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Why I am not surprised

Reader comment on item: Saudis Import Slaves to America

Submitted by CCW (United States), Jul 17, 2007 at 21:03

Despite the many responses to this article and the many responses to those responses I feel that few are being rational about it. The man who said that he knew the family that employed the woman obviously feels a need to defend them, and he does this by pointing out that the woman never complained to him. However, it's reasonable to think that she never complained because there was no one she trusted enough to complain to. If this man was a friend of the family, of course this woman would not reveal her situation to him.

And also, many have made comments which make it seem as if they believe Saudi Arabians are evil or something, and that we should their immigrants back, or else attack them, and I have to say these are the most depressing responses of all. Even if slavery (which I believe is wrong) is deeply ingrained in their culture many educated societies have done similiar and worse deeds. A societies ignorance has nothing to do with how it treats others. Do I have to remind you that in the U.S. most white southerners were poor, but those that weren't, those that were grossly rich because they were plantation owners, were the most educated of all (one of many reasons the south started out with better military leaders during the Civil War). Or that what was once the center of culture for the western world became hell on earth for Jews who happened to be living in Germany during WWII. Most occurences of one society openly victimizing innocent people comes from them first dehumanizing those people. Every society and culture has done this, it's not because the culture is evil, it is because we are all human. Banning all Saudis from the U.S. won't change that. It will just make us more ignorant to foreign cultures. And attacking Saudi Arabia when our military is already overextended (and attacking anyone without first exploring other options) is foolish.

I would also like to point out that Islam is not the problem. Even if the Qur'an allows for slavery and rape it is not the only religious book that does so. The Bible has a lot on slaves and rape. The Bible tells slaves to be obedient to masters and to work hard. It also encourages women to marry their rapists. And there are several stories of holy men having sexual relations with servant girls (sometimes at the requests of barren wives). Does that mean Christianity is evil? Every holy book is up to the interpretation of the people who read it. The fact that both books were written in a different time in a different culture means that always literally interpreting everything is a practice that is a little outdated. Plus, the fact that over 70% of U.S. citizens claim that they belong to some sort of Chrisitian denomination (World Factbook), but don't practice slavery proves that what a holy book allow,s a culture does not have to do. Islam is not the problem. It can exist seperate of slavery, and making it seem otherwise is a misjudgement on both sides.

Some have also made the case that slaves today are treated better than slaves back in the day, but how can we know this is true? The only people who have truly known how horrifying slavery was in the past were the slaves themselves, and when they spoke out about their situation, few would believe them. In fact, many claimed that blacks were happy to be slaves, and some even asserted that blacks needed to be enslaved because they would die without it. How can we know that the situation isn't the same today? Just because some claim that slavery isn't as harsh doesn't mean that they know the true story,

And finally, the last comment I have to make is on the tie between African slaves and Islam. I would like to point out that pretty much every religion that was around at least 200 years ago allowed for slavery at some time or another (many have changed their beliefs and newer sects tend to be anti-slavery). This is not just Christianity, Judaism, and Islam which have the same roots, but also Eastern religions, African religions, and indigenous religions from pretty much everywhere. Yes, many African slavers were Islamic, but slavery is not and was not a distinctly Muslim practice, in fact most slave owners owned peoples of their own racial and religious background (one of the things that makes American slavery so unique). Many have said that the growth in Muslim African Americans is odd because of the fact that their ancestors were enslaved by Muslim traders, but every religion has enslaved people of it's own religion. Just because African Americans haven't historically been Muslims doesn't mean anything.

Submitting....

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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