persecution based on a person's race or national identity" – to wit, apartheid – in the Muslim world.  Consider that:

  • Arab League states discriminate against and exclude Palestinians because of their national identity.
  • Palestinian refugees have been denied citizenship for two generations or more in Syria, Egypt, Lebanon, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Iraq.
  • Palestinians have been expelled from many Middle Eastern countries – e.g., Kuwait, Jordan, Libya, and Iraq.
  • In Lebanon, Palestinians must live in designated areas, cannot own homes, and are barred from 70 occupations.

And yet, every year, universities across America host Israel Apartheid Week despite the fact that "Israel actually is the only apartheid-free state in the Middle East – a state whose Arab population enjoys full equality before the law and more prerogatives than most ethnic minorities in the free world, from the designation of Arabic as an official language to the recognition of non-Jewish religious holidays as legal days of rest."

Contrast this with the fact that Muslim religiously based apartheid continues, since "Muslims historically view themselves as superior to all others and consider non-Muslims or kuffars as dhimmis."  Thus, Christians, Jews, and Bahá'í remain second-class citizens throughout the Muslim world.  Racism is rampant in the Arab world, and "Africans of sub-Saharan descent are held in deep contempt, a vestige of the region's historical role as epicenter of the international slave trade."

And while Palestinian refugees are championed by the Arab world, they are treated like outcasts.  Khaled Abu Toameh writes, "[I]t was revealed that the Iraqi government has approved a new law that effectively abolishes the rights given to Palestinians living there. The new law changes the status of Palestinians from nationals to foreigners."  In sum, "[t]he hypocrisy of the Arab countries is in full swing.  While they pretend to show solidarity with their Palestinian brothers, Arab governments work tirelessly to ethnically cleanse them.  Palestinian leaders, meanwhile[,] care nothing about the plight of their own people in Arab countries.  They are much too busy inciting Palestinians against Israel and Trump[.]"

Aside from the ongoing discrimination, gender apartheid is widespread in the Arab world.  Rape is blamed on women.  Rapists can escape legal punishment by marrying their victims, and women's court testimony is worth less than men's.  Moreover, women can be forced into arranged marriages.  Honor killings continue throughout the globe.  In Pakistan, an "estimated 1,000 cases a year occur.  Honor killings happen when family members murder a daughter, sister, mother[,] or wife because they believe she has brought shame to the family.  The reasons range from refusing an arranged marriage to owning a cell phone or even being a victim of rape."

"'It's all just related to the idea that women are property, and you can do what you like with your property,' says Heather Barr, senior researcher for women's rights at Human Rights Watch[.]"  Moreover, "support for honor killing is far more likely among adolescent boys who have not spent much time in school.  And in a 2009 survey from the United Nations Population Fund, ... 68 percent of young Iraqi men believed that killing a girl for dishonoring the family was justifiable."  These are the very ideas now coming into Europe, where vetting of so-called refugees is basically nonexistent.

Notwithstanding that a recent decree in Saudi Arabia "permits women to drive for the first time in the country's history, local authorities consistently refuse to issue women with a driving license, resulting in a de facto ban."  And "although guardianship is not enshrined in written law, government officials, courts, businesses[,] and individual Saudis generally act in accordance with it, meaning that, in practice, women need their guardian's consent for any major activity, including traveling, obtaining a passport, getting married or divorced[,] and signing contracts." 

In Saudi Arabia, "public transportation, parks, beaches[,] and amusement parks are also segregated in most parts of the country.  Unlawful mixing will lead to criminal charges being brought against both parties, but women typically face harsher punishment."  Women cannot compete freely in sports or use public swimming pools available to men.

In Yemen, Iran, Mauritania, Nigeria, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Somalia, Sudan, and the United Arab Emirates, gay Muslim men can be stoned to death.  Why?  Sharia law dictates this. 

Religious apartheid is alive and well in the Muslim world.  Nonie Darwish in Wholly Different: Why I Chose Biblical Values Over Islamic Values writes how the "Bible revolutionized her life when she read about the joy of loving people.  Unlike the Koran, the Bible describes what love looks like[.]"  On the other hand, the "Koran has plenty of verses about those whom Allah does not love – especially the kafirs."  In fact, "even the love of Muslims for their prophet Muhammad is conditional upon hating Jews."  In addition, "neither Allah nor Muhammad tells Muslims to love people of other religions."  "Islam teaches Muslims to despise life on Earth and shames those who want to flee from jihad for the sake of Allah in order to live."

