There go those Imperialist Americans forcing their will on an innocent and vulnerable people again eh?
Watch this short documentary film clip from 1964 which reviews the Slave Trade in some of the Gulf States in that year. Warning: some nudity and disturbing content. The notes to the 6 minute video state: "Although slavery was officially abolished in 1962 in Saudi Arabia, the practice in the kingdom continued to flourish well afterwards. Yemen abolished it in 1962 as well, Qatar in 1952, the United Arab Emirates in 1963, and Oman in 1970."
And today, Muslim majority Mauritania still practises slavery. This after having very publicly denounced it three times since 1981 - again under outside pressure. Yet where are the weighty UN condemnations? Where are Western human rights activists? I don't know where they are, but they all seem to migrate to the same place whenever there is a problem with a Muslim context. It is gratifying that this article at least comes from our friends at the Guardian and I do not have to go to a dreaded right-wing source to bring this to your attention. Issues like slavery unite people from all ideologies don't they? All except Islam it seems.
This is almost certainly because, as Robert Spencer notes, Muhammad held slaves & condoned the practice. To oppose slavery, like opposing child marriage, is to stand in condemnation of Islam's prophet - the perfect example of a man pleasing to Allah. So it is extremely difficult, if not utterly impossible to appeal to any significant Islamic religious precedent in destroying this filthy Trade:~
The Qur’an has Allah telling Muhammad that he has given him girls as sex slaves: “Prophet, We have made lawful to you the wives to whom you have granted dowries and the slave girls whom God has given you as booty.” (Qur’an 33:50)
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.
US warned Mauritania’s ‘total failure’ on slavery should rule out trade benefits
The routine abuse of thousands of enslaved Mauritanians, including rape, beatings and unpaid labour, should prevent the African republic from receiving US trade benefits, American labour unions have said.
Mauritania, which has one of the highest rates of modern-day slavery in the world and has been roundly criticised for its poor human rights record, is currently on a list of countries that benefit from the African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa). The act, designed to promote the economic development of countries that can show they uphold human rights and meet labour standards, enables African countries to export goods duty-free to US markets.
The US trade union AFL-CIO, the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations, this week called on the US trade representative to remove Mauritania from the roster of approved countries.
“The government of Mauritania routinely fails to conduct investigations into cases of slavery, rarely pursues prosecutions for those responsible for the practice and fails to ensure access to remedy or otherwise support victims,” the union wrote in a petition, adding that the state harasses and imprisons anti-slavery activists and will not publicly acknowledge the continued existence of slavery.
“This represents a total failure to take any meaningful steps to establish freedom from forced labour,” said the petition.
Mauritania abolished slavery in 1981, the last country in the world to do so, but only made it a crime in 2007. Since then, campaigners say the government has passed a handful of inefficient reforms and failed to properly address the issue.
Although the union says it is unlikely the US will immediately remove Mauritania from the Agoa list, Celeste Drake, trade and globalisation policy specialist at the AFL-CIO, said the petition should “put Mauritania on watch”.
The petition adds to the mounting pressure facing the Mauritanian government. In June, the International Labor Organisation (ILO) warned that slavery continues “on a widespread basis, despite numerous discussions”. For the past three years, the country has been under review by the ILO over its failure to act.
Last year, the UN special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights concluded that Tadamoun, the agency set up to address the consequences of slavery and poverty in Mauritania, had taken “a very low profile” in tackling the problem.
Jeroen Beirnaert, human and trade union rights coordinator at the International Trade Union Confederation, which has supported the petition, said the government had done little to enforce its anti-slavery law. Beirnaert said there had been only two known slavery convictions, with the sentences handed out too lenient.
“It took decades to actually have a conviction let alone compensation for any victims,” he said. “One issue we have with the agency [Tadamoun] is that it doesn’t involve any of the former slaves. It’s run by the white Moor community there, and it focuses a lot on a poverty alleviation mandate and doesn’t really address the slavery issues.”
Sarah Mathewson, Africa programme manager at Anti-Slavery International, said the Mauritanian government is sensitive to criticism and that further bad publicity won’t be welcomed. “They do seem to take initiatives and actions against slavery and forced labour practices in response to [negative] publicity,” she said. “They’ll set up a commission or a new government agency or introduce a new law or policy.”
Mathewson added that such initiatives are never serious attempts to tackle the issue, but “window dressing” that distracts the international community.
The government is balancing demands for reform with the need to retain its grip on power, she said: “They also have to balance the pressures of their own power base and the social and economic privileges that slave ownership entails for them, and how intrinsically linked it is to their own hold on power.”