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Darfur vs Gaza: African muslims are worth less than Arab muslims

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Ali A. Rizvi, a muslim blogger, asks the hard questions:

Where are the large-scale protests and outrage from the Muslim
community over the senseless deaths and rape of hundreds of thousands
of poverty-ridden African Muslims?

Why is there such a glaring
discrepancy between the Muslim world’s response to the atrocities in
Gaza and the atrocities in Darfur?

If the Darfur genocide was being carried out by Jews or Christians instead of Arab Muslims, would we see a different response?

Note that the point of this is not to suggest that there should be no outrage over Gaza. But in terms of the scale of human life – 300,000 people dead according to estimates from 2005, equivalent to 300 Gazas – Darfur should at least merit comparable energy and action and blog posts and outrage. Rizvi’s post documents just how little outrage there is to spare.

When the International Criminal Court finally indicted Omar al-Bashir, President of Sudan for his role in arming and supporting the janjaweed militias who are carrying out the literal genocide of non-Arab muslims in Darfur, what was the response of the Ummah? Accusations of bias and injustice, but not for the victims of Darfur, but rather their murderers. Muslim murderers.

It should be noted that two and a half years ago, there were large-scale demonstrations in the US to draw attention to Darfur. Those demonstrations were largely organized by American Jews. The muslim-American community’s response? A press release.

Again, I reiterate – I do not suggest that we should be blind to the suffering of the innocents in Gaza. But just as muslims point out the calculus whereby one Jewish life is worth 100 Palestinian lives, so too it seems that one Palestinian life is worth 300 African lives.

Related: discussion at Talk Islam on this issue. 



  • mohanad

    trying to compare gaza to Darfur is impossible the dimensions of the conflict are totaly different,Darfur should be compared to other african conflicts,why is it that Darfur gets so much attention compared to the 5 million killed in congo or the hundreds of thousands killed in somalia,why is it that when the governments of nigeria try to put down their rebellions its legitamate when ethiopia tries to put down its rebellion its legitamate when uganda tries to put down its rebellion its legitamate,however when sudan tries to put down its rebellion its a genocide,this is the hypocracy which sudan has had to endure,illegitamate rebels and bandits who are propogating this conflict are made out to be the inocent party by countries that want to see regime change in sudan,besides the figure of 300,000 is simply fabricated.

  • http://www.savoheleta.com Savo Heleta

    I fully agree with this post and Ali’s post!
    While the killings of civilians in Gaza must be condemned in the strongest terms possible, what about Darfurians? They are human too!
    Sadly and for whatever reason, some people seem to matter more than others.

  • Grantman

    Silly man, no one cares about Muslim deaths, least of all Muslims. Even fewer care about black deaths, especially Muslims. But get one Jew in the story…well, there you go. Everyone hates the Jews so anything that can make them look bad will make it to the top of the page. Another death, or 100,000 deaths in Africa? “Oh look, a squirrel.”
    What were those statistics bandied about during the recent Gaza operation? Of all the conflicts in the world since ’48, the Israeli/Arab conflict was something like #53 on the list. But since those pushy Jews had the audacity to stand and fight and no longer be victims, well, we can’t have that, now, can we?
    Your post is spot on and perfectly shows the hypocrisy of “the world” when it comes to the Jews. I love the second-to-last paragraph above – it was Jews who were protesting Dafur while the Muslims were issuing press release.
    Good column.

  • Grantman

    Oops, sorry, the second to the last paragraph should read:
    Your post is spot on and perfectly shows the hypocrisy of “the world” when it comes to the Jews and Africa. I love the second-to-last paragraph above – it was Jews who were protesting Dafur while the Muslims were issuing press release.

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  • Dan

    I’ll try and post here since some dumb admin at TalkIslam censored:
    The racism reason has been thrown around a lot, both by muslims and non, re: Muslim lack of response to Darfur, but the reality is far more complex. I would say that the foreign occupying/invader aspect plays a far larger role in the reason for the muslim response, with racism a minor role. Muslims have been killing muslims since Islam’s inception, but for outsiders to kill muslims has long been casus belli of unification. You also have to look at the origins of many of the Darfur movements in the US, many started by explicitly strongly pro-Israel organizations such as the AJC and others, most of whom will fail to condemn Israel in even the lightest terms but have no trouble flaring up at Sudanese aggression. Mr. Rizvi fails to point out how many Sudanese were complaining how there were no muslims at rallies organized by mostly Jewish groups way back when, with the strong implication being there was little to no effort to have them represented, not necessarily that they werent willing. Obviously, muslim groups should do more, but I think they need to so in an independent fashion from many of the existing movements.

  • http://www.reformislam.org Muslims Against Sharia
  • Muslim

    I don’t think this is entirely true, some Muslims do care about what is going on in Darfur and I for one am one of them. The point is that the Gaza conflict is just more highly publicized in comparison to the Darfur Conflict. Most Americans Muslims and Non- Muslims alike have if any knowledge the slightest knowledge about what is going on in Darfur.

  • Your Name

    Nobody is bothered here as to who made this inter-tribal tiny seasonal conflicts, between Arab and Non-Arab Muslim tribes for water rights of some areas in Darfur that also during harsh summer only, into a large scale one providing the tribes even with anti-aircraft missiles. They are on one hand arming the rebels with a smile and on the other selling arms to the govt., and also organizing demonstrations. When Israel systematically carrying out ethnic cleansing of Palestinians, turning a blind eye they organize large scale protest against Sudanese govt. Does this mean something??
    BTW, I am a Muslim but Non-Arab.

