Islam and Slavery
More images at White Slavery In Islam Photo Gallery
A Muslim reader throws this up in my face: "Only the white race of the U.S. holds the record for the brutal, systematic, oppressive, and animalistic manner of dealing with race in the modern world. Of course the racism of the South never happened."
Yes, Habibi, America started off with slaves. But less than a hundred years after becoming a nation we abolished slavery. You may ask why didn't we free the slaves on the same day that we voted on our Constitution. For the same reason that Mohammed accepted the institution of slavery: it was the only practical option available at the time since "slavery was ingrained in the structure of society, and its overnight wholesale liquidation would have created problems which it would have been absolutely impossible to solve, and only a dreamer could have issued such a visionary statement." (1)
The only difference between Americans and Muslims is that America got rid of slavery in a few decades while it took more than a thousand years for Islam to officially do likewise and only under heavy pressure from western countries. However, in practice, slavery still exists under Islam.
Indeed, because the Qur'an accepted and regulated the treatment of slaves, Islam did more to protect and expand slavery than otherwise would have happened (2).
Because they endured brutal conditions, slaves imported from the east coast of Africa to run the plantations in Muslim Iraq revolted over a period of 15 years (869-883 AD - called the Zanj Rebellion) (3). Black Zanj slaves are thought to have constituted at least half of the total population in lower Iraq in the 9th and 10th centuries. Although Iraq (under British mandate) abolished slavery in 1924, some tribal sheiks in Iraq still keep blacks, called Abd, which means servant or slave in Arabic, as slaves.
Even non-slave blacks face heavy discrimination in Iraq to the present day; last year Black Iraqis were hoping for a Barack Obama win to help make things better for themselves (4). So much for Islam being tolerant of all races.
Saudi Arabia abolished slavery in 1962. On paper. But Sheik Saleh Al-Fawzan, a famous and revered religious authority in Saudi Arabia, professes: “Slavery is part of jihad, and jihad will remain as long as there is Islam." (5)
Just so you know, four million African Americans in the US were held in slavery in 1860 [Natl Park Service Civil War Institute]. On the other hand, the death toll from the 14 centuries of Muslim slave raids into Africa easily topped over 100 million (6).
In terms of cruelty, sexual exploitation, callousness for human life and dignity, Muslims treated their Black slaves savagely worse than any Simon Legree. Blacks that convert to Islam show how ignorant, how stupid, how uninformed of history they truly are.
So Habibi, before you criticize America for some wrong done to slaves in the distant past, think about what Islam is still doing to millions of slaves today.
From the Qur'an, being turned into a black is punishment for unbelief:
Muslim Access, Sura Al-i-Imran, 3:106-107
On the Day when some faces will be (lit up with) white, and some faces will be (in the gloom of) black: To those whose faces will be black, (will be said): "Did ye reject Faith after accepting it? Taste then the penalty for rejecting Faith."
Muslims: their religious beliefs and practices By Andrew Rippin, Page 241
Bernard Lewis. Race and Slavery in the Middle East, Chpt. 1 Slavery
In one of the sad paradoxes of human history, it was the humanitarian reforms brought by Islam that resulted in a vast development of the slave trade inside, and still more outside, the Islamic empire. In the Roman world, the slave population was occasionally recruited from outside, when a new territory was conquered or a barbarian invasion repelled, but mostly, slaves came from internal sources. This was not possible in the Islamic empire, where, although slavery was maintained, enslavement was banned. The result was an increasingly massive importation of slaves from the outside.
Totally Explained, Zanj Rebellion
As the plantation economy boomed and the Arabic people became richer, agriculture and other manual labor jobs were thought to be demeaning. The resulting labor shortage led to an increased slave market. It's certain that large numbers of slaves were exported from eastern Africa; the best evidence for this is the magnitude of the Zanj revolt in Iraq in the 9th century, though not all of the slaves involved were Zanj. There's little evidence of what part of eastern Africa the Zanj came from, for the name is here evidently used in its general sense, rather than to designate the particular stretch of the coast, from about 3°N. to 5°S., to which the name was also applied.
The Zanj were needed to take care of the Tigris-Euphrates delta, which had become abandoned marshland as a result of peasant migration and repeated flooding, [which] could be reclaimed through intensive labor. Wealthy proprietors “had received extensive grants of tidal land on the condition that they would make it arable." Sugar cane was prominent among the products of their plantations, particularly in Khūzestān Province. Zanj also worked the salt mines of Mesopotamia, especially around Basra. Their jobs were to clear away the nitrous top soil that made the land arable. The working conditions were also considered to be extremely miserable. Many other people were imported into the region besides Zanj.
LA Times, 14 Aug 2008, Babylon & Beyond
Abdul Hussein Abdul Razzaq laughs wearily when asked if racism is a problem in Iraq. As a black Iraqi, Razzaq says, he faces job and social discrimination and has little chance of getting a political appointment or being elected if he ran for public office.
That's why Razzaq, a longtime journalist from the southern city of Basra, is hoping that Barack Obama becomes the United States' next president. Not only will it be better for Americans, he says, it will help blacks the world over. "It will prove that Americans are recognizing that black people are just as capable as white people. It will be a historic accomplishment for black people all over the world if Barack Obama wins," Razzaq said.
Racism isn't new in Iraq. Blacks were brought here as slaves from Africa more than 1,000 years ago to work for wealthy landowners in Basra, where most of Iraq's black population still lives. Today, one of the insults sometimes hurled at black people is "Abd," which means servant or slave in Arabic, said Razzaq, who has founded a political organization called the Free Iraqis Movement to press for equal rights for black people.
Creeping Sharia, 20 Aug 2009, “Ramadan is the month of JIHAD”
Sheikh Saleh Al-Fawzan, a member of the senior council of Wahhabi clerics responsible for writing Saudi school text books, states: “Slavery is part of Islam. Slavery is part of jihad and jihad will remain as long as there is Islam. It has not been abolished.”
Christian Action Magazine, The Scourge of Slavery
While the mortality rate for slaves being transported across the Atlantic was as high as 10%, the percentage of slaves dying in transit in the Trans Sahara and East African slave trade was between 80 and 90%!
While almost all the slaves shipped across the Atlantic were for agricultural work, most of the slaves destined for the Muslim Middle East were for sexual exploitation as concubines, in harems, and for military service.
While many children were born to slaves in the Americas, and millions of their descendants are citizens in Brazil and the USA to this day, very few descendants of the slaves that ended up in the Middle East survive.
While most slaves who went to the Americas could marry and have families, most of the male slaves destined for the Middle East were castrated, and most of the children born to the women were killed at birth.
It is estimated that possibly as many as 11 million Africans were transported across the Atlantic (95% of which went to South and Central America, mainly to Portuguese, Spanish and French possessions. Only 5% of the slaves went to the United States).
Slaves in Africa - in the early 20th century.
However, at least 28 million Africans were enslaved in the Muslim Middle East. As at least 80% of those captured by Muslim slave traders were calculated to have died before reaching the slave markets, it is believed that the death toll from the 14 centuries of Muslim slave raids into Africa could have been over 112 million. When added to the number of those sold in the slave markets, the total number of African victims of the Trans Saharan and East African slave trade could be significantly higher than 140 million people.
Photo montage by Photovisi.