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Even today, up to 600,000 people live in slavery in Mauritania

In Mauritania alone, between 140,000 and 600,000 people are estimated to be enslaved, and the worst thing is that the Mauritanian government's approach protects slavers rather than their victims. As Marjam herself says in the interview: "We suffer from slavery and racism at the same time. That is our reality. The Beydanes caste, which makes up no more than 10% of Mauritanians, controls Mauritania, its economy and its people. (…) Everyone who speaks is considered a criminal whose natural place is in prison. Not so long ago, [anyone who spoke] was killed. (…) I have been arrested and tortured many times. I was tortured mentally and physically. The last time I was arrested, I had a 1.5-year-old child. They separated us by force. And they killed him. The Mauritanian state weaned my child - a 1.5-year-old child. He was shut down. And they kept me from seeing him, and did not allow my husband or relatives to visit me. "

Marjam Bint al Sheikh is a member of the Initiative for the Resurgence of the Abolitionist Movement, which is also represented by Biram Dah Abeid, who was born in 1965 to a woman enslaved under Islamic Sharia law. From his adolescence, he became involved in the fight against slavery and faced brutal persecution from both the Mauritanian government and slavery advocates. Abeid and his group caused great resentment among some Muslims in Mauritania by publicly burning Muslim sacred texts that allow slavery. However, as Abeid himself states, Islam is only abused to justify slavery.

The American website of The New Yorker, in its 2014 article in a text dedicated to Abeid, describes an incident with a Muslim clergyman. While Abeid was traveling, one well-known imam had a television interview. A journalist asked him if there was slavery in Mauritania, and the imam said no. So why, the journalist asked, did you recently give to my boss as a gift for a slave girl? The Imam just smiled."

The Initiative for the Resurgence of the Abolitionist Movement and its representative, Abeid, have been praised by many non-profit organizations for its fight against slavery in Africa. Abeid has become an influential political opposition figure against the Mauritanian government, which he accuses of corruption and silent defenses of slavery. Officially, slavery in Mauritania was abolished only in 1981, but it was not until 2007 that a law was passed that allows slave owners to be punished, although so far those who report more slavery cases are more punished by the Mauritanian authorities.

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