Black Iraqis Struggle to Shake Legacy of Racism

Ali Mamouri, Al-Monitor, June 26, 2013

Many people are surprised to hear that there is a black minority of African descent in Iraq, particularly in Basra, and they are even more surprised to hear that this minority is being discriminated against and is falling victim to racism.

Their first reaction would be to repeat that the era of racism against blacks ended decades ago, or with the advent of Islam. But those ideas conflict with the societal reality in Iraq.

Although racism has been illegal under the Iraqi legislative system since the founding of the state in 1921, this minority is trapped by different types of discrimination and racism within society. The legislative and educational systems, as well as the official Iraqi media, need to give special attention to the issue by passing laws that criminalize any form of racism or discrimination, while educating the community in this regard.

Iraq, like other countries in the ancient world, witnessed a wide slave trade, as Baghdad was the capital of the Abbasid Caliphate for over five centuries. The trade was at its peak back then, and slaves of different races were brought to Iraq to be sold in the slave markets.

The Zanj rebellion (869-883 AD) paints a historical picture of the spread of slavery at the time and reflects the intensity of racism and injustice. The rebellion started in Basra, included half a million slaves and swept across a vast country. The rebellion continued to Mecca, where slaves stole the black stone of the Kaaba, seeing it as a symbol of the values ​​of their masters, who had legalized the trade. The rebellion was eventually put down, as thousands were killed and many displaced and brought back to slavery.

African-Iraqis originate from many countries of Africa, and they have been brought to Iraq in different periods up until the beginning of the last century. They were used in farms and homes, and sometimes in combat confrontations in the ongoing disputes between the princes and aristocrats in the south and center of the country, within the aristocratic structure of Iraqi society at the time. They are still used as servants in the houses of clan elders or employed in very low fields of work.

Collective awareness about the identity challenges facing the black minority in Iraq rose after the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003. Black Iraqis started to form associations and organize social events to demand their rights to participate in political and social life, but they continued to face many obstacles socially, culturally and politically. The Free Iraqi Movement is this minority’s first official entity. It was founded by Jalal Diab and other Iraqi Africans in 2007, and is a secular civil gathering aimed at achieving their rights away from racism or discrimination, as expressed by the founder of the movement.


{snip} The vast majority of Iraqis are opposed to mixed marriages between slaves and the “Sadah,” who are the descendants of the Islamic Prophet Muhammad, considering that there is a difference in lineage and purity. The word “slave” is still attributed to black people in cases of conflict, mockery or even in their absence when someone wants to introduce them and distinguish them from white men. {snip}

Their political participation in the country has been largely undermined, and not one of them has reached the level of minister, MP in the national parliament, member of the municipal councils or general manager or such. It is noteworthy that their marginalization persists although they exceed about 1.5 million, according to the Free Iraqi Movement Vice President Salah Ruhais Salman, or 2 million, according to a statement made by the secretary-general of the movement, Abdel Hussein Abdel Razzak. They have presented candidates more than once to the Basra provincial council, but they have not won any seats. According to a document published on Wikileaks, the director of the US Embassy’s regional office in Basra, Ramon Negron, said, “The black community suffers disproportionately under the government’s patronage-based political system. … [Otherwise,] a unified black community would easily have enough votes to win at least one seat on [Basra’s Provincial Council].”

The black community in Iraq aspires to legitimate rights, including the recognition of their existence, an official apology for the long history of discrimination and racism against them, the legalization and enforcement of clear and express laws that forbid and criminalize any sort of persecution against them, different treatment in the public sector, the integration of social awareness programs in the school curriculum to call for the respect of all races, colors and religions. This would pave the way for public representation in local councils, the parliament and all governmental departments, and finally shed light on them in the media, leading to a share of the state’s official media being dedicated to them.

It is noteworthy that Diab, the founder of the Free Iraqi Movement, was assassinated on April 26, 2013, in the wake of the local council elections in Iraq. Before the incident, the movement had presented two electoral candidates, some of whom withdrew immediately after the assassination. Opposing parties or regional sides might be blamed for this assassination.

This movement was influenced by the American civil rights movement, and widely celebrated the victory of Barack Obama in the American presidential elections. Diab himself had hung photos of Obama and Martin Luther King in the movement’s affiliated schools and centers, thus provoking anti-US political and religious parties. Moreover, several political and social figures expressed their irritation with the events of the movement and described their demands as exaggerations and political bargaining.

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  • I wouldn’t wish blacks even on Arabs or Pakistanis.

    • Sick of it

      They’re related, what’s the difference.

      • Jefferson

        Arab countries have Sub Saharan admixture. For example in Yemen, the average Yemeni person has around 14% Sub Saharan African admixture. That is why Yemenis on average have a Brown complexion.

        The average Yemeni is darker than George Zimmerman.

