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Anti-slavery activist arrested in Mauritania

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Slavery is sanctioned in Islam. The word for a black person in Arabic is abid, or slave. Yet this telling fact is hardly known by anyone in the U.S. Consider how many African Americans convert to Islam. Or worse yet, Arabic is now mandatory in a Harlem public school. More proof of the epic failure of African American leadership.

This speaks to the power of disinformation and propaganda, and the effects of the brutal enforcement of the blasphemy laws under Islam (do not criticize Islam, under penalty of death). The truth remains hidden. Unfathomable human rights abuses and shocking war crimes remain largely unknown to the masses — not to the millions of victims, but they have been silenced.

“Mauritania: US Must Demand Immediate Release of Anti-Slavery Candidate Ahead of Elections,” by Ruthie Blum, Gatestone Institute, August 19, 2018:

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On August 7, the Islamic Republic of Mauritania arrested Biram Dah Abeid, the founding head of the Initiative for the Resurgence of the Abolitionist Movement (IRA), a human rights organization dedicated to eradicating slavery in the west African nation. Abeid described the police waking him in his home in the capital city of Nouakchott, and taking him into custody without charges.

Abeid and those petitioning for his release have good reason to suspect that his arrest – one of many over the past few years — is related not only to his persistent anti-slavery activism and critique of Islamic texts, but to the fact that he is running for a seat in parliament in the legislative elections slated for September 1.

Abeid, a member of the Haratin, Mauritania’s largest minority group, established the IRA in 2008, the year in which Mauritania’s first democratically elected president, Sidi Mohamed Ould Cheikh Abdallahi, was ousted in a coup led by General Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, who has been in power ever since. Abeid has been described as a “thorn in the side” of Aziz, particularly when he challenged Aziz in the 2014 presidential election, and came in a “distant second.”

Abeid, as described in a 2014 profile in The New Yorker, has long been a crusader against slavery. The practice was formally abolished in Mauritania in 1981, criminalized only in 2007, but is still practiced with virtual impunity there to this day. Regarding the use in Mauritania of Islamic teachings to justify slavery, Abeid says:

“My problem is not with religion. It’s with the interpretation of religion as the origin, the justification, and the legitimatization of slavery. The use of Islam, not Islam.”

In 2012, Abeid led a demonstration during which he and other protesters burned texts of the Maliki codes of Islamic jurisprudence, which “codify slavery, racism, and the oppression of women.” He and others present were arrested on charges of “apostasy.”

As The New Yorker‘s Alexis Okeowo described the incident:

By eight o’clock on the evening of the book burning, local news Web sites had begun calling Abeid a heretic. “When I went to bed, I was satisfied,” he told me. “But I had a feeling something would happen tomorrow. When I woke up, it was a war—in the media, in the mosques.” Newspapers were calling for his death. His phone and Internet had stopped working. Activists flocked to his home, and a steady stream of reporters came for interviews….

The police came at nine-thirty and put him in a squad car. “It was dark, and we didn’t know where we were going,” Abeid said. At the police station, Abeid’s cell was filthy, full of mosquitoes, and cramped; five other activists were also imprisoned. Policemen brought a television to the cell, and Abeid watched Mauritanians calling for his death on the news. Hundreds of people had gathered in the streets to protest. Abeid recalled watching as President Aziz appeared onscreen and promised to administer the death penalty.

The police asked Abeid to state on camera why he had burned the books. He refused, suspecting that they would manipulate the video. During his time in prison, the authorities spread a rumor that he was an Israeli agent. “They said I work for the Jews,” he recalled. “It’s a way to make the Mauritanian people turn against me.”

A 2015 piece in Front Page Magazine, by Stephen Brown, which chastised America’s Black Lives Matter movement for ignoring the genuine plight of blacks in Africa, described the race-based nature of Mauritania’s rigid caste system:

Mauritania’s slaves are all black Africans and their owners are Arabs or Berbers, called “whites,” who constitute about 20 percent of the population. Both slaves and masters are Muslim.

The “whites,” like Mauritania’s president, Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, make up almost all of Mauritania’s political, business and military elite class that controls the country. And therein lays the problem. It is very difficult to get the elite class that makes the laws to take any meaningful action against slavery when many of them are reported to own slaves themselves. But this inaction is also based on a pronounced, anti-black racism that African-American writer Samuel Cotton noticed when he travelled to Mauritania in the 1990s to explore the slavery issue.

“The problem is that Mauritania’s Arabs sincerely believe that blacks are born to be slaves,” wrote Samuel Cotton in his book Silent Terror: A Contemporary Journey Into Contemporary African Slavery. “They believe that a black man, woman or child’s place in life is to serve an Arab, and does not matter whether that black is a Christian, or a fellow Muslim.”

The state’s ongoing racism and widespread practice of slavery sparked the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) to demand in August 2017 that Mauritania be removed from the eligibility list of countries benefiting from the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), legislation enacted by Congress in 2000 that “significantly enhances market access to the US for qualifying Sub-Saharan African (SSA) countries.”…

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