Popular Kuwaiti beauty blogger complains about liberalized laws for guest workers (aka slaves); claims criticism is “Islamophobic”

This new article from The Independent highlights two aspects of Middle Eastern religious culture: the fact that a form of indentured slavery exists there, and that Muslims who are criticized for this little-known fact will cry “Islamophobia” to excuse it. (Click on screenshot to read the article.)

As the International Labour Organization reports, there are “32 million international migrants in the Gulf region,” and of those about 600,000 of these are victims of forced labor—that is, slavery. A quote:

Migrant workers make up the majority of the population in Bahrain, Oman, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates (and more than 80 per cent of the population in Qatar and the United Arab Emirates); while in construction and domestic work in Gulf States, migrant workers make up over 95 per cent of the work force.

The system of labor contracts with foreigners in the Middle East is called the kafala system, and operates in the UAE, Jordan, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and Bahrain. As the preceding link documents, this is often akin to slavery, though with some wages (often not much at all). A worker is permitted into these countries only with a sponsor, who often takes away the employee’s passport, making them unable to leave freely. Sometimes they get no wages at all, but have to lie about that to finally leave the country. Working conditions are often horrible, with no days off and long hours. As Wikipedia notes:

About 1.2 million foreign workers in Qatar, mostly from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, and the Philippines, make up 94 percent of the labor force. There are nearly five foreign workers for each Qatari citizen, mostly housemaids and low-skilled workers.

Most of the workers labor under near-feudal conditions that Human Rights Watch has likened to “forced labor“. Sharan Burrow, General Secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation, stated “In late 2010 we conducted a risk assessment looking at basic fundamental labor rights. The Gulf region stood out like a red light. They were absolutely at the bottom end for rights for workers. They were fundamentally slave states. An exit visa system prevents workers from leaving the country without the sponsor’s permission. Employer consent is required to change jobs, leave the country, get a driver’s license, rent a home or open a checking account. Amnesty International witnessed workers signing false statements that they had received their wages in order to have their passports returned. The organization called for an overhaul of the ‘sponsorship’ system. Arab-American businessman Nasser Beydoun described their situation as: “Foreign workers in Qatar are modern-day slaves to their local employers. The local Qatari owns you.” International media attention increased after Qatar was named the host of the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

The kafala or sponsorship system practised by GCC nations has been stated as the main reason for abuse of the rights of low-income migrant workers.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) has frequently criticized the kafala system, yet it’s rarely mentioned—and perhaps not well known—among Western liberals who defend Middle Eastern countries, especially in comparison to Israel’s so-called “apartheid state.” But what is more apartheid than this latter-day form of slavery? Remember, MOST of the workers in many Middle Eastern states are under labor contracts, many of them unfair and exploitative.

Kuwait, which has 660,000 migrant workers, passed a liberalization law in 2015 that, according to HRW, “grants domestic workers the right to a weekly day off, 30 days of annual paid leave, a 12-hour working day with rest, and an end-of-service benefit of one month a year at the end of the contract, among other rights.”  That means that many workers were, before that, working with no days off, no annual paid leave, and were working more than twelve hours a day,. These are inhumane conditions, especially considering the life of ease their employers have. But HRW notes that the new law doesn’t go far enough, leaving many workers vulnerable to exploitation.

That’s part I. In part II, a popular Kuwait beauty blogger, obviously living the life of Riley, kvetches about the law because it makes things too easy for migrants. As the Independent story reports:

The beauty blogger who sparked outrage after complaining about new laws giving migrant workers better rights has refused to apologise for her remarks, instead accusing her critics of attacking Islam, the hijab and Kuwait.

Sondos al-Qattan has attracted global condemnation since she posted a video to Instagram last week in which she expressed frustration at newly implemented changes to Kuwait’s kafala system, which now mean Filipino migrant workers can keep control of their own passports and have the right to four days off a month.

“How can you have a servant at home who gets to keep their passport with them? If they ran away and went back to their country, who’ll refund me?” Ms Qattan said in the now deleted post.