  • James Chantrill

    There is a big discrepancy here. A few Jews are being killed by terrorists and they kill over 300 people. The Muslim nations should get together and make a workable plan to solve both Gaza and Darfur. After all it is terrorists in both places that are causing the problems. Israel should realize that Gaza has never in its long history been controlled by the Jews except for very short periods of time under King David and the Macchabeans. Therefore it is an Arab problem and should be solved by Arab leadership.

  • Susan

    James Chantrill
    Wars and conflicts and the morality of them are not determined by numbers of casualties. By your logic – tit for tat – then Israel would have returned thousands of rockets into Gaza which they didn’t.
    The Egyptians were offered Gaza back after the 6 Day War and I have no idea why they didn’t take it.Too much trouble? A festering sore? No compassion for the Palestinians? Easier to blame Israel? All of the above?
    It’s a disgrace that Darfur hasn’t been resolved and I agree that Muslim nations should do something constructive about that because the UN is useless and cannot be counted on to do anything.

  • Lukmahn

    Hmmm….
    I have never been more amazed by a cross-religion debate such as this! One point however strikes me wrong here…are people sincerely commenting about these injustices to other ‘fellow’ humans, or just using them as leverage in politically- motivated agendas?
    I for one happen to be a Sudanese Muslim, from, or rather settled in Uganda. I have had a good first had experience of most of both these ‘terrorist’ conflicts. (viz LRA and Darfur)
    It would be blatant fallacy to claim that these struggles…genocides are not religion-based… or for that matter racist/ sectarian in nature, but I also feel exactly the same when people use such intonations to claim that the same wars aren’t based on pure greed and self-interest, both from the govt leaders in these nations as well as the Western/ Arab nations funding either side of the the conflicts.
    War is war, and though there are lots of motivations and perspectives as to its causes and mitigating factors, i think the whole world is being blind-sighted into believing it can be narrowed down to issues such as faith, religious denomination, skin colour etc and not the more prominent underlying issues of corruption, avarice, greed or just plain lack of compassion towards one’s fellow humans!! these are the issues that cross the former categorical boundaries… point in mention, some Arab (Muslims) have sold their fellows, or betrayed the cause of their faith and race against the ‘enemy’ over the entire history of Islam’s ‘wars’,… same case in point goes to Jews in the holocaust, Africans during slavery, and in our present ‘back-water world’ dire circumstances.
    it is a continuous and self-defeating argument as to who is to blame, or for what reasons one is right and the other not-so-right!! throughout these debates and political opinions, people, lots of human lives, and innocent ones at that, are being ‘wasted’ away as a result of these ‘issues.’ it would really go a long way in alleviating the pain, suffering and i believe the whole situation, even without ever raising a single voice, arm, pen or anything else that is used today, if all these so-called interested parties/ groups actually had their intentions in the right place upfront. short of that, in addition to losing loved ones and all the turmoil, one is only left feeling like a harlot, or filthy piece of dirt-cloth, when seemingly caring people use them further as leverage in their own self-interested/ opinionated debates about what’s fair or not.
    all life, lost, wasted away, brutally taken or even just plain-ignored is sacred. these kind of debates only serve to remind many, and further imprint these ideas into more… that in actual sense some people actually believe that they are more valuable/ important than others. well, delusions of grandeur are an accommodated nuisance, but be it the WTC bombings, US embassies, UK train stations, Gaza, Lebanon, Stockholm, Darfur and lots of endless other reminders of our grisly past… ever life is just as puny, fragile, simple…as well as valuable, precious and of consequence as the next in line, or the last that just got wasted, period!!
    there was a time it was the European Jews being terrorised, the Arabs, the (black) Africans (unfortunately in this sense we happen to be a timeless constant!!), but like some people have noted, one of the positive sides of ‘terrorism’ in the west, is that it has opened up the eyes of many people who once thought they were immune, to the suffering of war and terror. people no longer just ‘speak’ of terrorism and its effects, but they do have some first hand experience thereof. It is a wicked means to a very highly desirable end… in the end we are all just human, and equal. The scales may tip, or be tipped in one direction for a while, but in time all of us feel the earth’s shift towards balance, in one one way or another. And as the Holy Qur’an also mentions, were it not for wars and battles, the balance of wealth and power would have remained in the hands of the few tyrants that would hoard it endlessly.
    it is so painful to see, and helplessly watch as lives are lost, for so petty and narrow-minded reasons. whichever life it is, my only message to those that suffer the loss, would be that I do feel for them, and share their pain. and all in all, it is utterly useless to expect an outside influence to solve those deeply rooted, personal problems that are the cause of all this suffering. the real solution indeed would begin by looking into the mirror and changing the things about ourselves that contribute hereto, then as charity would have it, try…and i emphasise TRY to sell the same medicine to others in need.

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    mohanad, you should read more on the subject, your claims are very incorrect. The two conflicts are different though very similar, they are not more different from each other than the conflicts in other African nations, this is past the point of a reaction against rebel groups, we are talking civilians being raped, beaten, and burned to death if not shot, or bombed. None of those governments in Africa slaughtering their people are considered legitimate by the way, the bottom line is sadly that the world cares less about black African lives than about any others, not that they care so much more about the people of Gaza. To divorce the relationship between the two conflicts hurts the struggle of both.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darfur#Conflict

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    ps the Sudanese government is backed by other Arab nations, I wonder how the common people of these countries view the conflict

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