Friends - specialy Muslim ones - often take umbrage to my posts seemingly critical of faith, and in particular of some Islamic practices. I have, for instance, argued that Islam and Christianity have not abolished slavery. Islam strictly forbids usury, eating pork, extra-marital sex and many other things.. and prescribes serious punishments for far lesser crimes, if so. But none for purchasing and bonding humans. They argued that in practical terms slavery doesn't exist in Muslim world. And I argued that since religion does exercise an overriding influence on human personality in developing societies such provisions are bound to harm. For instance, the ban on interest giving and taking has ensured Muslim poverty. But for the accidental, and if I may say so, providential, gift of oil the average poverty index of Muslim nations would be far worse. Institution building just doesn't happen at the people's level. And while Muslim nations keep paying huge amount to World Bank towards interest, the pious and faithful individuals keep sulking in penury. Now comes this devastating report showing that the largest PROPORTIONAL slavery exists in the Islamic Republic of Mauritania. 4% Mauritanians live an abject, slavish conditions. [That the largest number of such deemed slaves exist in India is additional matter of shame for us TAHZEEBians.] Those that feel offended by my - and such other - posts will kindly remember that I speak for the downtrodden - and for the truth, harsh as it may be. I speak for the slaves throughout the world.