        • Mahound

          Ahhh, but Zimmerman is white according to the NY Times.

    • rightrightright

      I wouldn’t wish Arabs and Pakistanis on anyone. I’d uninvent them if I could. Channel 4 television (Britain) is to inflict the daily call to prayer on us during their ramadan circus. Thin end of the wedge.

    • Funruffian

      I would only wish them on White liberals who openly and furtively protect them.

  • EuroAmerican

    The few blacks that I saw in the Gulf States were servants and treated like dirt by their Arab employers/masters.

    • Mark Hillyard

      That can’t be…! They are all of one “religion of peace’s”.

    • The__Bobster

      How? Do the Arabs still castrate them?

      • It was the Chinese who did that.

        • Romulus

          The more the merrier.

        • MawellAxel

          Tens of thousands of European men were captured as children and sold into slavery in the arab world, they were all castrated. The vikings caught and sold a lot of these victims. Whole coastal areas of France were abandoned because of this threat.

      • Romulus

        One can hope.

      • Bantu_Education

        I have read that 90% of black male slaves were castrated and that about 70% of those died from the “operation” (which was total, if you get my meaning). As to why they would kill so many valuable slaves, apparently they were then worth far more in the slave markets than non-castrated blacks which Arabs didn’t want to buy. Could it be that the Arabs didn’t trust the blacks to “behave themselves” with their women? Now whatever gave them such unjustified and dis-credited racist ideas?

        • rightrightright

          A bit unkind, all that. Arab slavers would invade an African village, take the younger women and children who could walk, castrate the men and boys on the spot rather than walk them all the way through through the desert to the kasbah, having to feed, water and guard them and only then castrate them when many of them would die of shock, pain and blood loss which would eat up their profits.

          Africans are thick, but Africans in Africa, minding their own business, herding their goats, sitting about under trees all day with their brains in comfy neutral and not being a pain in the arse to Europeans, well I have some sympathy for them when the slavers arrived.

          • I have no sympathy for Africans at all. None. Mexicans have produced some outstanding food, as have the subcontinentals; I grind and blend my own curry spices for vindaloo, saag, tikka and tandoori. Japanese have an amazing sense of order, but also take their hobbies very seriously. I used to take the loaned engineers and their wives shooting. In Sakado-shi, I was once asked what my hobby was, and Dr. Kojima answered that I collected and shot old military rifles.

            What have African’ts produced? Even Jazz is speeded-up Celtic music. Why did African’ts retreat from rock-and-roll? I have listened to (c)rap music, and there are no acoustic instruments played in this genre. Has anyone else noticed this? I’d rather have no vocals instead, a.k.a. Mannheim Steamroller.

            Amerinds got a bad rap, but they did amazing things with crops. My vegetable garden might be a reflection of that.

            African’ts certainly didn’t deserve slavery; nobody does, but their sympathy account is overdrawn in this neck of the woods.

          • Spartacus

            “African’ts certainly didn’t deserve slavery; nobody does,”


            Slavery is too good for them. I posted some pics in the article about the Afrikaaner widow that shows their “accomplishments” .

          • Extinction.

          • Spartacus

            That’s better. Did you like the witty Facebook conversation ? Very representative for the negro IQ…

          • MawellAxel

            one should not have any sympathy for blacks, they will rape you or rob you the minute your guard is down. They are animals.

    • The Final Solution

      They are dirt.

    • MawellAxel

      well, why treat dirt like anything other than dirt?

  • David Ashton

    “In addition to lack of culture and intelligence, Islamic writers also disaparaged Africans as being hypersexual, yet also filled with simple piety and carefree, happy, and with a natural sense of rhythm.” – Vincent Sarich, Emeritus Professor of Anthropology, University of California, Berkeley.

    • The__Bobster

      I can find quotes from our American ancestors that say exactly the same thing.

      • David Ashton

        Yes indeed, a significant coincidence.

  • Spartacus

    “The word “slave” is still attributed to black people in cases of
    conflict, mockery or even in their absence when someone wants to
    introduce them and distinguish them from white men.”


    Arabs are not white…

    • Sick of it

      They were originally, but Islam rectified that situation.

      • evilsandmich

        A couple thousand years of inbreeding will do that.

        • Romulus

          You mean rape, right?!

        • Sick of it

          Muslims used to have a serious thing for black women. You can read it in some of their medieval writings…

          • David Ashton

            They protected their own women who might desire black slaves or were likely to be impregnated by the simple expedient of castration.

          • Sick of it

            Sadly they castrated many white men as well, such as the Janissaries.

    • rightrightright

      They evolved to suit their unpleasant country. Hot country, dark skin, hair and eyes.

      Arabs refer to all Africans colloquially as slaves – Abd – similar but even worse than the naughty N word.

  • IstvanIN

    Send the blacks home.

  • libertarian1234

    “There are 1.5 million blacks and none in upper levels of society.”

