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Islamic Society ( 5 May 2012, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Saudi Arabia: Slavery and Politics of Revenge in the Name of Harmain Sharifain


By Dr. Ghulam Zarquani

 Translated by Arman Neyazi, New Age Islam

 2 May 2012

 Muslim’s Centre of Faith is a Place of Peace, For God Sake do not let it be a Place of Political Mileage.

There is an old saying that strangers get encouraged if your own start doing excesses. No doubt, in the background of present situation this is a one hundred percent true fact. It is said that there is Islamic Sharia law in Saudi Arabia but in reality it is ‘legal mileage’ over there which does not care for the ‘right but cares for the ‘personal advantages’

This is why ‘Saudi return’ labourers have heart touching stories to tell. This will easily make one cry.  According to a report more than half of the workers in Saudi Arab are foreigners. As per the accepted norms no foreigner can get an entry visa unless he has a “Kafala” arranged for him. “Kafala” means, one who takes your bail. The bailer for you is called a “Kafeel”.  It is because of this ‘kafala’ that such heart rending stories of tyranny and oppressions surface. Just think over this system of ‘kafala’ and you will understand that this ‘kafala’ is nothing but a modern way of ‘slavery’.  They were ashamed of being called ‘Aaqua’ they changed it to “Kafeel”.

It is a common phenomenon that the kafeels do not pay their employees and when they wish to return to their countries ‘the oppressors’ do not return their passports.

I know a young man, Jamshed, who is a resident of Jamshedpur. He was employed as an auto-mechanic and he was given the responsibility of taking care of camels in the hot desert. When he registered his protest and wanted to come back, his passport was not returned. Jamshed says it was such a deserted place that there was no living being for far too long. His Kafeel used to lock the high four walls of the area. It was not easy to get free from such a dreadful place. Somehow he got in touch with the Indian Embassy and he could come back. He said when he got sure that he has been made a ‘captive slave’, he somehow fled from there, risking his life.

And no one can deny the fact that one can find thousands of such labourers who have to get their visas extended with the help of their kafeels. And their kafeels charge heavy amount from them just for signing the papers basically accepting to become their masters. Thus the land which is seen as a place of Shariah law is a place of corruption, bribery and slavery.

Had there been such incidents in small numbers one could have said that good and bad people are found everywhere. But this is a common happening with the labour class there. It is not common with the executive class workers.

According to Human Rights report of 2010, thirty Nepalese cleaners agitated in the month of February against their inhuman condition of living and nonpayment of salaries. Their visas were cancelled and they had to live in jail for 3-4 months after which they were sent back home.   

In May, labourers of Jadawal international company of Shaikh Mohammad bin Isa-al-Jar refused to work because they had not received their salaries. Visas of all of them were cancelled. Labourers of Mecca Metro went on strike in the month of September and in June 200 Philippians labourers refused to work in Ansar Hospital. In the month of August one Sri Lankan lady was operated and more than a dozen needles were extracted from her body. Her employer has inserted these needles in her body as she had refused to work for long hours. Hundreds of such incidents are reported in the Asian embassies every year.

Even Saudi government keeps punishing its people for raising their voices. In the month of October one Fah-ul-Janheed, a newspaper reporter was sentenced to jail and lashes for publishing a detail report of the agitation for the lack of electricity in the city of Quba.

Obviously now that no one raises a voice against Saudis for their oppression of their own citizens, it has become a common phenomenon with the foreigners working there. Last week’s incident is a part of the series of happenings.

According to reports, Ahmad Al-Ghazawi, an Egyptian advocate was in Harmain Sharifain, Saudi Arabia for Umrah. He has been arrested at the airport.   He was sentenced to one year jail and twenty lashes, in absentia, for using derogatory words against the King. It is said that he has been raising his voice against the administration for accesses being mooted on the Egyptian workers there. You will feel that no kind of oppression is enough if done on the foreign workers as is any derogatory world against ‘the king’.

Is this called Islam? This is certainly not the Islam with which our Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is associated. In my views taking the ‘right to protest’ is the greatest oppression. And there is no doubt that the Saudis have no right to raise their voice against the Saudi government. It means, you have to silently bear and keep quite whatever may happen.  If you do not believe, go through the news issued by the Ministry of Law, Saudi Arabia and published all over the world in media.

“According to the law of Saudi Kingdom no one can stage agitations, take out procession or sit on dharna because this is against the Islamic Shariah and culture, civilisation and values of Saudi Arabia.

You can observe how shamelessly Islamic Shariah is being polluted by the power addict government. Imposition of illegal and tyrannical law by the governors of Harmain Sharifain is “right” and the voices raised against ‘the oppression and tyranny’ are “against the Shariah Law”.

Friends, the most shameful and dangerous face of this aspect is the arrest of a Muslim on the basis of “revenge politics”. This an alarm bell for all of us, the Muslims. Taking it easy can be very harmful for the entire Muslim world. It is heard that because of the great respect of Mecca and Medina, not only the human beings but targeting animals also is illegal here. But in any case, in Saudi Arabia, ‘personal profit’ always comes before ‘Islamic law’.

In their defence many of us may say that Saudi government and its people must be respected as they donate huge amounts in the establishment of madrasas and construction of mosques. It can be mentioned here that constructing mosques and madrasas is optional and therefore this tyrannical attitude cannot be concealed behind the veil of optional deeds.

I want to say that Saudi government is welcome to stop all kinds of assistance to the Islamic world in lieu of stopping its tyrannical and oppressive attitude against even one Muslim. For us respect and regard of one Muslim brother is more than their ‘assistance’.

Dr. Ghulam Zarquani is Asstt. Professor in the World Language Department of Lone Star College, Houston, America.

Source: Urdu daily Inquilab, New Delhi