Dear sisters and brothers:
There are many Muslims active in the anti-slavery movement. However, more must be done.
We must organize and use Zakat funds designated as such by God to liberate slaves and free people from debt.
We must launch a campaign against all forms of slavery which exist in America as well as the Muslim world.
The world needs its Muslims to strengthen the movements against slavery in all forms at home and abroad.
The UN estimates that there are 28 million people trapped in some form of slavery throughout the world. Anti-slavery activists, however, believe these numbers are underestimates.
India has the most slaves of any country, at 14 million, where an additional 300 former untouchables in the Hindu caste system are subjected to regular humiliations. Among Muslim countries, Mauritania is accused of having four percent of its population still living as slaves, despite slavery being illegal in the country. In Gulf countries, where immigrant workers outnumber citizens, a large number of laborers and domestic servants work under slave-like conditions.
There is a much work that needs to be done right here in America as well. In the United States, sex trafficking and labor trafficking are the most common forms of modern slavery. President Carter estimates that “…in the United States, human slavery now is greater than it ever was during the 18th or 19th century. In Atlanta, Georgia, we have between 200-300 girls sold into sexual slavery every month,"
Slavery is outlawed in every country in the world. Yet, it persists in many forms: Sex trafficking and bonded labor are the most common forms of slavery today.
Based on God’s commandments for emancipation, Islam’s emphasis on establishing an egalitarian society, and the Prophet’s movement for the liberation of slaves, Muslims must be at the forefront of a movement to fight rape and slavery today. Our voices must be louder than those of who are abusing our faith like ISIS and Boko Haram.
American Muslims are generous people. In the last three years alone, we have donated almost $1 billion to assist Syrian refugees.
American Muslims are also leaders. It was the Muslim community which initiated a campaign to declare rape as a war crime through the Bosnia Task force, working in collaboration with the National Organization of Women, back in the mid-1990s. I was honored to lead that effort. It was American Muslims who lobbied Congress to pass a resolution declaring rape a war crime. This eventually went on to become part of international law through the United Nations for the first time in human history.
We can do it.
It is the command of God. He has funded it through Zakat.
We must establish organizations devoted specifically to ending slavery in all forms, and develop coalitions with women’s organizations that are already fighting rape and slavery. American Muslims with personal ties to the Muslim world can also provide leadership in these countries to root out this evil wherever it exists.
What can you do to fight Slavery & Rape
Become aware of how slavery touches our lives. Visit humantrafficking.org for references. We recommend former U.S. president Jimmy Carter’s book, “A Call to Action: Women, Religion, Violence, and Power.” The U.S. Department of State of issues an annual report on “Trafficking in Persons” which provides valuable information about the world. It is also important to read The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in an Age of Colorblindedness by Michelle Alexander. As well, encourage a family reading of the book “Servants of Allah” by Sylviane Diouf, which discusses some of the history of Muslim slaves in America.
2) Teach & preach!
- This booklet can serve as guidelines for a Friday sermon in your community.
- This conversation needs to be a part of our Sunday school and Islamic full-time school curriculum.
- For a teacher’s guide visit www.freetheslaves.net.
Work with others who want to live in a world without slavery. Google organizations to join. Check out www.freetheslaves.net
- Encourage your Masjid to devote their Khutba to talking about Islam’s stance against slavery and rape
- Encourage your Masjid to use its Zakat funds to liberate slaves and fight slavery. It is God’s command to designate Zakat for this purpose. When was the last time we used Zakat to liberate slaves and free people from bondage?
- Create a Masjid committee for this purpose and join a local coalition for that purpose
- Contact Sound Vision to volunteer if you can help us develop one of the following domain names to turn Muslim efforts against slavery into a movement: WinFreedom.org or FreeSlaves.net
- Speak up when people with Muslim names do wrong
Supporting the anti-slavery movement is in line with a Muslim’s duty to be just, as emphasized in the Quran:
“O ye who believe! stand out firmly for justice, as witnesses to God, even as against yourselves, or your parents, or your kin, and whether it be against rich or poor: for God can best protect both. Follow not the lusts of your hearts, lest ye swerve, and if ye distort justice or decline to do justice, verily God is well-acquainted with all that ye do” (Quran 4:135).
Abdul Malik Mujahid
American Muslims lead a successful campaign to declare rape as a war crime
The American Muslim community has a track record of fighting rape. Bosnia Task Force USA (BTF), an alliance of ten national Muslim organizations initiated a campaign, funded by mosques, to declare rape a war crime. In 1993, BTF and the National Organization of Women (NOW) organized joint demonstrations in 100 cities across the United States to protest the rape of women in Bosnia and successfully lobbied both houses of the Congress to pass a resolution calling for rape to be declared a war crime. After this call for justice and redress, many other organizations and legal scholars from America and around the world joined in. These ranged from human rights organizations to large and small women’s rights groups.
Ghastly crimes of unspeakable cruelty of ISIS:
Creating a theater of cruelty by burning a caged Jordanian prisoner alive and then recording their joyous reactions. (The Prophet prohibited burning anyone.) Killing prisoners. (The Prophet prohibited killing prisoners.) Destruction of 1,500 year old Christian Church. (God calls for protection of sacred spaces. Quran 22:40) The blood-soaked executions of ISIS.
 "Millions in modern-day slavery, half in India: Survey". Chennai, India: The Hindu. October 13, 2013.
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