The difference between the Bible and Islam is clear, particularly when it comes to violence.  With "164 verses in the Koran dealing strictly with jihad and violence against non-Muslims, how can Islamic education teach peace" when Muslims find at least one verse per page teaching animosity, hatred, or violence?  Is it any wonder that a Palestinian Muslim intifada flag portrayed the following?  "It's Saturday, so Massacre the Jews; on Sunday, Massacre the Christians."

And then there is the issue of slavery.  According to the Clarion Project:

Slavery ... ended [only] comparatively recently in the Arab world.  In Saudi Arabia, it was abolished in 1962.  Yet despite the formal abolition of slavery in the kingdom, the attitudes of superiority persist and are used to justify appalling treatment of overseas guest workers from countries such as the Philippines.

In Yemen, most slaves were freed in the 1960s, but researchers confirmed cases of slavery as recently as 2010.  [Al Jazeera] covered slavery in Yemen in a documentary feature exposing the brutal realities of the continued practice.

Mauritania was the last country in the world to abolish slavery, which it did only in 1981.  Slavery, however, still exists in Mauritania, where an estimated 10 to 20 percent of the population still live in slavery.  In 2007[,] the government passed a law saying that slave owners would be prosecuted.  But in 2014, the Global Slavery Index estimated there are 140,000 slaves still in Mauritania, out of a population of 3.8 million.

In his searing account of ten years as a slave, Francis Bok in his 1986 book Escape from Slavery exposes the horrifying raid on his Sudanese village when Arab raiders annihilated members of  his Dinka tribe.  He writes how northern Sudanese Muslims would swoop down and shoot Dinka men, "slashing with their swords, chopping off heads with a single swipe."  Seven-year-old Bok was kidnapped and brought to an Arab family, where the children chanted abeed, abeed, (a derogatory term in Arabic meaning "slave"), all the while beating him with sticks.  "Never in [his] life had he been surrounded by people who did not care if someone was hurting [him]."  Finally, after two failed attempts to escape, Bok, age 17, fled his Arab captors.  It was not until 1999 that he finally was a completely free man.

In a 2017 report titled "Trafficking Terror: How Modern Slavery and Sexual Violence Fund Terrorism," Nikita Malik examines "how terrorists use sexual violence, including rape, sexual slavery, and forced marriage, to bolster recruits[;] galvanize fighters[;] and, in the case of Islamist groups, punish kuffars or disbelievers."  Furthermore, "there is a fixation on the part of Islamic State fighters with the concept of kuffar ... so that barbaric acts can be condoned."  In addition, "religious elements are infused into sexual violence practices to skirt ... the moral wrongdoing of rape."  Since "national laws on sexual violence within countries where extremist groups are present [–] i.e., Syria, Iraq, Libya and Nigeria [–] allow rapists to marry their victims to avoid prosecution and punishment[,]" it is the survivors who carry the burden of shame and stigma, rather than their perpetrators.

Robert Spencer writes that "in the past, as today, most slaves in Islam were non-Muslims who had been captured during jihad warfare."  In "The Persistence of Islamic Slavery," Spencer writes that "while the European and American slave trade get stern treatment ... from historians, the Islamic slave trade, which actually lasted longer and brought suffering to a larger number of people, is virtually ignored."  And when pressure came to end slavery, the Muslim world was "incredulous," since the "words of the Qur'an and Muhammad were decisive in stifling abolitionist movements within the Islamic world."

Nonie Darwish writes that "Islam is very useful for totalitarian regimes.  Islam provides weak governments with a  legal and religious formula that enables totalitarian control and forces the submission of citizens."  She emphasizes that "the appeal of Islam to Western leftist politicians, who should know better, defies logic."  Darwish asserts that "one and a half billion Muslims are living under the slavery of Islam, and they will never truly rebel as long as they can simply leave for the West – where they will work to impose sharia on the rest of us." 

We have been warned.

Eileen can be reached at