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In the Name of God بسم الله
Abu Hadi

Reparations for Slavery

Reza

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As most of you know, I live in the US and this is a big topic amoung certain Presidential candidates and this issue comes up in the public from time to time. I have been thinking about this for a while. I am not African American and my ancestors came to this country from Ireland and Germany more than 100 years ago. So my family were never slaves and never owned any slaves (because they came after slavery was already outlawed) and they came from a place where slavery was never legal (at least in the recent past) . So I don't really have a personal stake in this issue, but I think it is important for the country that this issue is resolved and those who were affected by slavery get justice for the harm that their family suffered. As a Muslim, I believe that Haqq(justice) has no statute of limitations and that an injustice will always exist until it is resolved in a fair and satisfactory way. 

Although slavery was made illegal in the US more than 150 years ago, the huge amount of injustice that was done under the watch and consent, and many times the active participation of the US Government, both to the African Americans and also the Native Americans has gone uncompensated and the wounds of this period of history have not healed and continue to have many negative lingering effects. Justice is still on hold and I'm not sure how to adequately compensate the descendants of these individuals for the injustices that were done to their ancestors. 

Is there an Islamic definition of compensation for this, and how do we quantify it ? If anyone knows. 

Also, say for example it could be proven that a certain person's great, great, great grandfather owned many slaves. Is the person liable to pay compensation to the descendants of these slaves. ? I think in the Islamic definition they are not responsible since we are only responsible for what we do, not what our ancestors did. 

So if compensation is to be paid, I think it must be done by the society as a whole, and liability should not fall on particular individuals, 

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No amount of money will compensate for the loss of language, culture, home, and familial ties. Reparations is at best a symbolic gesture. Nothing can undo all those years of imprisonment, abuse, and even torture in some cases. 

But I feel that it needs to be done anyway. 

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2 hours ago, Abu Hadi said:

So if compensation is to be paid, I think it must be done by the society as a whole, and liability should not fall on particular individuals, 

I'm going to go on the extreme side and take another argument just to see where this discussion leads.

The Africans need to pay reparations as well. They share part of the sin for selling humans to the colonisers. 

The term African American really does no favors to the black community. Why call them that? Why not just call them Americans? It's like when Zizek was talking about the term "Native American". Native American suggests that the other type of Americans are the "cultural Americans", the ones who brought culture to the "savages". Embrace your heritage, but don't let it get to the point where you create divisions.

There was an Indian man who said, "Don't tell me that I can't call myself Indian. I use that term to remind the white man of his stupidity".

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9 hours ago, Ibn Al-Shahid said:

I'm going to go on the extreme side and take another argument just to see where this discussion leads.

The Africans need to pay reparations as well. They share part of the sin for selling humans to the colonisers. 

The term African American really does no favors to the black community. Why call them that? Why not just call them Americans? It's like when Zizek was talking about the term "Native American". Native American suggests that the other type of Americans are the "cultural Americans", the ones who brought culture to the "savages". Embrace your heritage, but don't let it get to the point where you create divisions.

There was an Indian man who said, "Don't tell me that I can't call myself Indian. I use that term to remind the white man of his stupidity".

I agree with your comments about the term 'African American'. I use this term mostly because this is how most refer to themselves. I don't use the term 'Black' people because it is not accurate. 'Black' people are not actually black, they are some shade of brown, as are most people in general. So I don't like terms which differentiate people based on skin color, because skin color tells you absolutely nothing about the person. 

About the Africans paying reparations, if this should happen, it should be taken up within the African legal system. Since this will never happen, and since there is not one 'Africa' but it is a collection of different countries which probably would not agree on this, this is a mute point, even if it is valid, to an extent. Also, the form of government in Africa in the 1860 and before was not a 'Nation State' type of government as we know it today. It was a tribal system, which doesn't exist anymore, at least not in the legal sense. 

The US Government is different. It is one government, and it is the same government, the same system that was around during the time of slavery. So this is a legal entity which can be held liable because it is the same legal entity that existed when the injustice was committed. Also, there are vast amounts of written records regarding who owned slaves, how many they had, who bought them, for how much, where they were, what type of work they did, etc. Most of this is from US Census data, which was required by the government to be collected, and it is fairly accurate, since slavery was legal and widely practiced when the census was taken. 

