T Nation

Middle Eastern Racism


The arab slave trade was longer than the atlantic and european slave trade. Some of the countries in the middle east ended slavery in the mid 1900s. Like saudi arabia ended slavery in the 1960s, same for yemen,the UAE, and oman ended their slavery in the 1970s. after slavery ended in those areas, it seems like there wasn’t really any sort big civil rights movement that happened in those areas. thats bugging me. The arab slave trade was terrible, over time it became more crappy towards africans as well. Literally most of the countries ended slavery because of western influence. If the west didn’t tell them it was bad it would probably still be going on.

slavery ended for them in the 1900s. there was no civil rights movement. none that i can’t find atleast. when you search up racism in the middle east on google you see a crap load of stuff. I seen stuff online about africans being called “abeed” which means slave pretty often.

Why do you guys think these countries are not as racially tolerant as America or the UK.

^Map that shows the most and least racially tolerant countries.

Over here in america during all my years of elementary school, middle school, and high school, i learned about america’s history of slavery, racism, and a lot of information about the civil rights movement. literally like 99% of youth here in america learn about this stuff. Im thinking this is the reason why we have a country thats pretty racially tolerant compared to other nations.
I don’t think they are teaching about this stuff in the middle eastern countries compared to the western countries.

^this link shows a lot of info about the arab slave trade. it showed me a lot i didn’t really know and the stuff was shocking. Here is some stuff i found

*Arab enslavement did not only target Africans. But became more racist towards Africans as time went on, eventually being a mirror of European anti-African attitudes
*After the 19th century, the horrors of procuring Africans, was the most inhuman aspect of the trade, with castrations, transportation and violent slave raids being the main sources of mortality.
*Contrary to popular belief, it was not in the immediate interest of Arab slavers to convert enslaved Africans to Islam, because being Muslim granted the enslaved Africans more rights to manumission. (See Umayyad Caliphate)[2] And if the people they were capturing were already Muslim it would “delegitimize” the capture.

The main reason im interested in this is because i am muslim. I have always been interested in visiting in the middle east and maybe even living there, but after learning about some of this stuff i am not really interested in living in these areas anymore, mostly because im a darkskin somali dude. i kind of want to ask an african living in these countries on how their experiences have been living in the middle east.


i also have heard a couple of stories of racist incidents that happened to people of color that travel to pilgrame to mecca in saudi arabia. there mostly People of color(mostly black and asian muslims) being treated like crap compared to the arabs.

by the way, i live in the dallas, and all of my life i have never experienced a racial incident from someone who looked at me in disgust. only racist incidents have i encountered were kids on call of duty calling me the N word,some dude in high school who called me the N word but apologised literally like 5 seconds after that.


In America we are taught to refer to black people as African Americans. What are they called in other countries?


In my experience, Arabs in general are rather intolerant of pretty much everyone, and Arab Muslims even more so. Most of your ME countries have very strict laws, so any dissident movements are quickly squashed.


According to what OP posted it’s Indians who are the least tolerant, not Arabs.


I’m white, I mean really white, as in pale as fuck. I’m not a Muslim but have worked extensively in the Middle East in construction and you could say I was very steeped in local culture.

From my (admittedly somewhat limited) experience Arabs are very, very racist - despite all that lofty talk about Umma and everything.

As for your being a Somali it depends - if you would like to experience how it feels like to be as close as possible to an actual slave, then Arab countries are the place for you. And that’s just a slight exaggeration.

You should look up Mauritania - estimates vary wildly, but some put the number of black slaves at 600k or 10% of the population.

You’ve probably seen this video from a Libyan slave market, but it’s worth repeating.


yea but i don’t have a interest in the asian countries, so i am focusing on the arab countries.


Muslims in the developing world are generally less tolerant. At varying degrees, of course. You gotta understand that aside from the religion and it’s various denominations, there are several cultural and social factors at play.


But what exactly is your question? You said you wanted to know what Africans, I assume sub-Saharan Africans, think about living in Arab nations. I don’t know if anyone here fits that description.


I wanted to know why are the countries in the middle east not that racially tolerant. I am a muslim american, so i have always been interested in visiting some of these countries, i was never really interested in visiting the asian countries, thats why i am focused on the middle east.


