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Knowing the Arabs

Knowing the Arabs
Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury

Almost all the non-Arab Muslim nations consider Arabs as ‘brethren’ or ‘beloved part of Muslim Ummah’. However, let us have a glimpse over the Arab mind. In their mind, those Arabs always hold a kind of superior attitude thus considering most of the poor Muslim nations as ‘Miskins’ [baggers]. Bangladeshis working in the Middle East are well acquainted to such brutal Arab mentality. Arabs consider themselves to be a kind of superior creations of God and treat all other Muslims, especially those from poor nations to be subject of fulfilling their luster and nasty desires. We know about sexual and otherwise exploitation of tinder-aged boys from poor Muslim nations to Arab countries, especially United Arab Emirates, are not only used as ‘Camel Jockeys’ but also are molested and sexually abused by Arab sheikhs as well affluent Arabs for decades.

This is not the only side of the nasty Arab face. Whenever a poor Bangladeshi would go to Arab countries to work in various projects or offices, they are treated like unconditional slaves by their Arab employers and in some cases even worst. Arab men and women in many cases try to sexually abuse and harass the domestic employees, which is a very common phenomenon. There are at least a few hundred cases of Bangladeshi workers [both male and female] who went to Arab houses as domestic employees, and finally they are back home with the horrifying memories of being sexually abused by their masters. In some cases, Bangladeshi females, who worked in Arab houses came back home with HIV virus infection. In addition, most interestingly, in case of any such incidents, Arab employees mostly remain above the law while there are some instances where male employees were charged with rape charges by the Arab women, who failed to ultimately get the poor workers in meeting their sexual urge.

Istiak, a Bangladeshi village youth went to Saudi Arabia as domestic servant in 1997. He was recruited by one of the Arab businessperson who owns large super markets in the country. Istiak’s employer had seven wives at home and had a bad habit of attending many more concubines and prostitutes. This made his wives mentally sick and they virtually turned into a kind of beast searching human flesh. Istiak was rather a handsome young man with well-built physical structure as he worked in agricultural fields for years before he found the ‘opportunity’ of a job in Saudi Arabia. When he went to Kuwait, Istiak found to have been provided a rather luxurious life in comparing to what he has lived since his childhood in Bangladesh. The employer provided him a room at the top floor of his mansion and his job was to keep the house clean. Things were ‘excellent’ for him for first 18 days after he arrived in Kuwait. Then at one evening, his employer did not come back home. Istiak was asked by his employer’s third wife to clean her bedroom right after the supper. The Bangladeshi Youngman innocently went in her room as per instructions and started mopping the floor. At one stage, he was horrified to see that the employer’s wife locked the door and went to take shower, asking Istiak not to leave the room. Few minutes later she entered the room by in a panty and short bikini with an ulterior motive of seducing his. He was asked to massage olive oil in her body. Istiak had no option left but to obey her orders in fear of loosing job. Once he started massaging oil, she suddenly grabbed him and forced him into physical relations. The poor man was abused sexually for the whole night and things ended in the morning with some cash incentives to the domestic servant for the ‘extra duty’ of the night. This was the beginning of horror for the young employee as he was subsequently forced to provide similar ‘services’ to most of the wives of the Saudi businessman. In a letter written to one of his close friends in Bangladesh, Istiak narrated such stories and told that he was desperately looking for opportunity to get rid of such notoriety.

Due to hard work as well sexual exploitations, Istiak was becoming physically ill. Nevertheless, he had no room to complaint or even fell the hellish situation.  But, worst things were even waiting for him. One day, right before lunch, one of the seven wives of the Kuwaiti man invited Istiak to her bed room and when they were in extreme intimate situation, suddenly the house master came back home and knocked the door. They wife hurriedly wore clothes and opened the door thus complaining of being attempted to have been raped by the domestic servant. The Saudi employer was angry and called the police instantly. The story ended with Istiak being executed for adultery thus letting the real story of him of being rather sexually exploited by the wives of his employer.

We can also look into the sordid story of 21-year-old Bangladeshi women Rina [not real name], who went to Saudi Arabia as hospital nurse at the age of 17. Her parents managed the money to send Rina abroad in search of good fortune. After working in a hospital for almost three months, Rina came into the attention of her Saudi employer who offered her double the salary to work at his house to look after his elderly mother. She accepted the offer and left her job in the hospital to join her employer’s domestic job. But, on the second night, some time in the late hours, Rina realized that her employer was already in her bed room. He was looking for physical pleasure with her. But, this was something she never wanted as she was not married yet and did not want to lose her virginity. She tried initially to convince her employer with words saying rape was seriously against Koran and it is one of the worst crimes in religion. But, the employer was drunk and had no intention of leaving her untouched. He forcibly took off her clothes and raped her for consecutive five times, and left her in blood and unconscious condition. This was the very beginning of her nightmare when she had to allow her employer to use her almost every night. Few months later, the Arab employer had another girl from India for the same domestic services as Rina was hired for and she was sent back to Bangladesh with an amount of US$ 2,000 as salary and the cost of her virginity. Two years later she came back from Saudi Arabia, Rina died in a local hospital because of Aids.

