Racism in 100% Islamic Maldives rivals that in Nazi Germany


23 January 2009

Bangladeshi dormitory in the Maldives
Bangladeshi dormitory in Malé. Three workers cram on a bed in a low ceiling room.
They sleep in shifts

Khadija, a client in the waiting room of the Malé Health Centre told Haveeru Daily that she was there to vaccinate a child and that she was dissatisfied because of the large number of foreigners who share the services of the Centre.

"When we come to vaccinate our young babies it is unsatisfactory to have to sit next to dirty foreigners", Khadija told Haveeru.

If one thought this type of unashamed, blatant racism ended with Apartheid in South Africa, one is absolutely wrong. It is alive and well in the Maldives, where slavery is still enforceable under the Islamic Sharia law, very much in force even now. Foreign guest workers are treated with utmost contempt in the Maldives, a self declared, 100% Islamic state.

Slaves for sale in an Islamic slave market
Goods for sale in an Islamic slave market less than a hundred years ago. Such scenes are still common in Darfur. Slavery was never abolished in the Maldives. Islamic Sharia law, which permits slavery, is still enforceable. This writer has seen a second generation slave in the 1970s. The last African-born slave, Baburu Amina Fulu, died in the 1940s. African slaves were purchased in markets such as this in locations in Arabia. Until the defeat of the Ottoman Empire in World War I, a steady stream of white slaves were imported for sex from the Ottoman territories in Europe.

A Maldivian who recently posted a comment in Dhivehi Observer lamented the fact that fellow Muslim Bangladeshis are mistreated. Non-Muslim guest workers are generally regarded as scum not worthy of even a mention. An increasing number of Maldivians are migrating to the West where they demand equal treatment with locals. They demand, and receive the right to be able to worship in mosques, which is a reciprocal right denied non-Muslims in the Maldives. Non-Muslims living in the Maldives, mainly guest workers from Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka and the Philippines, are denied the right to worship in their own temples, synagogues and churches.

My family kept ducks for meat and eggs when I was a child in Malé. Our ducks were treated better than these foreign guest workers.

Letter in Dhivehi Observer

we shud stand against these kinds of anti humanism activities.. even though they are bangalhees still they all are human beings..aprt from all most of them are muslims so we shud be ashamed to treat as such to our "akh" while being muslims

Our reply

I find the following statement by an anonymous writer on the treatment of guest workers from low-income countries as outrageous:

"aprt from all most of them are muslims so we shud be ashamed to treat as such to our "akh" while being muslims".

Don't non-Muslim human beings deserve being treated according to the international norms of decency to which the Maldives is a state party in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights? The anonymous writer implies that Maldivians ought to be ashamed of the shabby treatment Bangladeshis receive only because the Bangladeshis are Muslims.

I ask the anonymous writer to put himself in the shoes of a Muslim worker from the Maldives working alongside a Christian worker from the Philippines in the United States, for example. What will the anonymous writer feel if an American colleague said as follows of the Filipino?

"We have two guest workers in this organisation, one is a Filipino Christian and the other is a Maldive Muslim. We Americans ought to be ashamed of treating our Filipino Christian brother shabbily".

The fact is that an average American would not even think in those terms. They are decent and treat human beings as humans. They won't even dream of treating someone who doesn't share their religious beliefs as "apes and swine".

If Maldivians wish to be part of the civilised world they will have to respect and treat all human beings with respect; not just Muslims. All human beings living in the Maldives, local and foreign, must be treated according to the Maldives' obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

Consistent with the Middle East

The abuse of guest workers from low-income countries in the Maldives has startling parallels in the Middle East. The oil crisis of the 1970s in which Arab countries hiked oil prices to penalise Western consumers for their support of Israel brought incredible wealth to impoverished Arab Islamic states of the Persian Gulf.

The newly rich Arabs used their wealth to import domestic labour from countries such as Sri Lanka and Indonesia. Horrific tales of abuse at the hands of Islamic employers have emerged from the Middle East.

The tourism boom in the Maldives, with the resulting inflow of wealth from the West, has meant that just about every household in the Maldives, from villages to high-rise apartment blocks in Malé now boasts at least one guest worker servant.

Nur MIyati in hospital
Nur Miyati, a 25 year old maid from Indonesia was so brutally tied up by her Saudi employees for a month, without food, that she required multiple amputations for gangrene. The woman of the household knocked Miyati's teeth out after accusing her of violating the Islamic dress code. An Islamic Sharia court in Saudi Arabia acquitted Miyati's employers. The Islamic court found Miyati inflicted the injuries herself and charged her with falsely accusing her employees.

Like Saudi Arabia, the Maldive courts enforce Islamic law.