“I don’t want a Filipino maid anymore.”

Despite widespread criticism pointing out Ms Qattan’s woeful understanding of migrant labour abuse in the Gulf state, and the fact that several leading beauty brands, including Max Factor Arabia, have severed ties, the Kuwaiti social media star has repeatedly defended her remarks.

In a new video posted to her now private Twitter account on Thursday, Ms Qattan called the backlash to her comments a “foreign media campaign” designed to attack Islam, the hijab, Kuwait and the wider Gulf region.

“Of course I did not have to offer any apology, because I was telling the truth.

“Keeping a domestic worker’s passport is deemed an enslavement and racism [by these people]. Why judge me [over keeping] my worker’s passport, with the aim of ensuring my safety?

“These people express more outrage over my remarks than they have over humanitarian crises and massacres in Syria, Iraq and Gaza. Are these humanitarian values?”

Ms Qattan also called on her 2.3 million Instagram followers to boycott the brands that have dropped her sponsorship deals.

The Internet is forever. Here’s al-Qattan’s removed video complaining about the easing of Kuwaiti slavery (with English translations; there’s some repetition):

I don’t have the video in which al-Qattan accuses her critics of Islamophobia, but I assume the Independent has verified its existence. And it’s execrable. First we have a hijabi beauty blogger, who clearly makes a lot of dosh off her popularity despite the fact that the hijab is supposed to hide women’s beauty from men, which is a bizarre and somewhat hypocritical situation. Then the blogger complains about her servant getting one day a week off and being allowed to keep her (the servant’s) passport? It’s just a defense of slavery, and al-Qattan was rightly called out and lost sponsors.

Her responding cry of “Islamophobia,” of course, is a familiar defense against justified criticism of religiously-inspired malfeasance. We need to stop taking it seriously in cases like this, as there is simply no bigotry in criticizing slavery conducted by Muslim employers. Indeed, those employers are bigots, for they think of their employees/servants as a lower species of human, not entitled to minimal dignity or privileges.

The two words that Leftists hate to be called these days, and will cower in fear (and give in) rather than be called them, are “racist” and “Islamophobe”. It is this cowering that enables the Control-Left to wield such power. Fortunately, in al-Qattan’s case, nobody’s buying it.

Here’s one of her beauty videos, should you be so inclined:

h/t: Grania

70 Comments

  1. GBJames
    Posted July 27, 2018 at 10:00 am | Permalink

    sub

  2. Randall Schenck
    Posted July 27, 2018 at 10:03 am | Permalink

    I believe the Philippines has provided a continuous stream of workers/slaves for Middle East countries for years. It should be getting a lot more press than it does. As usual these days, the U.S. does not have a whole lot of room to condemn this practice even if they wanted. I even get somewhat discussed to see these commercials by local politicians competing to see who will be harder on immigration while getting all their lawn work and house cleaning done by these same immigrates.

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted July 27, 2018 at 10:06 am | Permalink

      sorry – disgusted

    • James
      Posted July 27, 2018 at 11:34 am | Permalink

      There’s some substantial differences, though. The workers in the Middle East are typically lied to in order to trick them into coming. Only upon arrival do they realize that they are now slaves. In the USA, everyone pretty much knows the working conditions that Mexican immigrants face. I’ve spoken with some workers who haven’t exactly crossed the their Is and dotted all their Ts on the immigration forms, and they considered the “harsh” conditions to be better than those they left back south of the boarder.

      That’s not to say that slave-like working conditions don’t exist in the USA. They certainly do. But they are not defended by the laws of the land, and are not the normal conditions immigrants face. I have not worked with a single construction company that confiscates passports; in fact, most companies I know of want as little to do with the workers as possible, to prevent blowback when the immigration status of these workers is discovered.

      I’m not saying the USA is doing the right thing, or that our politicians are hypocrites. What I’m saying is that there’s a pretty big gulf between “Not comfortable by the standards of middle-class folks” and “slavery in all but name”.