    And we can all be assured it is due strictly to racism and not a lack of ability to achieve or lower intelligence.

    • The__Bobster

      They are lucky to be there in the first place.

    • MawellAxel

      well, not since michael jackson died, oh wait, he lived in the UAE

  • bigone4u

    Americans should have picked their own cotton; Iraqis should have waited on themselves.

    • evilsandmich

      Too much money to be made by the elite by exploiting cheap labor. Sounds like a similar debate that we’re having right now on a different subject…

  • sbuffalonative

    “…they are even more surprised to hear that this minority is being discriminated against and is falling victim to racism.”

    I, for one, am not surprised at all.

    The slur ‘racism’ is nothing but a distraction from acknowledging blacks incompetence. ‘It’s not us, it’s you’.

  • Spartacus


  • The Final Solution

    How much welfare can they get in Iraq I wonder?

  • RHG

    Where’s Louis Farrahkan when you need him?

  • OhWow

    Black people are always at the bottom of the totem pole. Other races will always rise above them just as oil will always rise ontop of water. If you keep coming in last long enough, it should be an eye-opener.

    • gemjunior

      What a simple and sweet way of telling the truth. “If you keep coming in last, it should be an eye-opener”. That you’re a loser – in every country, across all time zones, over millenia, wherever you go you destroy and you wreck. Anyone who acknowledges the truth is a big hater and a horrible stinky meanie, right? So the whites (egged on by the usual suspects) who can’t accept that the truth is not an emotion and life is not fair go to all sorts of schools peddling ideas that are bandied around other schools and made up on thousand pages dissertations by our most intelligent (but slightly off) racial brethren who have been living in the lap of luxury a little too long. Yes, living soft in the last half of the 20th century has caused a soppy attitude to develop in some people that it’s just too terrible to imagine – that some race is poorly endowed in the intelligence area. They will still accept, even cheerfully that that same group is far more well endowed in other talents — do all they can to puff them up with false pride over things they do not do and could not ever do without help. They are children in adult bodies — such a dangerous combination to contemplate being true – that they will simply not accept it. Better to make up happy stories and be totally unprepared when the economy and civil order totally breaks down and unleashes them upon us without ANY fear of us and with total confidence they will crush us. They will have such gusto to do it that it will come as a complete surprise if they meet ANY resistance, which in some places (not Park Slope) they will….. 🙂

    • Funruffian

      Unless you live in Amerikwa where you are exalted just for being Black by the media, government and pop-culture.

    • Creepy as a cracker!

      Short, sweet and to the point, I like it.

  • MarcusTrajanus

    Impossible! Iraqis are oppressed people of colour, just like blacks. Iraqis can’t be racist, only White Europeans can be racist.

  • BonusGift

    “The trade was at its peak back then, and slaves of different races were brought to Iraq to be sold in the slave markets.”

    Hey do you think there were European slaves ‘back then’ as well? Any idiot with a cursory understanding of the ‘religion of peace’ would know that if you are black and didn’t want to be judged to be a slave you picked the absolute worst ‘religion’ for that. It is absolutely a true sign of their stupidity that blacks in the U.S. (or Iraq) pick Islam as a ‘religion’ as it would be akin to an Arab worshipping the Torah. For example, non-believers have three choices: (1) die, (2) slavery, or (3) covert. Some black idiot in Iraq named Jalal Diab who agitates for ‘equal rights’ and hangs pictures of MLK and Barry Soetoro is not long for this world. Surprise, surprise he ends up being “assassinated” and it couldn’t have anything to do with the fact that: “Moreover, several political and social figures expressed their irritation with the events of the movement and described their demands as exaggerations and political bargaining.” Short story, if blacks want ‘equality’ they are not going to find it among any of the other races and they sure aren’t going to find it in the ‘religion of peace’ in Iraq.

    • I would pick (1) “Die”. One can not rationally be afraid of an eventual certainty. I lived in Hell when I was little, so I’m not scared of that, either.

      My mother told the FBI that she was delighted that my ex-father was terrified of me. The neighbors were issued printed “warnings” about me they are supposed to keep in their homes after resale, but I see three on a regular basis. One of them smokes a bit of Mary Jane, but he and I moved a piano for a very pretty widow. She paid us with whiskey.

      I can’t even pick up his bench set, but the upright piano was easy.

      • evilsandmich

        She paid us with whiskey.

        I wish I had neighbors like that…em…maybe. Well, my neighbors have a neighbor like that at least.

      • David Ashton

        Have you written your autobiography?
        It sounds like a best-seller.

    • Creepy as a cracker!

      I have know many blacks who converted to Islam and I wonder how anyone could be so stupid. If blacks in the U.S. lived by sharia law, we would execute and delimb hundreds of thousands of blacks every year if not more.

