EDITED TRANSCRIPT OF DR. ABOU EL FADL'S APPEAL TO MUSLIMS (February 2024):
Al salamu 'alaykum Everyone. I am Khaled Abou El Fadl and this is a unique and special kind of message that I am sending out to all Muslims who remember the words of Allah [SWT]. Allah tells us that overcoming one of the greatest obstacles to entering heaven, to be in Allah's grace, is to free someone from bondage. And the truth of the matter, my brothers and sisters, is that we live in a world full of human beings living in bondage. As some of you might know, I have taught human trafficking at UCLA Law School for many years. I have researched this field, I have worked in this field, I have been involved in this field.
And through the years, Allah has put in my way people who were exactly trapped in this type of horrific bondage, people who in one way or another, whether it was through some fault of their own or no fault of their own, it really doesn't matter, but people who became abducted, forced into sexual slavery, turned into sexual slaves. And every time that I had an opportunity to help liberate one of these people, I feel as if Allah's grace opens up to me and Allah's blessings shower me from head to toe, and I'm so grateful for it.
I was preparing to teach my human trafficking course again and I was doing research hoping to find people basically that can speak to my class about the realities of human trafficking. Allah willed that during the course of this research, I encountered more than what my heart and mind can bear. I've encountered women that have been abducted from Hawaii, forced into slavery, abducted by unfortunately US military personnel, sold from state to state until they ended up in Columbus. I've encountered women abducted from the Philippines, I've encountered women abducted from Mexico, I've encountered women who've been even abducted from countries like Indonesia, and Malaysia, Muslim countries.
The reality is that these women don't even remember what their religion was because when they were abducted, they were so young, their memories scrambled and altered by their abusers. They've been abused so often and for so long, and here's the thing. Here's the reality about human trafficking: these women are most lucrative from the ages of around 12 to 21. Once they pass the age of 21, they start becoming less and less lucrative for their handlers, and eventually, when they reach the age 25 or above, they stop being worth much for their handlers at all.
So, the situation that I ran into is that first I encountered a few women whose freedom could be bought simply by giving their handlers $600. $600 and their handlers would let them go. Why? Because they're 28 or 29 years old, and they're just not worth much. I've encountered women who have been dumped by their handlers, but are living on the street, who are ill and cannot afford to go to see a doctor, who are literally starving. They of course are undocumented, they don't have any papers, they don't exist officially as human beings. There's no record of them. If they die, they will be a Jane Doe, and I to my very limited ability, started trying to help these women, to help find them shelter, help find them food, help get them medicine.
And very quickly, I have become overwhelmed. I can't keep up with the number of people. I have an enormous amount of experience, now 30 years in this field. So I know the signs, I know who has legitimately been victimized. People who are interested - unfortunately, so many people are not interested - can read an enormous amount of literature, including the material that I teach in my own classes.
So, here is the situation, I am appealing to any Muslim who wants to fulfill and embody God's command of overcoming the obstacle to entering heaven [Qur'an 90: 11-13]. As Allah says, if only you know what is the aqaba? And the aqaba is to free a human being from servitude, to free a human being from starvation, from homelessness, especially these young women, whose fate is horrific.
And what I'm appealing to you or might appeal to you is simply to donate, so that you can help me help these women. Very quickly, my own funds became depleted. I can't keep up, and I can't see these women perish and continue perishing and the suffering to continue. And I know that we have a lot of challenges, but even if each of you donated $10, we would be able to do a lot to help these women.
Your reward is with Allah, and remember that Allah does not forget. If you help a person in need today, tomorrow, when the circumstances of life puts your child in a difficult situation, Allah will make the good that you've done come to the aid of your child and your grandchildren and the children of your grandchildren. In other words, you are investing not just in your Hereafter, but you are investing in goodness for your very children. Please, again, I beg of you, whatever you can donate, as small as it might be. I have lost faith in rich Muslims. The richer they are, the less they want to give. That's a sad reality, but I'm putting all my faith in the average, normal, God-fearing Muslim, $5, $10, 50, $100, anything, so that I can continue helping and saving these women from a horrible fate that they confront. May Allah bless you, and may Allah have mercy on all of us and forgive all of us our sins. Wa al salamu alaykum wa rahmatullah wa barakatohu.
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