      • Randall Schenck
        Posted July 27, 2018 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

        That is all well and good but to say we are better than slave holders is not saying much. I also remind anyone of what we are currently doing and have been doing at our border. There are currently 700 to 900 children without parents and may never see them again, all courtesy of our govt. our president. Those people coming from the Philippines pretty much know exactly what happens to them in the middle east. Word comes back, some people come back. They go because they are desperate and their family needs money to live.

        When we are separating families at the border, little kids even, what the hell are we.

        • mikeyc
          Posted July 27, 2018 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

          Come on, Randall, migrant workers in the US are not treated well to be sure (as they are not anywhere in the world) but there is simply no comparison to slavery either of the modern Middle Eastern variety or the one with our own special sauce.

          Most migrant workers here in the US for example, are able to send significant amounts of money back to their families, many in Mexico but also many in other parts of Central and South America. They also face no restrictions on their ability to move and, if properly documented, have a clear path to citizenship.

          We as a people have a long way to go to recognizing and doing something about the inequities that come down onto migrant workers here, but in no way are they slaves nor we slavers.

          • Jenny Haniver
            Posted July 27, 2018 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

            Addressed to “James” and “Mikeyc.” There most certainly is indentured servitude (and effectually slavery) in the US, but it flies under the radar, and the deceptive tactics used to recruit and keep people are the same as those used on the Arabian peninsula. There was an infamous case here in Berkeley, where foreign employees at a popular Indian restaurant were brought here and then kept in bondage. And parts of Oakland are notorious for sexual trafficking; some young girls have been abducted from bus stops. Do not think that we’re above such practices, either for labor or sex. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_trafficking_in_the_United_States

            • James
              Posted July 27, 2018 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

              I am aware that these things occur. I even mentioned it in my post. I am not condoning them. However, there are three things to consider here:

              1) They do not occur at the same scale in the USA as in the Middle East, because

              2) Such things are ILLEGAL in the USA, while they are LEGAL AND ENCOURAGED in the Middle East. That is not an insignificant difference, yet that difference is being ignored here in order to create a false moral equivalence.

              3) Last I checked, tu quoque is still a fallacy. That similar things occur in the USA in no way at all means that we can’t object to them happening in other parts of the nation. It means we should clean up our house, sure–but we can still object to these things happening elsewhere.

              • Jenny Haniver
                Posted July 27, 2018 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

                By no means was I making a tu quoque argument; how did you come by that fallacious conclusion?

                True such things are illegal in he US and not encouraged; while the kafala system is in legal effect across the Arabian peninsula. In my reading, the kafala system does not explicitly legalize indentured servitude or slavery; however it doesn’t protect against it, and abuse is de rigueur. This is a significant difference on paper, but not to those being trafficked; furthermore, to play up that fact, IMO gives license to ignore these domestic transgressions, and creates a false sense that we here in the US are above such things. When, in fact, it should make us more alert and attentive, and eager to put a stop to such things whenever and wherever we can.

                The illegality is not a mitigating factor to me. And unless a big operation is uncovered, I wonder just how much such things are investigated in the US. Even with large scale abuse in the US, such practices are often known to local authorities, who turn a blind eye and because of their own xenophopic predilections don’t care about the welfare of foreign workers. The abduction of girls off the streets of Oakland by pimps for sexual trafficking is frequently ignored, doesn’t make the papers, because the girls are low-income African Americans (or other minorities, the police don’t usually give a damn, and are engaged in their own sexual exploitation of minors.

              • Jenny Haniver
                Posted July 27, 2018 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

                I was not making a tu toque argument in the sense that pointing out a comparison, that we commit the same crimes, means that we cannot criticize others. I was making an observation, that’s all, and I don’t think that the logical conclusion to pointing out such things means that I’m asserting that we have no right to criticize anybody else since were’guilty, too, albeit it is explicitly illegal and far less widespread. If that were the case, one could never engage in negative comparisons that weren’t fallacious. Of course, such comparisons are frequently used to kill an argument, but to jump to the conclusion that I meant the comparison in that sense is to engage in wishful thinking, and to commit a few other errors of logic. When and if I mean to convey that sense, I’ll state it explicitly, thank you.

