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Member since: Thu Dec 4, 2014, 02:08 AM
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Black in Algeria? Then You’d Better Be Muslim.

"In the West, racism sees skin color; in Arab countries, it sees religion."

Many black migrants, including those who are not Muslim, are deploying symbols of Islam to appeal to Algerians’ sense of charity. Why? Because poverty helps decode culture better than reflection does, and migrants, lacking shelter and food, are quick to realize that in Algeria there often is no empathy between human beings, only empathy between people of the same religion.

In Europe, migrants can try to play on the humanitarianism and guilty consciences of their hosts, but in Algeria these days, the Other is visible only through the prism of faith. In the West, racism sees skin color; in Arab countries, it sees religion.

Yet these two forms of racism are related: Westerners deny (or accuse) Arabs, and Arabs in turn deny (or accuse) black Africans.

Although many Algerian Muslims are neither sectarian nor racist, they don’t have much influence among the elites or over public debate. Extremist positions crowd out more moderate religious views.

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