Regulation, not discrimination

Badrya Darwish

I received a recording on WhatsApp yesterday of a Saudi imam delivering a sermon in a mosque. I was impressed by his speech. It was very long guys, but it was full of pieces of advice and wisdom. I’m writing about this imam’s speech because I am proud to know that there are still many people among us who believe in justice and fairness and fear God.

Lately, we are hearing a lot of criticism left, right and center from writers, politicians, etc, and it’s all focused on one topic – against expats in the Gulf. But let me be specific about my country Kuwait. All these speeches and articles against expats present them as if they are invaders in our country or aliens who are stealing our homes and villas and cars and we are living on the streets, or as if they have corrupted our country and taken all our jobs.

Some of them went so far as to compare them to Israeli settlers in the West Bank. It is beyond gross to compare expats in Kuwait – no matter how bad you think they are – to Israeli settlers who are stealing Palestinian land daily inch by inch.
This Saudi cleric’s point of view was that apartheid and discrimination are not acceptable in Islam, our religion. I think it is not accepted in any religion, but I’m not here to defend other faiths. He started by giving simple examples that we experience daily: This ‘ajnabi’ is driving a Mercedes or Lexus, or wearing good clothes or renting a villa, and he’s enjoying life. He said: Why do we forget that it is God who gives and takes. It’s God who decides the wealth of every one of us. So why are you criticizing God? What is your right to question God’s will?

The cleric also mentioned how some people do not respect the contracts they sign with foreigners – we bring them here, and once they are under our mercy, we switch as we like either the salary or the position. The cleric noted that a contract is also with God and that disrespecting it is disrespecting the rules of your religion. Islam is based on justice and fairness. Where is the religion in those who disrespect their words and their contracts?

Another point I like is when he mentioned how some people will address expats as ‘you Egyptian, you Hindi, you Bengali’. Why are we discriminating against nations? Aren’t nations creations of God? In which way are we better than them?  I also liked the way the cleric mentioned the unfair treatment of maids. He gave many examples of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), who advised his followers to treat everyone with respect and kindness, and not denigrate people based on their race, religion, looks, wealth or job.

The cleric invited people to view some of the flats or rooms where domestic helpers live. Sometimes the room is smaller than a prison cell. Isn’t this a shame? He even spoke about food. You should feed them properly from what you eat, not the leftovers.

I don’t have the space to translate and report the entire speech, but a big thank you to the sheikh for his wisdom and guidance to awaken the nation about this matter. We have lost our way and we need guidance and light from God. This doesn’t mean that I am against regulating expats in Kuwait. We need some regulations, but there is a decent and just way to do it.

By Badrya Darwish
badrya_d@kuwaittimes.net

This article was published on 31/01/2017