            • Heather Hastie
              Posted July 27, 2018 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

              +1. The US is possibly the worst offender in the developed world, though there are issues everywhere.

              It also has the worst labour laws in the developed world, especially for those not in white collar jobs.

              • James
                Posted July 27, 2018 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

                “The US is possibly the worst offender in the developed world…”

                I’ve not seen any evidence to this effect. Part of the problem is defining what constitutes good working conditions–the USA has always been blasted in the international scene for having horrific working conditions (we used to SAIL! on SUNDAYS!), but those folks ignored the fact that the USA took pride in those things we were blasted for.

              • Heather Hastie
                Posted July 27, 2018 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

                I think many in the US do still take pride in the things I would criticize. I’ve seen politicians on both sides of the aisle defend the status quo. And there are some in countries like mine that would like to see workers have less rights.

                I’m sticking with my opinion though. Imo everyone does better when there’s not such a gulf between employers and employees.

                Studies show that most USians don’t realize just how uneven the income distribution is in their country these days, and it’s getting worse. If you prefer an economic model like Russia where there is an excessive proportion of billionaires and most people can barely make ends meet, that’s the way things are currently moving in the US.

              • Jenny Haniver
                Posted July 27, 2018 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

                I stand with you, Heather, in all you say in this thread. Perhaps James did not encounter any abuses in his experience, and perhaps such abuses are more difficult to effect in construction work, but it sure happens in domestic situations, as well as working in the fields and at large production plants, where workers can be sequestered in special habitations. And with more and more protections being taken away from grunt workers, goodness knows what’ll happen when companies such as Foxconn get deals for plants in the US — workers in their plants kill themselves.

              • mikeyc
                Posted July 27, 2018 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

                Worst offender of what, Heather? Income inequality? Maybe, but so what. I, at least, was addressing a claim about slavery. Randall tried to equate the problems migrants have here with the slavery that occurs in some parts of the Middle East. Those people can’t leave, are not free to move about as they wish, don’t have time off, often aren’t paid for their work, have limited legal rights, etc. None of that is true of the migrant workers Randall was referring to.

                You and Jenny can parse out illegal and not-illegal whatabouts that go on here, but the fact remains that migrant workers here simply cannot be called slaves, without that word losing all meaning. The people here who are trapped in slavery are the victims of a crime and are a tiny fraction of migrant workers (some of the places in the article above are said to have over 90% of their laborers as these kinds of slaves).

                Illegality of slavery here can’t be swept under the rug just so one can claim that we are guilty of the same thing that happens in Qatar. The illegal slavery that occurs here is supported by both the culture and laws of some middle eastern countries but it is NOT here.

                I’ll give you guys this – America does suck and it’s getting suckier by the day. But it doesn’t suck in this way,

              • Heather Hastie
                Posted July 28, 2018 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

                I do see your point mate, and I’m not trying to attack you. There’s no doubt whatsoever (and I’m sure Randall and “Jenny” would agree) that the ME is much worse than the US, and that the US does have laws against this happening. It’s just that it does happen in the US, and I mean actual slavery where illegal immigrants become slaves, and the problem is more extensive than many realize. Many people (obviously not you) don’t even know it’s happening, and the main reason I’m commenting in this thread is the hope that maybe a couple more people who didn’t know before will find out. As with most bad things, the best way to stop them is awareness.

          • James
            Posted July 27, 2018 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

            “….migrant workers in the US are not treated well to be sure…..”

            One of the confounding factors that is rarely discussed in these discussions is what conditions were like where these people came from. It’s the same with sweat shops–everyone looks at the conditions, says “I’d never work there”, and leaves it at that. The reality is that the conditions we consider horrible are so much better than the conditions much of humanity lives in that sweat shops, migrant work, and the like are considered good alternatives. Sure, we could do better–we could give them 40 hour work weeks and benefits and the like–but we do need to keep the context that these people are living in in mind.

