DISCRIMINATION INSIDE ISLAM


By Francisco Javier Rodriguez Plascencia

DISCRIMINATION INSIDE ISLAM,

WHEN YOUR BIGGEST PRIDE BECOMES THE REASON OF DIVISION INSTEAD OF BEING YOUR STRENGTH

When usually it is being heard any term related to Middle East, Arabs or Muslims, usually it comes to mind a closed group of people who are united and suffering from the same pain, the endless wars along the whole region.

It is curious to mention that since centuries this region has been witness of endless bloody clashes of tribes, empires, and war on terrorism nowadays and has always seemed that what has made them be united, it is the religion they follow, Islam.

But it is being hardly known among the western population that in fact, one of the biggest problems that the Muslim community suffers from comes directly from their most precious pride, their religion. And it is due to the religion that Muslims are much more distanced to each others than it looks like, and due to this ‘’small’’ differences, bloody and heartless wars has taken place, just like what currently nowadays is being seen in Syria.

So it is of big importance to go hearing this issue that is taking apart the Muslim world directly from a person who has experienced it and seen it happening.

IMG_7860His name is Rachid Abderahim Aznag, he is originally from Morocco, where he was born and raised up as a Maliki Sunni Muslim, just like most of the Moroccan population, he grew up in a very poor neighbor along the Rabat shore, he describes his life as really healthy and always on a good environment among the rest of the neighbor, with lots of poverty and no jobs for their parents to have access to luxuries, but food never missed on the table, he said, he described also their learning on Islam ‘’when we are young, we are being taken to assist into a Islam school which is being selected by our parents or mentors, we suppose to have the choice to select which type of school we want to learn of Islam, since there are five different schools, Ja’fari, Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi’i and Hanbali, but finally we all go to the Maliki cause all our parents have studied at that type of Islam school’’ He addressed. Besides the school where they decide to study, in Islam the major division is by Sunni and Shi1 . However are not the only divisions that Islam has, there are plenty of sects more such as the Wahabi, Salafis well known for being the most radical Muslims. However Abderahim, never experienced no racism due to his Islam school along his life, he describes it by saying: ‘’I never even thought that other Muslims who didn’t study Islam as my school would have anything against us, for me we were all Muslims with different opinions but nothing more than that’’. He got to know that he was not that right anymore. When he was 21 years old, the deficient Moroccan economy pushed him to go abroad to work, besides many other Moroccans who choose to go working at any point in Europe, he decided instead, to go to the Arab Golf, pushed by the marketing that this countries do along the whole region mostly during the Ramadan month, he was convinced of the good image that the TV sold them out, he tells us about his decision: ‘’I was just leaving high school where I was studying to administration too and I heard about the bad image that we Moroccans have in Europe, and didn’t feel like leaving in a environment were I was going to be fingered at just cause of my birth place or belief, so I decided going to United Arab Emirates due to its plenty of good marketing that they have among the Muslims countries like us, specially in Ramadan’’.

He arrived at the end of 2008 to Dubai, where he first noticed how many immigrants were. Mostly coming from countries like Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, and Somalia and of course from all over the Arab world. One of the first things he notices was the rough way of treatment from the Emir population to those who were not from the country and even worst when they profess another Islam school than theirs, he remembers it like this: ‘’It was not even my first year living there and working already for Carrefour when it got so obvious the rough way that these people from the golf were against all of us who were not citizen and I just realized then how bad it was when you mentioned that you were Muslim but from another school than theirs. Most of them follow the Wahhabi school, which has its roots from the Saudi Arabian tribes, they always mocked at us recalling us how dumb we could be to follow such school as ours, and even we call ourselves Muslims, this was a very common thing among us. That’s why when being asked what religion we profess, we just learn to say Islam and nothing further’’. Discrimination and racism due to your birth place and due to your belief is well spread all over the Arab Golf and even though there are plenty of laws2 against any kind of discrimination and racism in the country, usually immigrants such as Abderahim do not know anything about them, he says about this: ‘’We’ve heard about these laws, and they might be true, we do not know, but here it seems that citizens have more power and even worst for us if we want to discuss with a rich person cause we are taken to prison without a judgment or if we are lucky they send us back to our countries, which does not happen to be honest’’.

Stories like his are being heard and experienced every single day along the Arab Gulf countries, generating anger and frustration among their own neighbors, mostly due to their religion belief, making the Muslim community far from each other than trying to get them closer and united. When ask about what he would do about this situation and if he would like to keep living like that in the UAE Abderahim finishes up interview by saying strongly: ‘’To be honest I am able to handle all this just cause I am making more money than I could do back in my country, but its not a happy life, would not want my children to grow up here neither my wife to live here, as soon as I can find a good job back in my country, I will be leaving this country forever, and of course would never see these people –Arabs from the gulf- the same way as they say to be on TV’’.

As being seen some issues just like religion that seems to keep large groups of people with all different cultural backgrounds together, just like the Muslims, are being taken apart due to its intolerance and lack of understanding that there are other ways to think and belief even inside their own religion.

 

1 To know more about the differences between Sunni and Shi, can visit the following website which has a very detailed data base comparing them both:

http://www.diffen.com/difference/Shia_vs_Sunni

2 For further information about how discrimination law applied on the UAE are going; the following link can be a good overview of its actual context.

http://www.thenational.ae/thenationalconversation/comment/wanted-lawful-use-of-uae-labour-law-on-discrimination

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