Mohammed Ansar on Islam and Slavery; Poverty within OIC

Ansar has stated the Council of Ex Muslims Britain (CEMB) had taken out of context a tweet he made regarding slavery. I asked if he would take a tweet pic of the twitter conversation to put it in context. He declined saying it was searchable.

Which indeed it is here.

His tweet was:

MoAnsar Mohammed Ansar
@holland_tom If slaves are treated justly, with full rights, and no oppression whatsoever… why would anyone object, Tom? July 15, 2012 10 retweets #


The link he quotes on slavery and Islam can be found here. In a nutshell though denied their freedom (though they could work towards it) slaves were not to be starved, killed or even introduced by their master as being their slave to others. This is placed in contrast to the colonial conquest and slave trade.

However, the article neglects that slaves under Islam were still the property of the owner, despite these rights as to their treatment and status. Eventual possible freedom in turn fuelled demand for new slaves, and a slave trade in buying and selling. Yet religious laws in Judaism and Christianity can be argued to have similar ideas regarding rights for slaves while still regarding people as property. However benign the master, he owns a person – which is an anathema to human rights.

The ownership of a person is oppression.

This is the reason why people have been critical of Ansar’s tweet. The suggestion that there is no objection to slavery if certain rights and treatment are given misses that what at the outset makes slavery degrading and inhumane is the ownership of one person on another. That objection now alone to such a concept would make the Koran wrong in our eyes.

What Ansar suggests in his tweet, and in the article he quoted in the ensuing conversation, is that slavery was unobjectionable because of how under Islam they were treated then. He mentions further in the conversation:

MoAnsar Mohammed Ansar
@VijayPandya1 @holland_tom And Islam, quite rightly the concept of ‘slave’ as we know it in the West is anathema.

Owning a person is an anathema – even with the Koran allowing slave ownership.

I did invite Ansar to share the twitter conversation link and above photo in a Retweet. His failure to do so has meant writing this blog to share what he said and the source he quoted in context.

The article does wag the finger at colonialism subjugating other countries as being the same as slavery. Yet Islam spread by means of homogenising conquered countries from a successful military campaign. In short, war as part of the human story is one that plays throughout history. Flattering no one when the inhumanity of conquest is examined.

Modern slavery has been estimated to be somewhere between 20 million to 300 million people. To put that in context that is more than ancient times (though proportionally smaller to population compared to then). The suggestion is the little monetary value placed on these modern slaves makes their condition even more grave. BBC

End Slavery Now (Charity)

Poverty in Islamic Countries and Economics

The article ends:

To those who say, now there is no slavery, we say look into the faces of the earth’s poor peasants, striving to grow (in an increasingly barren soil) commodities which are not food for themselves but luxuries for the rich, and only if they have grown enough of these, have they some hope of buying something to eat-but there are still millions of others too poor to be poor peasants, who live upon mountains of urban rubbish, earn from it, eat from it. If you study the expressions of such people, locked in endless, fruitless toil, you will understand that slavery is not an evil that Western civilisation has eradicated, rather one which Western civilization has ably disguised and distanced from itself.

Such poverty is indeed shameful. However, that is not slavery in the sense of being the property of someone else. It is though a part of not treating people with fundamental human rights. Slavery has not disappeared just because it is outlawed. The owning of people is still a serious problem – one that needs to be tackled and not confused with abject poverty as slaves of western capitalism.

Yet where do such abject poor people live?

Against these global benchmarks, 400 million of the 1 billion people estimated to be in absolute poverty lived in 31 of the 56 OIC [Organisation for Islamic Cooperation] member states, i.e. 40% of the world’s poor live in the Muslim countries. In relative terms out of 975 million people living in these countries 400 million or 40 percent are below the absolute poverty line. In other words, the incidence of poverty in this 56 OIC member countries in twice the average for the developing world. The Makkah Declaration was therefore quite timely in calling for action to meet critical challenge facing Ummah. [Source]

The stat above is one that should cause consternation and shame in the Muslim world.

Looking at advice given to the Organisation for Islamic Cooperation the economic policy advocating to end poverty is a sensible proactive strategy:

… there are some fundamental economic principles and practices that do have a positive correlation with economic growth. These include macroeconomic stability, trade openness, market competition, investment in human development and infrastructure, quality of institutions and good governance.

The OIC/ IDB Poverty Reduction Strategy is built around four dimensions which go beyond income alone. These dimensions are:

a) Opportunities – lack of access to the labour market, employment opportunity, mobility problems and time binders.

b) Capabilities – lack of access to public services such as health and education.

c) Security – vulnerability to economic risks and to civil and domestic violence.

d) Empowerment – being without voice and without power at the household, community and national levels. [Source]

Hopefully such things will be put into practise. Thankfully no mention of slavery as a means to ending poverty. Or trying to lay the blame outside of the governments who should be looking after their citizens.

Note to email subscribers: somehow WordPress app deleted this blog which led me to have to republish. Hence you receiving twice.

UPDATE: 6/5/2013 Mo Ansar declines to reply after saying he would – but finally provides tweet pic I asked for.

UPDATE 15/3/2013 video Lawrence Krauss on Incest from debate

Article written by John Sargeant on Homo economicus’ Weblog

Follow @JPSargeant78


Filed under Religion

3 responses to “Mohammed Ansar on Islam and Slavery; Poverty within OIC

  1. Sexual slavery is in some eyes permissable in Islam. Perhaps why Boko Haram has used it to justify their kidnapping and trafficking of those poor young girls. You can see more here:

    Strange that Mo has been so silent on the matter since this has happened. Does he not have conviction in his beliefs?

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