            In other words: Most of the objections I’ve seen to migrant workers’ working conditions are from the middle-class perspective. The perspective of the workers routinely gets ignored. That’s problematic.

            • Heather Hastie
              Posted July 27, 2018 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

              No, it’s not. I agree that the workers are prepared to put up with the conditions because they’re better than what they’re used to. However, that doesn’t make it okay to treat them badly in the US (or any other developed nation) imo.

              However, we should be a bit more careful when criticizing other countries. Some conditions that are bad in our eyes are good in theirs. There are things that happen that aren’t acceptable, but many do their best by their workers by the standards in their own countries. As the countries develop more, they should be expected to improve though.

              The US is way behind where it should be in the treatment of workers considering it’s stage of economic development. I think it’s the only country that doesn’t guarantee parental leave for all, it has the lowest level of guaranteed annual leave, and (though I’m not sure if this is still true but it was a few years ago) some employers aren’t even required to provide toilets/handwashing facilities.

              • James
                Posted July 27, 2018 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

                “However, we should be a bit more careful when criticizing other countries. ”

                And this is the heart of the matter, isn’t it?

                There’s no real justification for bringing the USA into this discussion. The issue is “Is the way certain countries in the Middle East good?” The answer is no, at least as far as I can see. Whether the USA is guilty of these same faults is 100% irrelevant; whether we are or not has no possible rational bearing on the morality of what these other countries are doing.

                The only reason to bring the USA up at all is to establish an equivalence. It’s either to diminish the USA, or protect the Middle East. I don’t particularly care which, either one is pretty sad, and honestly quite boring in its monotony.

              • Heather Hastie
                Posted July 27, 2018 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

                I didn’t bring the US up, but you’re right. It’s whataboutery. The fact the US sucks doesn’t make what the Middle East is doing okay, and they clearly suck a much bigger kumara. (Kiwi saying – suck the kumara = bad/stupid etc.)

              • Posted August 9, 2018 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

                I think we definitely should criticize other countries, especially when citizens of these countries have a problem seeing the outrage of what they are doing.

            • Rita
              Posted July 27, 2018 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

              James, maybe you need to get out and actually talk to some of the migrant workers here, ask what THEY think about their living conditions.

              • James
                Posted July 27, 2018 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

                I worked on construction sites in the Southwest for half a decade. This statement is laughable.

              • mikeyc
                Posted July 27, 2018 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

                And have you spoken to any Rita? Did any of them tell you they were slaves?

            • Jenny Haniver
              Posted July 27, 2018 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

              Gag me with a spoon, as we used to say. That argument of the relativity of poverty is so offensive, even if it’s true that some poor, disenfranchised people have it somewhat better than other poor. disenfranchised people. It also smacks to me of — ‘well, those people ae used to living in squalor, so something a bit less squalorous is fine for them. Hell no, sir, and I sure wouldn’t want to work for you.

              • Filippo
                Posted July 27, 2018 at 7:57 pm | Permalink

                For sure, if one works for another human primate private corporate tyrant in the United States, at the very least one is a servant.

      • Posted July 27, 2018 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

        I wasn’t aware that Kuwait was proposing to build a wall to keep slaves out.

        • Randall Schenck
          Posted July 27, 2018 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

          Good. I also did not hear of them separating over 2000 families at the border which is, by the way illegal, and many of these families may never get together again. I guess some people just do not know what has been going on. The administration deadline to put these families back together has expired. Some people in homeland security should be going to jail. I would say James, if from this country has no ground to stand on and compare this crap with slavery? You want to buy a kid that no longer has parents?

  3. peter
    Posted July 27, 2018 at 10:05 am | Permalink

    “Israel’s so-called “apartheid state.””
    Nothing so-called, but definitely apartheid state.
    Referring to Israel serves no purpose in the topic of flagrant violation of human rights in the Gulf.

    • mikeyc
      Posted July 27, 2018 at 10:30 am | Permalink

      “Nothing so-called, but definitely apartheid state.”