Human rights groups have highlighted human trafficking problems in Arabi countries for years but in recent years Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates were downgraded to Tier-3, the lowest level of compliance. The report evaluates countries' efforts in fighting the trafficking of roughly 800,000, mostly women and children, forced into servitude or the sex trade every year, often lured with false promises of work or other benefits.

The downgrade ranks the four Arab Gulf States with such countries as Myanmar and Sudan as well as Cuba, Ecuador and Venezuela. Bolivia, Equatorial Guinea and Jamaica.  Cambodia and Togo were also downgraded to Tier-3 in recent years. Tier-3 lists nations that  “do not fully comply with the minimum standards (laid down by U.S. law) and are not making significant efforts to do so.'' Officials from the Gulf countries have made no comment on the downgrade for a de facto promotion of slavery.

Slaves to the Arab Gulf States are imported mostly from Asia to serve as domestic servants and laborers, women prostitutes and boy camel jockeys as young as three, according to the annual report. The report cited the case of a 17-year-old orphan, Lusa, who was kidnapped from Uzbekistan and sold into a slavery ring in the United Arab Emirates. She was eventually “no longer usable'' as a prostitute and the Emirates' immigration service said she should serve a two-year prison sentence for entering the country illegally.

Saudi Arabia is accused of having turned a blind eye to the problem of poor or low-skilled workers brought into the country and exploited, or who go there voluntarily but find themselves in ''involuntary servitude.'' Saudi employers or members of their families physically and sexually abuse migrants, withhold pay and travel documents and use migrant children as forced beggars, the report said. ''We have domestic workers being brought in from many countries into domestic servitude, child beggars, a lot of beatings, reports of beatings and rape.''

Worst stories are not only coming from the ordinary employers in the Arab countries, but even from those dictatorial monarchs. We all have heard about those nasty stories inside Arab palaces within ‘most-restricted’ Princess of royal families. It is needless to mention as to how much ‘naughty’ the Arab kings and Princes are. Sexual abuse is possibly one of the very regular stories inside the palaces, just like morning breakfast. But, also we need to know the brutalities in the palaces with the poor domestic helps.

In 1991, two servants of Prince Saad Bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud and his wife, Princess Noora, who lived on two floors of the Ritz-Carlton in Houston, filed a lawsuit against the prince. They said they were held for five months against their will, "by means of unlawful threats, intimidation and physical force." They claimed say they were only partially paid, were denied medical treatment, and suffered mental, physical and sexual abuse.

In 1988, the Saudi defense attaché in Washington, Colonel Abdulrahman S. Al-Banyan, employed a Thai domestic worker until she escaped his house by crawling out a window. She later said that she had been imprisoned there, did not get enough food, and was not paid. Her work contract specified that she could not leave the house or make telephone calls without her employer's permission.

In 1982, a Miami judge issued a warrant to search Prince Turki Bin Abdul Aziz's 24th-floor penthouse to determine if he was holding an Egyptian woman, Nadia Lutefi Mustafa, against her will. Mr. Turki and his French bodyguards prevented a search from taking place, then won retroactive diplomatic immunity to forestall any legal unpleasantness.

Bahrain is one of the alluring destinations for women and men who migrate legally but fall victim to conditions of sexual servitude, debt bondage or conditions of work that constitute involuntary servitude. The government does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking.

Bahraini law does not criminalize homosexual relationships between consenting adults aged 21 and over. The adult prevalence rate of persons with HIV/AIDS is reported at 0.2%, with fewer than 600 people said to be living with HIV/AIDS. Most of the Bangladeshi workers [especially female], who went to Bahrain with employment had been sexually abused by their employers and came back home with numerous nightmares of such incidents.
But, do the Arabs in general feel ashamed of what they are doing with the poor workers employed from foreign countries especially those Muslim nations? The reply is, certainly not. Because, the Arabs consider non-Arab Muslims as a kind of inferior creatures. They believe that, by sexually or otherwise abusing these poor Muslims, they commit no crime.

Posted on 22 Aug 2007 by Root


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