This past July US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, accompanied by House Representative Ilham Omar, travelled to Ghana to speak about the 400-year-old slave trade from Africa to the New World. This was in part to appease the surge of interest in the United States about a demand by certain black organizations and politicians, such as Black Lives Matter and US Senator Cory Booker to introduce a slavery reparations bill for a financial compensation by the “white” people. Yet as Mateen Elass says in his blog post Ilhan Omar and the Door of No Return: European slave traders have rightly been pilloried for their central role in the transport and sale of other human beings for profit, and for their inhuman treatment of those they considered less than human. And, of course, Americans of the 17th through 19th centuries have been condemned for being an avid market for the purchase of slaves and maintenance of slavery as an acceptable institution of society.
Pelosi, Omar, Booker, and others omit that the slave trade originated from Africa and simultaneously do not hold those African nations accountable. They thus have put exclusive blame on white men, notwithstanding that Africans willingly captured innocent men, women, and children and sold and transported them to the New World. Just like revisionist historians and terrorist-linked groups, such as the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), there is also a collective refusal to accept that the protagonists of the slave trade in Africa were Arab Muslims — going back all the way to the time of Muhammad — and that it continues to be prevalent in the Islamic world. This falls right in line with what Pope St. Zachary (741-752) once stated: “Wherever Islam goes slavery follows, and specifically the horrible institution of sex slavery, as that was the primary reason for it.”
TheProphet Muhammad, during the course of installing a tripartite paradigm of Islamic slavery via his military campaigns and raids against the inhabitants of Arabia, enslaved many of the Semitic peoples of the region. The prerequisite for being enslaved in Islam, whether it was for domestic labor or sexual exploitation, was not based on race, as it was with the trans-Atlantic slave trade between the New World and West Africa, but on being a non-Muslim war captive. It is estimated that between 650 and 1900, a minimum of eighteen million Africans had been enslaved by Arab slave traders; over one million Europeans were equally subjugated by the Muslim world during the same period.
From the beginning of the Islamic era, slavers had been staging raids against the coastal tribes of equatorial East Africa. When the Sultanate of Zanzibar was established in the ninth century, the raids shifted inland to present-day Kenya and Uganda. Slaves were taken from as far south as Mozambique and as far north as Sudan.
Many slaves went to the mines and plantations of the Middle East, but many more went to Muslim territories in India and Java. These slaves were used as a kind of international currency, with up to hundreds of them being given as gifts to Chinese diplomatic parties. As Muslim power expanded, Arab slavers spread to North Africa and found a very lucrative trade waiting for them in the Mediterranean. Male African slaves were favored for heavy-duty work in salt mines and on sugar plantations. Older men and women cleaned streets and scrubbed floors in wealthy households. Boys and girls alike were kept as sexual property.
There are numerous Quranic and hadithverses that justify and encourage slavery as a blessing and a profitable enterprise:
- And marry the unmarried among you and the righteous among your male slaves and female slaves. If they should be poor, Allah will enrich them from His bounty, and Allah is all-Encompassing and Knowing. — Sura 24, 64
- O Prophet, We have made lawful to you the wives to whom you have granted dowries and those your right hand possesses [slave girls] what Allah has return to you as booty. — Sura 33, 50
- Narrated Jabir: A man manumitted a slave and he had no other property than that, so the Prophet cancelled the manumission (and sold the slave for him). No’aim bin Al-Nahham bought the slave from him. — Sahih al-Bukhari, Book 42, hadith 598
The issue of slavery in the Islamic world today is thought to be limited to terrorist groups, such as ISIS and Boko Haram. The former has kidnapped mostly Kurdish Yazidi women and girls as sex-slaves; the latter, while it too has abducted females for similar reasons, has placed them on equal par with males by forcing them into inhumane labor or jihadistindoctrination. According to UNICEF, in 2015, thirty-nine of eighty-nine Boko Haram suicide bombings were carried out by women, most of them being under the age of eighteen.
While all Muslim countries, under the impetus of the West, have officially outlawed slavery from their constitutions or civil codes, the truth of the matter is that it still continues to be observed in numerous Islamic states; and it is not just terrorists who are enslaving people:
- Pakistan, for example, ranks third in the world in the practice of slavery. According to the executive secretary of the Justice and Peace Commission, Hyacinth Peter, part of the Pakistani observance includes debt bondage, forced marriages, trafficking, and the exploitation of children.
- In Libya, since the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi, Muslim smugglers have taken numerous Africans as slaves. According to the International Organisation for Migration, West African migrants who are seeking to escape repression are captured, bought, and sold in garages and car parks. There have been reports from Libya about organized slave markets and a few years ago, a case of slavery was uncovered in Tanzania, according to Lodhi. “A mine was found in a remote area where 50 to 60 boys were forced to work. They were not paid and lived in a camp guarded by armed men.”
- In Nigeria, not just females but men and boys are also captured for physical labor and sexual exploitation. Just a few days ago, police raided an Islamic school in Katsina State — the northwestern home state of President Muhammadu Buhari —and freed nearly seventy men and boys. Lawal Ahmad, a 33-year-old man who was held captive, said he witnessed sexual assault, beatings and the death of other captives during his two years there.
- The Islamic Republic of Mauritania, while being the last nation to legally prohibit slavery, doing so in 1981 (although it was not illegal to own slaves until 2007), has now evolved into a racist Arab society that deals in the enslaving and trading of black people. It is believed that in Mauritania, which has the largest population of black slaves today, more than a half-million blacks are coerced into inhumane labor, grotesque sexual practices, and breeding. According to a Human Rights Watch/Africa report, customary abuse of slaves in Mauritania include beatings, denial of food, and prolonged exposure to the sun, with hands and feet tied together.
- In North Sudan, slavery was restored in 1983 when the Islamic government began using slave raids as a weapon in its military campaign to put down the southern rebellion against the government’s imposition of Islamic law. “The government armed Arab Muslim militia groups and encouraged them to raid Southern villages, steal their property, and take their women and children as slaves — [t]ens of thousands of [Christians and non-Muslims] were captured and enslaved.” In fact, in the seventh century the Nubian Kingdom of Makuria (North Sudan) signed a treaty with the Arabs who had just conquered Egypt to send 360 slaves a year in exchange for peace — these slaves would then become the backbone of Muslim armies for centuries to come — today the Gulf monarchies continue to rely on to North Sudan to provide enslaved foot-soldiers for their ruthless plans for regional domination.
- In Saudi Arabia, in order to make Prince Mohammad bin Salman’s dream of Vision 2030 happen — an economic project to harness natural resources, outside of oil — abusive labor sponsorship system persists, effectively keeping foreign workers at the mercy of their Saudi sponsors and preventing expansion of the foreign workforce. Expatriate workers do not have the right to enter and exit the country freely, and sponsors have the ability to call for their deportation just on a whim. They are not only subject to forced deportation, harassment, and sexual assault, but they are denied their wages, labor rights, and even the right to return home. Some workers have been arrested based on false accusations and held in Saudi prisons for months, or sometimes years, without fair trials.
The tell all of this ongoing tragedy is that while the mainstream media, left-wing politicians, and revisionists continue to chide the crimes of slavery, specifically in America, they should not just take a look that it continues to exist in various Muslim countries but that it is also justified by their religious tenets. As for CAIR, Black Lives Matter, left-wing politicians, and those sustaining their demands, they eventually publicly recognize that Muslims were primarily behind the slave trade they criticize and that they continue to traffic human beings to such an end.
N. B. Quotations and sources not cited can be found in my book Islam: Religion of Peace? The Violation of Natural Rights and Western Cover-Up.
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