      Alright Peter, you’re going to have to defend that claim, otherwise you can be safely ignored as just another boring troll.

    • Malgorzata
      Posted July 27, 2018 at 10:36 am | Permalink

      Refering to Israel when talking about flagrant violation of human rights in the Middle East actually serves a purpose. Attacks on Israel are ubiquitous and relentless but exposing slavery, apertheid policy, persecution of minorities, women, gays etc. in other countries is exceedingly rare. And to call Israel an “apartheid state” shows only that you are very familiar with anti-Israeli propaganda, but not familiar at all with Israel where all citizens are equal in the law, where members of minorities are in all walks of life, inclusive MP in Knesset, Supreme Court judges, high officers in the army. Some “apartheid, indeed.

    • nicky
      Posted July 27, 2018 at 11:46 am | Permalink

      Living in South Africa, and knowing a bit of it’s history, I can confidently say tha Israel, despite it’s warts, is not an apartheid state. If you think so you haven’t got a clue what you’re talking about.
      Note the digression from slavery in the Gulf states to Israel was initiated by Ms Qattar, not by our host.

  4. MKray
    Posted July 27, 2018 at 10:32 am | Permalink

    Under the law of most countries, passports are government property. Is this the case for the Philippines? What is the situation in international law concerning the removal of passports from those to whom they are issued?

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted July 27, 2018 at 10:52 am | Permalink

      That would be the wrong question actually. Who will enforce the international law if the passports are taken illegally?

  5. BJ
    Posted July 27, 2018 at 11:03 am | Permalink

    We’ve known about this for years, and by “we,” I mean the media. Yes, it did get a bunch of attention when Qatar was awarded the World Cup…and that attention disappeared in a matter of weeks because it couldn’t sustain outrage. Large-scale slavery operations still exist in the world, but they’re not in the right places to make people care. If this was happening in a Western nation, or in Israel, the outcry would be constant and brutal, both in much of the media and certain segments of the public.

  6. Posted July 27, 2018 at 11:04 am | Permalink

    Ironically, although the Koran accepts the reality of slavery, the highest good thing one can do is free a slave. To keep people in slavery, or near slavery, is “un-Islamic,” in the sense of being very far from the Islamic ideal.

    Yes, I know Islam accepted slavery and Muslims were major slave traders in Africa for centuries. However, I find calling criticism of (near) slavery un-Islamic to be the height of hypocrisy.

    Or ignorance. I suppose that’s a possibility in this case.

  7. Ken Kukec
    Posted July 27, 2018 at 11:07 am | Permalink

    “living the life of Riley” — There’s a saying ya don’t hear as much as ya usta.

    • BJ
      Posted July 27, 2018 at 11:32 am | Permalink

      It’s a saying I’ve never heard. I had to look it up.

      You old fart.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted July 27, 2018 at 11:49 am | Permalink

        That’s Mister Old Fart to you, sonny. Senescence has its privileges.

        • BJ
          Posted July 27, 2018 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

          I always try to show respect to my elders, Mr. Fart. My parents raised me right 🙂

          • Filippo
            Posted July 27, 2018 at 8:03 pm | Permalink

            A few days ago a student farted in class (as I’m sure they numerously and daily do across the fruited plain – ah, such an exquisite bouquet wafting!). Of course, another student had to announce it to the universe, as if it were not already manifestly evident. 😉

          • Diane G
            Posted July 28, 2018 at 5:33 am | Permalink

            Can’t stop laughing…

      • nicky
        Posted July 27, 2018 at 11:50 am | Permalink

        I hadn’t heard it either, but in the context the meaning was clear. Still looked it up though.

      • Heather Hastie
        Posted July 27, 2018 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

        Can’t be just age. I know the saying well and still hear it, including from people younger than me (54).

        • BJ
          Posted July 27, 2018 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

          I’m just joshin’ Ken, but maybe it’s an old thing here and a Kiwi thing there. Or maybe I just never heard it 🙂

    • Posted July 27, 2018 at 9:19 pm | Permalink

      I know and use that phrase fairly regularly.

