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Slavery in Mauritania - Abolition Instit

Slavery in Mauritania

Facts

  • The Walk Free Foundation’s first Global Slavery Index ranked Mauritania as the nation with the highest percentage on Earth of its own people enslaved.

  • Estimate of enslaved people in Mauritania: 149,000 (Global Slavery Index)

  • Slavery technically abolished in 1981

  • Slavery technically criminalized in 2007

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Modern Slavery in Mauritania.jpg

Activists outside of police station calling for a slave owner to be charged.

Faith Traditions Against Slavery

Mauritania's population is almost entirely Muslim.  However, Mauritanian slave owners often distort the teachings of Islam in order to maintain control of their slaves.  They tell them that Islam supports their brutal practice of slavery.  This is not true and is disrespectful to a religion that has always counted notable abolitionists, and those who have struggled bravely against their own enslavement, as adherents.

The Abolition Institute, in coordination with the Council of Islamic Organization of Greater Chicago, recently organized a groundbreaking show of support by prominent American Muslim leaders for their fellow Muslims working against slavery in Mauritania.  70 American Islamic organizations, in an open letter published in Mauritania and covered by multiple Mauritanian news outlets, praised the Association of Mauritanian Oulema (religious scholars) for their strong statement that slavery is an illegal act with no basis in Islamic law and that working against slavery and its impact is a religious obligation. 

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