Muslim couple in San Diego charged with keeping housekeeper as slave

A couple originally from Iraq, later domiciled in Dubai, moved to the San Diego suburb of El Cajon and brought with them their “servant” they had acquired in Dubai.  The woman, identified by police as W.M., managed to smuggle out a handwritten note asking for help, which resulted in arrest of the couple on charges of  “labor trafficking.”  But an agent who helped bust them was not so indirect.  Via the San Diego Union Tribune:

“Today’s arrests bring to light the sad reality of modern day slavery,” Dave Shaw, special agent in charge for U.S. Homeland Security Investigations in San Diego, said in a statement. “... Forced labor, which often involves individuals who are held in isolation, degraded, and most alarming — stripped of their basic human freedom — has no place in a modern society.”

The couple charged, Firas Majeed and his wife, Shatha Abbas, have pleaded not guilty.  The story told to police by W.M. is heartbreaking:

She said she sought a job through an employment agency in Indonesia and began to work for an Iraqi man, Dr. Haider Kubba, and his large extended family in Dubai in 2010. She lived with them, working 20 hours a day, seven days a week, for five years, the complaint says.

She cleaned, did laundry, cooked and took care of the children — but was not allowed to leave the house on her own, with the doors and windows being locked while Kubba went to work, she said, according to the complaint. The exception was being allowed to take the trash out, with permission.

The housekeeper said she was never paid for her work, although her employers sporadically sent unknown amounts money to her mother in Indonesia, and some years had passed without payments.

Kubba kept all of her travel documents, including her passport, she told authorities.

When her two-year contract with the family was up, she told the family she wanted to return to Indonesia. She got little response, and was finally told she’d have to pay her own way back. About a year later, she discovered the front door had not been locked while her boss was at work, and she hailed a taxi to the Indonesian Consulate.

But Kubba was called, and he took her back to his house after promising the consular officials that he would pay her and allow her to return to Indonesia after three months, the complaint says.

But that promise was broken. After two more years, she was told she had to go to the United States to care for the ailing father of Kubba’s wife. W.M. said she was again promised that if she complied for two months, she’d be allowed to return to Indonesia, the complaint says.

She flew to the U.S. in November and lived with Kubba’s wife’s extended family in El Cajon, including the wife’s sister, Abbas, and her husband, Majeed. She said she again took up the same housekeeping duties, working 16- to 18-hour days under the constant watch of the family. And again, she said, she was not paid.

She said she was verbally abused in both households, and that Abbas had once pushed her.

Muslims still practice slavery in various forms, in a number of countries around the world.  And, as Robert Spencer comments, so did Mohammed, held to be the most perfect man ever and a model for all to emulate:

Muhammad bought slaves: “Jabir (Allah be pleased with him) reported: There came a slave and pledged allegiance to Allah’s Apostle (may peace be upon him) on migration; he (the Holy Prophet) did not know that he was a slave. Then there came his master and demanded him back, whereupon Allah’s Apostle (may peace be upon him) said: Sell him to me. And he bought him for two black slaves, and he did not afterwards take allegiance from anyone until he had asked him whether he was a slave (or a free man).” (Muslim 3901)

Muhammad took female Infidel captives as slaves: “Narrated Anas: The Prophet offered the Fajr Prayer near Khaibar when it was still dark and then said, ‘Allahu-Akbar! Khaibar is destroyed, for whenever we approach a (hostile) nation (to fight), then evil will be the morning for those who have been warned.’ Then the inhabitants of Khaibar came out running on the roads. The Prophet had their warriors killed, their offspring and woman taken as captives. Safiya was amongst the captives. She first came in the share of Dahya Alkali but later on she belonged to the Prophet. The Prophet made her manumission as her ‘Mahr.’” (Bukhari 5.59.512) Mahr is bride price: Muhammad freed her and married her. But he didn’t do this to all his slaves:

Muhammad owned slaves: “Narrated Anas bin Malik: Allah’s Apostle was on a journey and he had a black slave called Anjasha, and he was driving the camels (very fast, and there were women riding on those camels). Allah’s Apostle said, ‘Waihaka (May Allah be merciful to you), O Anjasha! Drive slowly (the camels) with the glass vessels (women)!’” (Bukhari 8.73.182) There is no mention of Muhammad’s freeing Anjasha.

I am not celebrating this diversity.