Did you know? Muslim Arabs started the African slave trade in the 8th century. Females made up the majority of Africans taken to Muslim countries and were used as sex slaves. Males were used as cannon fodder slave soldiers or castrated and used by wealthy Muslim to guard their possessions. Turkey only banned African slavery in 1908. Saudi Arabia did not ban African slavery until 1962.
In Saudi Arabia, blacks are called “abed,” which means “slave” and has negative racial connotations. Saudi Arabian society is a racial caste system.
Saudi Arabia’s oil wealth eventually made slavery economically unnecessary. Early on, African slaves worked for foreign oil companies which paid their masters, but they were a poor fit for the oil economy. The Kingdom no longer needed agricultural slaves and pearl drivers; it needed trained technicians from the West and international travel made it cheaper to import Asian workers for household labor and construction than to maintain its old trade in slaves.
The Saudis replaced the 450,000 slaves of the 1950s with 8.4 million guest workers. These workers are often treated like slaves, but they are not property and are therefore even more disposable than the slaves were. Exact numbers are hard to come by, but Nepal alone reported 265 worker deaths in Saudi Arabia in a single year.
Kafa’ah, equality in marriage, is used to establish that both sides are free from the “taint” of slave blood. The blood of Takruni, West African slaves, or Mawalid, slaves who gained their freedom by converting to Islam, is kept out of the Saudi master race through genealogical records that can be presented at need.
Challenges to the Kafa’ah of a marriage occur when tribal members uncover African descent in the husband or the wife after the marriage has already occurred. The racially inferior party is ordered to present “proof of equality” in the form of family trees and witnesses. If the couple is judged unequal, the Saudi Gazette reported, “Children’s custody is usually given to the ‘racially superior’ parent.”
These Saudi efforts at preventing their former slaves from intermarrying with them have only accelerated their incestuous inbreeding. In parts of Saudi Arabia, the percentage of marriages among blood relatives can go as high as 70%.
Saudi Arabia has the second highest rate of birth defects in the world, but a Saudi Sheikh blamed this phenomenon on female drivers, even though women are not allowed to drive in Saudi Arabia.
Equality has always been a foreign concept to the Saudis whose tribal castes determine the right to rule. In Saudi Arabia everyone has their place, from the Afro-Saudi, to the non-Muslim guest worker to the Saudi woman.
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