      • David Ashton

        In Africa it has the advantage over Christianity of polygamy. In the USA
        blacks seem to know about the “Christian” and “Jewish” contribution to slavery, but not to the Islamic record in that respect.

  • Sick of it

    In the muslim world, the rapist is punished according to his status. Rich/connected muslims don’t get killed or usually even punished when they rape/gangrape the average muslim woman and certainly not when they rape, kidnap, forcibly marry, or kill an infidel. Pakistan is the perfect example.

  • Sick of it

    Blacks actually had successful kingdoms in medieval Africa, but they did not function in the same way that our civilizations functioned. Trying to push our ways onto them just doesn’t turn out well. The black nations in Africa today are trying to live according to western ideologies like socialism and it just doesn’t fit with them.

    • Funruffian

      I agree that Western civilization has influenced the modernized Black nations due to gentrification, but the other half of your statement is a fallacy based on Afro-centrist wishful thinking. They never had a civilization of their own that amounted to more than two squabbling families.
      Besides, Blacks were given luxuries and other various amenities that were bestowed upon them that they would have never had without colonialism.

      • Sick of it

        Just going by various histories. I cannot say there were many nor that they survived long nor that the period in which such states were created was a long period, but such a time did exist. Pressure from various muslim groups, European nations, and the trans-Atlantic slave trade pretty much destroyed their native kingdoms.

        I’m not talking about low-level cult-like tribal groups like the Zulu, but rather the Ghana Empire, the Songhai Empire, the Mali Empire, the Bornu Empire, the Benin Empire, etc.

        One of them, don’t recall which, had heavy cavalry prior to interaction with Europeans..which shocked the hell out of the Europeans who first visited them in the 15th century.

        • Funruffian

          Cavalries??? That is a load of RUBBISH! Sub-Saharan Africans never domesticated an animal, never weaved a cloth, had a form of measurement or a written language until European settlers arrived. And it still took several hundred years to teach them.

        • MadMike

          Most of these empires were created by Muslim trade.

          • Sick of it

            Not entirely. The best I can piece together is that after the ancient civilizations of North Africa had collapsed (economic collapse, the Black Death striking as early as the 6th century AD, war with the Persians, the Arab conquests, etc.), various tribal groups of sub-Saharan Africa who had traded with said ancient civilizations for millenia finally started created their own kingdoms and empires, using the valuable salt/gold/slave/ivory trades as the basis for those new states.

            With the wealth of sub-Saharan Africa at their disposal, they could trade on good terms with muslims, but they could have traded on better terms with Europeans. Quite frankly the muslims got in the way of that by virtue of having conquered Iberia.

            If anything, as usual, the muslims kept them more backward and it should be noted that the collapse of these kingdoms took place noticeably after these lands were infested with the backwards notions of Islam.

  • rightrightright

    The womenfolk of ordinary arabs lived lives segregated from men, then as now. If an ordinary arab wanted a male slave to do the heavy duty household work, he would buy a castrated slave to protect the honour of his wives and daughters.

  • MawellAxel

    that is like asking if there is a curse on Chimpanzees. They are what they are. The CURSE is that they have been treated as humans and coddled, allowed to multiply. The CURSE on them and us is that they were not driven to extinction, the same as the Tasmanian natives.

  • MawellAxel

    I feel bad….for the Iraqis

  • Carney3

    I’m not answering this question in the way you want, but blacks are well-adapted to thrive. Genes don’t care if you’re happy or even if you survive; as long as the genes are replicated and passed down. High death rate, low IQ and general lack of ability at modern life is made up for by high fertility and libido, and rapid maturation.

  • Funruffian

    My God, Blacks are everywhere. There’s no escaping their invasion. This is what happens when they procreate faster than they can feed themselves. Now they want to feed off all these host countries. Never mind that they are not wanted or welcomed. They are oppressed and victims of racism regardless of their inability to care for themselves.
    At least locusts, flies, worms, rats and mice serve an ecological purpose. I don’t see them sponging off the system for free food, shelter, AA jobs, Cell phones, Medicaid and education.

  • Creepy as a cracker!

    You are exactly right. BTW, I don’t see too many American blacks getting into rickety boats or rafts to make their way to Haiti. They are smart enough to realize they need Whites so they can live their parasitical lifestyle. Just look at Rachel Jeantel, she is one of Haiti’s best and brightest. She will forever to a burden to the hardworking White American taxpayer and so will the multi-generational band of her offspring.

  • David Ashton

    Noah is a myth. His supposed children could not have given the world five primary races in the biblical time-scale.

    To say “blacks are still Satan’s children” ordained to be “slaves under others” gives race realism a bad name; this is as unpleasant as it is superstitious.

  • David Ashton

    To be fair, they didn’t invite themselves to the USA originally.

  • David Ashton

    Dancing about, as in rap, hip, hop, skip and jump.