I met a South African of Boer descent recently. He went on about what the 'kafirs' were doing to his (the Boer's) county. His attitude though offensive was outclassed by his ignorance, since there are many amongst us who use the word 'kafir' without being aware that it is more than an offensive word for a black person. Few seem to appreciate that the etymology of the word derives from the Arabic word 'kaafir', meaning 'one who is aware of the message of Islam but refuses to worship Allah' (Arabic: "Subhaanahu wa Ta'aala").
Naturally, the early Arab conquerors of much of Northern Africa were delighted that many of the indigenous black tribes refused to worship Allah, because that gave their conquerors the excuse to enslave them and sell them for profit, and all in the name of serving their rather peculiar so-called 'god'. Arguably, this was a 'good thing' from the enslaved's point of view, since the only other alternative available to their allegedly 'devout' Muslim conquerors was to execute them in some horribly painful way.
Better to be enslaved than dead, eh?
This is not to suggest that the title of 'slaver' should be restricted only to those of Semitic origin, since many of the sons of Ham were equally guilty of the charge in their own right, as were many of the rest of us, though these facts tends to be omitted by those who choose to claim that slavery was exclusively the product of white racism. Ha ha.
Nevertheless, this abuse of language does show how a word can be distorted to imply something other that its original meaning - at least to non Arabic speakers, since its original meaning still pertains to them - and is why I am pleased to acknowledge that I am proud to be called a kafir.
When I advised my South African interlocutor of this, he nearly choked on his beer and suddenly remembered an appointment he had to keep elsewhere - probably with the local chapter of the Neo-Nazis.