A popular blog “Life In Saudi Arabia” run by someone going by the alias “Steve Jobs” has written a repulsively racist article attacking Pakistanis. In the racist rant he/she spews so much filth one begins to wonder whether he/she even stopped to think about the consequences of his/her drivel. Judging by the fact that they have hidden their name, they may have realised their views are against the norm but can’t face the consequences of their own writing.
In the opinion piece titled “5 Irritating Habits of Pakistanis living in Saudi Arabia” (later updated to 6 and then 7 irritating habits) they repeatedly say its only some Pakistanis who have these habits not all – a line every racist uses to rationalise their racism. Articles written against the Jewish people in the run up to World War 2, articles against Black people in the 50’s in the USA and articles written against Muslims by right-wing fascists in the USA today all have one unifying factor: They all say “We are not saying all X are the same”. They believe this grants them a clean ticket to to spew racism.
None is more virtuous over another except by righteous deeds
– Prophet Muhammad ﷺ
The rant then starts getting worse as it goes on. Apparently Pakistanis in Saudi Arabia have the following irritating habits: Liking food, speaking with an accent, sighing at heat, spitting, comparing two countries, being perverts and stinking like hell (yes they actually wrote that!). If it isn’t clear enough that this person was living on some other planet, they used a picture of an Indian as the feature image of the article! (India and Pakistan have a historical rivalry, which pretty much the entire world is aware of).
Saudis were quick to condemn the article across social media. Saudi news site Riyadh Connect condemned the article as “Extremely racist and distasteful”. In a comment they encouraged people to report them to Facebook.
In the comments underneath the original article, almost every single comment condemned the author.
Is a Muslim Ever Permitted to be Racist?
During the very early days of Islam when some pre-Islamic habits were still lingering, one companion of the Prophet (ﷺ) named Abu Dharr (رضي الله عنه) was arguing with Bilal (رضي الله عنه) and said “O son of a black woman!”. When the Prophet (ﷺ) found out he became very angry and the Prophet (ﷺ) refused to even look at Abu Dharr (رضي الله عنه). Abu Dharr (رضي الله عنه) noticed the anger of the Prophet (ﷺ) and asked “O Messenger of Allah, have you turned away because of something you have been told?”
The Prophet’s (ﷺ) reply canonised Islam’s attitude towards racism forever. He (ﷺ) said “Have you reproached Bilal about his mother? By the one who revealed the Book to Muhammad, none is more virtuous over another except by righteous deeds. You have none but an insignificant amount”
Abu Dharr’s (رضي الله عنه) world shattered. He ran to Bilal (رضي الله عنه) overcome with remorse and tears in his eyes. When he saw Bilal (رضي الله عنه), Abu Dharr (رضي الله عنه) placed his head on the ground and swore not to raise his head until Bilal (رضي الله عنه) placed his foot on his cheek. Bilal (رضي الله عنه) raised him up with his hands and embraced him, saying all is forgiven.
Racism in Saudi Arabia
Although racism does exist in Saudi Arabia towards minorities such as Pakistanis, recently King Salman took tough action against his own nephew when he used a vulgar racist term on TV. The derogatory term “Tarsh Bahar” which is used against immigrants meaning “sea vomit” or “the remains of pilgrims” is equal in vulgarity to the “N word” in the USA. King Salman issued a media ban on his nephew and stated that all Saudis are equal.
Recently we saw a Saudi Prince was executed the same as any other citizen would be in Saudi Arabia. King Salman then went on to say no one, not even the King, is above the law. This echoed his statement when he became King and asked citizens to write to him if they had been oppressed and he will give them their due even if it is against his own children, grandchildren or others from the royal household.
It is my sincere hope that the person cowering behind the alias “Steve Jobs” steps up and makes tawbah and apologises to Pakistanis for the offence he has caused. You can Tweet this blog by clicking here or comment on their Facebook page by clicking here. Give them a piece of your mind. Let them know what they said is out right wrong.