By Ibrahim Muhammad Badawood
Oct 24, 2015
A few years ago, a symposium on Saudization was held in the Kingdom and a senior official said that Saudization was not equivalent to racism or discrimination; it was a dire need of society. He also explained different forms and types of discrimination that all emphasized the belief that members of a certain race view themselves as superior to other groups that do not have the same characteristics, religion, tribal background, etc.
Racism is a thorny issue although Islam set the limits and boundaries over 1400 years ago when Allah the Almighty revealed the Qura’nic ayah: “Verily the most honored of you in the sight of Allah is (he who is) the most righteous of you” (49:13). The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said “there is no preference for Arabs over non-Arabs, nor for non-Arabs over Arabs. Preference is only through righteousness.”
Throughout Islamic history, discrimination has existed in many forms, especially among Arab tribes. Several countries around the world have been keen to eradicate this negative practice. The United Nations declared in 1965 an international treaty to eliminate all forms of racism and discrimination, and the Kingdom was a signatory of it in 1997. However, many in Arab and Western societies still suffer from this menace.
Racism cannot be denied; it does exist in our society in different forms and in different industries. Former late Labor Minister Dr. Ghazi Al-Gosaibi once told labor office directors during a meeting that “unfortunately, sometimes we get arrogant and think we are better than those expatriates who come to our country to help in the development process.” Racism is a dangerous thing and can threaten the fabric of society.
Being a signatory of global treaties is not enough. The only way to combat racism is to observe the rules of the Shariah and apply its principles in our lives in a practical way. Raising your children to discriminate on the basis of color or race is wrong and a form of ignorance. Discrimination on the basis of tribal preferences or wealth is nothing but a fatal disease. Equality means stability. This is what we should teach our children in school and at home and inculcate it in their minds at an early age.