      Another one I like is one said to someone who doesn’t pitch in and help out – “Look at you sitting there, like your hands joined church!”.

  8. Ken Kukec
    Posted July 27, 2018 at 11:33 am | Permalink

    “… instead accusing her critics of attacking Islam, the hijab and Kuwait.”

    Empty piety and pious patriotism — the last refuges of scoundrels.

    • Steve Pollard
      Posted July 27, 2018 at 11:45 am | Permalink

      “Attacking Islam”? Many, perhaps most, of these slaves are themselves Muslims. What a hypocrite.

      • James
        Posted July 27, 2018 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

        Not necessarily. It’s entirely possible that the religion is okay with subjugating some of the religion to others. For a long, long time Christian theology was interpreted in exactly this light–serfs were to submit to the clergy and to their lords. (Okay, it’s really a lot more complex, but that’s the 1:1,000,000,000 scale view.) It’s a purely Enlightenment concept that all people are created equal; many, many cultures, including pre-Enlightenment Europe, viewed some as inherently and intrinsically inferior to others.

        Note that I’m not defending this practice here. I’m merely pointing out that it may not be a case of hypocrisy.

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted July 27, 2018 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

          There are other distinctions, of course, but the main difference between Christianity and Islam today is that Christianity has been tamed by the secularism of the Enlightenment (and, to a lesser extent, internally by the Reformation).

          • James
            Posted July 27, 2018 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

            None of that is relevant to my point. My point was that the action is only hypocrisy if we assume that Islam regards all people as equal, and there is no reason to believe it does. In a religion where all people are NOT considered equal, it’s not hypocrisy for one to act superior to the other. I could have used a number of different religions for this, but Christianity is the one most people in the USA/Europe are familiar with. It was merely an example of the principle, nothing more.

            • Ken Kukec
              Posted July 27, 2018 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

              I was not disputing your point, only offering an explanation for why it might be so — that the Islamic world has not undergone the same Enlightenment and Reformation as Christendom has.

            • Steve Pollard
              Posted July 27, 2018 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

              She is probably a Sunni. So is the Saudi state. I have spent quite a bit of time in Saudi Arabia, where many indentured workers are Indian or Pakistani. The latter are almost all Sunni; where the Indians are Muslims, they too are likely to be Sunni. Most of them are badly treated in KSA; I have no reason to think that Kuwait is much different.

              So, we have one privileged Sunni woman, likely to be representative of other privileded Sunnis, denigrating many people who are quite likely also to be Sunni. I still call hypocrisy.

              • Steve Pollard
                Posted July 27, 2018 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

                “privileged”

  9. nicky
    Posted July 27, 2018 at 11:57 am | Permalink

    Ms Qattar appears a spoiled brat. And indeed: “… those employers are bigots, for they think of their employees/servants as a lower species of human, not entitled to minimal dignity or privileges.”
    Many of these workers are not Muslim, which makes them inferior to start with. Ms Qattar thinks she is classy and deserving of her privilege, way above the minions, the ‘lower species’ or, well, slaves. Disgusting.
    On a side, I can’t really put my finger on it, but in a sense she reminds me of Mr Trump.

    • Posted August 9, 2018 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

      From her words, she clearly thinks she is entitled to having house slaves.

  10. DrBrydon
    Posted July 27, 2018 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

    As the saying goes, beauty is only skin deep.

  11. Heather Hastie
    Posted July 27, 2018 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

    A country not mentioned in the article is North Korea. They actually conspire with the Middle Eastern government to enslave their citizens. When North Koreans return home, they are required to give a big chunk of the money they earned to the government.

    Also, the death and injury rate of construction workers is extremely high because conditions are so poor. The slaves aren’t just badly treated, they’re dying needlessly.

    This woman’s attitude is obviously appalling, but it’s no different than most of her fellow citizens. The UN should be doing something about this, but with Saudi Arabia in particular so dominant on the Human Rights committee that’s unlikely.

