Today, the New York Times posted a rather disturbing article about the level racism in Iraq. There are an estimated 1.2 million African-Iraqis. By and large, nearly all are treated like second-class citizens. In fact, the discrimination is so engrained “that they are commonly referred to as “abd” — slave in Arabic.” NPR, which also covered the issue today, notes: “Although they have lived in Iraq for more than 1,000 years, the black Basrawis say they are still discriminated against because of the color of their skin.”
It is a disturbing topic, which many Iraqis are not willing to admit in public. The Times piece quotes Ahmed al-Sulati, deputy chairman of Basra’s provincial council who says “there is no such thing in Iraq as black and white.” While he himself may see it that way, for the people who experience such discrimination, the color blind society many Iraqis describe is a mirage.
It should be noted that this sort of racism goes against the very core of Islam.
O ye who believe! Avoid suspicion as much (as possible): for suspicion in some cases is a sin: And spy not on each other behind their backs. Would any of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother? Nay, ye would abhor it…But fear Allah: For Allah is Oft-Returning, Most Merciful. [49:13]
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