If you are a tourist, it’s very likely that no one’s going to fuck with you unless you decide to step into places you obviously shouldn’t be going to.

Look, as I said, even if you are of the same religious denomination, there are certain cultural norms that you will not know that people may take offense at. So just go visit, don’t try to fit in.


I would argue that the fact they are intolerant is enough to tell you to go to some other places if you travel.

If you want to know why those countries have intolerant/racist views about black people I would say the most likely answer is the same as why white people in other countries feel that way. Racism is racism, regardless of who is being racist. If it’s more prevalent in the Middle East, and the fact they still enslave blacks says it is, it is because they didn’t have the same philosophical and political movements as the West.


Because they’re the slave owners and the others are slaves. It’s a cultural thing, Arab slavers pushed south/west into the Sahel and subjugated/enslaved the black Africans. Add to that tribalism and obsession with “nobleness” and you’ve got the still existing system of values and the supposed “order of things” that lingers to this day.

If you’re planning to do the Hajj prepare to hear “abeed” a lot.

Also, for some reason upper class Egyptians and Saudis simply love dropping the n-world they’ve picked up from English. You could even argue that it’s an improvement (!) compared to “abeed”

Edit: One Saudi engineer I’ve worked with bragged that he intentionally ran over a black pedestrian outside of Jeddah and the reactions from other Saudis ranged from unbridled joy to meh.


that just sounds terrible man. I don’t know how i would react if someone just looked at me and called me a slave. These places sound pretty crappy especially for africans.


Let me guess - you don’t have any Arab friends on social media.

Wow, didn’t know it was a thing even in the US


It’s not just blacks. It’s women. It’s jews. It’s gays. It’s Christians. It’s other Muslims. I don’t want to stereotype all Arabs or all Muslims because there are clearly some who are not like that (you for instance), but by and large any predominantly Arabic areas seem to still have an us vs. them mentality.

I am in Jerusalem now, and I see blacks pretty much everywhere I go. Granted, they probably stay out of old city, but so do most people who don’t enjoy being harassed. Jews are very tolerant of blacks. Today I chatted with some black IDF soldiers carrying uzis. Would you see that in Riyadh? Of course not. Ethiopian jews are a thing and are welcomed. I was talking to a store owner last night about this very subject. You’re not alone in thinking that Arabs have some issues that are going to take a lot of time and compromise to figure out.


Are you sure about that? Serious question - I’ve been to Israel and that’s definitely not the vibe I’ve picked up.

This is where it gets weird - people of color in Saudi Arabia are second class citizens (somewhere around Shiites) but non-black Saudis aren’t that keen on being in the Army and…well…dying so there are black soldiers carrying weapons. But they’re still treated like shit.


Because Arabs see themselves as superior. If you are not a muslim Arab, you are a pig to be traded or slaughtered.

It really is that simple.


I’ll defer to you on Riyadh, but I don’t mean to be rude, but it’s a bit odd to selectively post a video of an incident where blacks are protesting police brutality and then extrapolate that into anything other than an isolated incident of someone in power taking advantage of less fortunate. All Americans don’t hate blacks because of Ferguson.

I do remember those protests. But I work with dozens of jews for the last 8 years, and I work with a handful of Muslims (who also work for the same Jewish company). From my own personal experience (which granted may be quite different than yours), I’ve never seen jews be anything but welcoming to blacks. On the other hand, I became very close to some of my indian/Pakistani Muslim coworkers and they have shared some disturbing thoughts even about my own company and how Christianity and Islam are much closer and we should be working together against Zionism. Anecdotal, personal experiences, of course; but if I were a black Muslim I think that I would much prefer living in Jerusalem than other places in the middle east.


My experience is radically different, but then again I socialized with the ex-USSR crowd in Israel so that’s maybe the reason.

Well, that’s pretty much run-of-the-mill stuff for Pakistanis. As the old adage goes, you know you’ve been accepted by your Pakistani coworkers when they proudly announce they have calculated the exact GPS coordinates for the end-of-days battle against the Jews.

Well, that’s a no brainer. All those Eritreans didn’t come for no reason.