 

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On 4/12/2019 at 6:53 PM, notme said:

No amount of money will compensate for the loss of language, culture, home, and familial ties. Reparations is at best a symbolic gesture. Nothing can undo all those years of imprisonment, abuse, and even torture in some cases. 

But I feel that it needs to be done anyway. 

I agree, I don’t think it can be repaid easily, but  something should be done for sure. Onone part there is the African slaves who were brought her and the other is the africans that were already here before European colonizers arrived.

 

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What about Irish slaves of British?

Or German slaves of Roman's? 

Or Persian or African slaves of arabs

Or should  Spain compensate almost all native populations of Latin America 

 

Levels broaden the definition of reparations to include all oppressed communities throughout history.Then I'm all for it , and most of us have earned free buffet for life at the closest Mongolian grill for sure as by God they brutalized and enslaved our eurasian ancestors from chinease to Hungarians

And probably I can get compensation from Turks too as they probably enslaved some of my Hindu  ancestors in  northern India at sometime ?

Btw can black Africans who sold slaves to whites also pay a section of the reparations?

Just because the legal system here is bending over backwards to correct historical wrongs does not mean minorities try to milk it dry prompted in no small part by a section of self righteous liberal guilt ridden whites 

Why should the descendants of german farmer  or polish refugees who came to midwest in 1840s never had slaves and  possibly fought with union against Confederates pay reparations?

It's such a ridiculous notion , a pathetic attempt to get AA vote 

This will die down as soon as elections are over hopefully 

 

 

Edited by notme
Removed racist sentence. See shiachat rules and guidelines.

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On 4/13/2019 at 3:15 AM, Abu Hadi said:

Is there an Islamic definition of compensation for this, and how do we quantify it ? If anyone knows.

Salam it calls” ما تاخر “ (what you leave from you ) that someone like as inheritors of one person can do good deed for their passed aways on their behalf that will increase their reward & decrease their punishment  

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I respectfully disagree. I think brother @Panzerwaffe makes some good points. Although I don't live in the US, I see it as a free society where each community can thrive if they choose to do so. It is up to poor communities to aggressively stamp out drugs and criminality from their neighborhoods. 

Wallahu a'lam 

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8 hours ago, Panzerwaffe said:

What about Irish slaves of British?

Or German slaves of Roman's? 

Or Persian or African slaves of arabs

Or should  Spain compensate almost all native populations of Latin America 

Whataboutism?

 

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And there are tons of examples of blacks taking advantage of affirmative action and despite the prejudice and odds ,lifting themselves out of poverty and doing very well for themselves.

Forcing rest of the population to pay reparations to blacks or American "natives" for wrongs > 150 yrs ago is a sure shot way of increasing animosity and alienation.This will just divide the nation even more.

Just imagine if 2 friends both dirt poor kids get into college the black one has no college loans after 3 yrs and white one has 100k in debt,  yeah that white kid will definitely be a little bit ticked off ...can u blame him / her ?

 

Edited by Panzerwaffe

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9 hours ago, Panzerwaffe said:

Why don’t we give back half of US to Mexico while we are at it ?

Your mixing apples and oranges. The South West was ceded to the US as a result of a war between two nations. Each nation had a large army and means to defend itself. 

An individual that was kidnapped from a village in Africa and then put in chains had no means to defend his / herself. So Islamically, this is a clear act of injustice which must be compensated for. That is clear. The only part of the issue that is not clear is whether the compensation is due to the persons descendants. 

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6 minutes ago, Abu Hadi said:

Your mixing apples and oranges. The South West was ceded to the US as a result of a war between two nations. Each nation had a large army and means to defend itself. 

An individual that was kidnapped from a village in Africa and then put in chains had no means to defend his / herself. So Islamically, this is a clear act of injustice which must be compensated for. That is clear. The only part of the issue that is not clear is whether the compensation is due to the persons descendants. 

Brother, there is much to be criticized about the US and particularly about their destructive foreign policy. 

However it is also true that today and for several generations now, every child is born free and is provided with free education.

Slavery is not relevant today and hasn't been for several decades. There is nobody who can claim compensation. 

Wallahu a'lam 

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On 5/14/2019 at 3:58 PM, Mahdavist said:

However it is also true that today and for several generations now, every child is born free and is provided with free education.

Definitions of "free" and "free education" will vary wisely, depending on mostly economics nowadays, but economics at least partly depends on past racist policies in the US after slavery was legally abolished. 

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