    Besides, the normal response would be sanctions and most of these countries have two exports – oil and financial services. The rest of the world still needs the oil, and many of the rich and powerful have deep financial ties in the region. Yet another reason to focus on renewables.

    • James
      Posted July 27, 2018 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

      The fact that Saudi Arabia is on the Human Rights Council is a very strong argument against such a council, at least as currently instituted. It’s like having Vito Corleone on the Supreme Court.

      Agreed on the renewables thing. I’ve said for a long time that the best thing we could do to undermine these regimes is to develop alternative sources of fuel. Without oil, these countries really become irrelevant to global politics (the money will leave once the oil profits dwindle).

  12. Roger
    Posted July 27, 2018 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

    I hate that when servants run away! Dang liberals!

    • Filippo
      Posted July 28, 2018 at 10:42 am | Permalink

      I’ve heard recently the story of one of George Washington’s slaves running away. The saintly George accused her of being “ungrateful.”

  13. Claudia Baker
    Posted July 27, 2018 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

    Watched a bit of the “beauty video”. Revolting.

  14. Posted July 27, 2018 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

    I think my brain actually contracts when i read and hear stuff like this…
    i want to get my “violent atheism” on!

  15. Posted July 27, 2018 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

    That is the ugliest thing I’ve seen in a while. And I watch the news, where Donald Trump often appears.

  16. Filippo
    Posted July 27, 2018 at 7:47 pm | Permalink

    A narcissist worthy of Leona Helmsley.

    Would that she could have that congenial and empathetic soul, Conrad Hilton IV, as her indentured servant, locked up in her abode with her, with the keys thrown away.

  17. Posted July 27, 2018 at 8:08 pm | Permalink

    High blood pressure inducing discussion. So many thoughts.

    1. Is it better that job applicants from foreign countries be virtually enslaved in Qatar and elsewhere in the Middle East vs. starving at home? If the news that goes home actually reports how bad it is, why do they keep going? In re the keeping of passports, I understand that Japan keeps the passports of illegal immigrants they hire. Other countries, too?

    2. What can we do to effect change in these other countries in addition to not visiting and/or not buying their products? When Middle Easterners come to the U.S. with their slave/servants and treat them the same here as they do at “home”, and their abuse is detected, it is illegal here and legal action is taken.

    3. The illegal immigrant situation in the U.S. is definitely a mixed bag. There still are employers who knowingly and illegally hire illegal aliens. Some of them use and abuse illegal immigrant employees: the chicken, cattle and pig processing factories, some construction companies maybe, some farmers maybe, etc. But, non-immigrants working in these places are generally ill-treated also. Doesn’t make it right. It just is. Our government doesn’t go after the employers,just the immigrants. The illegal immigrants would not keep coming to the U.S. for work if conditions were better in their home lands. In Mexico, for example, work hours are long, wages are very low, and unemployment rates are high.

    4. Large employers in the U.S. have reduced benefits such as healthcare, pensions, vacations, maternal leave, etc. for all employees. Many also are massively under-funding pension plans and that those entitled to pensions may not get them. This affects regular workers who may be considered wage slaves.

    5. The hard won gains in unionization have gone backwards in the U.S. The Southern states have been “worker’s rights” states for eons. Their wages are lower, as are their “rights” as employees. More states are joining them. More benefits for corporations and states, but not employees.

    6. Yes. The U.S. is in dire straits currently. There are too many actions being taken by our so-called president and government that are contrary to what many of us citizens want and need. I hope I live long enough to see that turned around. Vote!

  18. Tammy
    Posted July 29, 2018 at 6:20 am | Permalink

    I’ve lived in the UAE and they treat migrant workers like slaves because the locals are too damn lazy to do blue collar jobs and they rely on servants to cook, clean, and raise their kids 24/7 while they enjoy their comfortable life styles.

    • Posted August 9, 2018 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

      I can quite believe it! The heroine of this post is apparently convinced that it is her natural right to have servants.


%d bloggers like this: