Cultural Caviar

Islam’s Role in Slavery

July 02, 2012

Multiple Pages
Islam’s Role in Slavery

While filling my car with gasoline possibly derived from Middle Eastern oil, I spotted a billboard for a local clothing store called US ARABIA. Though the sign’s head-swaddled male and female models appear to be Caucasian, palefaces are scant in the area around this gas station, so I’ll presume the ad is targeted at an overwhelmingly black local population.

At the local Dunkin’ Donuts and Walgreens, I’ve noticed a surge of Georgia-born blacks in Muslim apparel. The festive Afro-nationalist dashikis so popular among American blacks twenty years ago have been replaced with what seems like a dress rehearsal for the global caliphate.

Although Islam and black nationalism share a flame-belching, sword-swinging hatred for Western Civ, it’s an odd pairing when you consider history. American blacks who dump Christianity and shack up with Islam seem to think they’re flipping the bird at the creed that enslaved their ancestors, but they’re only swapping it for a religion that has enslaved their ancestors for far longer.

The idea of collective historical guilt is often wielded as a psychological weapon, and civilizations that allow themselves to be inoculated with the Guilt Germ can be conquered without a shot being fired. Islamic apologists and Western oikophobes scoff and spit and snort that anyone would dare draw equivalencies between the transatlantic and the Arab slave trades, yet the historical record laughs in their faces.

“The idea of collective historical guilt is often wielded as a psychological weapon, and civilizations that allow themselves to be inoculated with the Guilt Germ can be conquered without a shot being fired.”

Though many Westerners have no qualms assigning collective historical guilt to all Caucasians for the transatlantic slave trade, my fatally Western sense of fairness compels me to distinguish between “Arab” and “Muslim.” Just as most white Christians played zero role in transatlantic slavery, it’s safe to assume that most Arab Muslims were at best only passive observers of the Arab slave trade.

As with the term “Jew,” the word “Arab” is a sticky concept involving a murky overlap of Semitic ancestry and religious beliefs. Though not all Muslims are Arab (and vicey-versey), what’s known as the Arab slave trade was primarily engineered by Arabic peoples under the pretense of Islamic expansionism.

But a giant distinction—one that flies right over the recently purchased hijabs and kufis of black American neo-Muslims—is the colossal one that Arabic Muslim slave traders made between themselves and sub-Saharan non-Muslim blacks. Depicting the latter as slow-witted alien infidels is what allowed Arabic Muslims to enslave, torture, and slay them in good conscience.

Many historians harp about how the Arab slave trade was far more humane than the transatlantic slaving biz. If only for spite, I’ll focus on what was far worse about it.

For starters, it predated the transatlantic slave trade by at least 800 years and has outlived it for 150 years and counting. Whereas the bloodthirsty hallucinating pedophile sandworm Muhammad (c. 570-632) owned both male and female black slaves, European explorers didn’t even begin dipping their beaks into the African human-cattle trade in large numbers until the 1500s.

Roughly three centuries later, Europeans and their American descendants took it upon themselves to put the kibosh on slavery. In contrast with Christendom, there was never a concerted Arabic abolition movement, and slavery was only formally outlawed in the Islamic world due to intense outside pressure. But slavery still openly thrives in places such as Mauritania and, on the downlow, throughout much of Africa and the Middle East.

If you count human bodies equally, the Arab slave trade likely shackled at least as many Africans as the transatlantic trade and possibly twice as many. Although early documentation is scarce due in part to a deafening lack of written languages below the Sahara, historical estimates range from a low of eight million to a high of 25 million. In contrast, the general consensus is that around 11 million Africans were transported to the New World—yet only a mere 5% of those wound up in what is now the USA, although the USA gets 100% of the guilt-tripping.

Despite what Alex Haley would have you believe in Roots, Europeans bought their slaves from established African slave markets and did not make extended forays into the bush to raid villages for slaves, booty, and slave-girl booty. In contrast, Arab slave traders penetrated deep into Africa to kidnap their prey.

If “sexism” bums you out, consider that two-thirds of transatlantic slaves were male, whereas two-thirds of those transported in the Arab slave trade were female.

Though some have mislabeled the African experience in America as “genocide,” that’s an uphill climb considering that an original slave population of about a half-million has blossomed into nearly 40 million black Americans, nearly all of whom enjoy greater longevity and higher living standards than their hapless Western African brethren.

The term “genocide” is more apt for what happened to Africans transported into the Middle East. Males who weren’t murdered in their African villages were routinely castrated—penis often included—whereas females were primarily used as sex slaves. When African concubines were impregnated, it was common practice to kill their infants at birth. This is why, despite the fact that far more African blacks were forcibly transported to the Middle East than to North America, you’ll see far more black faces here than over there.

Though the infamously brutal transatlantic “Middle Passage” yielded estimated fatalities ranging from 10 percent to a third, it seems downright cushy compared to being force-walked in slave caravans across the mercilessly gland-drying Sahara Desert, where four out of every five black Africans perished in transit.

Islamo-apologists may insist that they were far kinder to their slaves, yet reports exist to this day of insane torture methods including female and male genital mutilation, branding, hobbling, live insects shoved into victims’ ears before their earholes are waxed shut, and the “camel treatment,” where victims’ legs are tied beneath a dehydrated camel, who is then plied with ample food and water until its belly expands and dislocates the slave’s legs.

Just like the pathetic death rattle of neo-Marxists when confronted with soul-blotting communist atrocities and stratospheric death tolls, the Religion of Peace’s defenders will cough up a halfhearted, “Well, at least we’re not racist!” This is simultaneously true and false.

It’s false in the sense that Arabic/sub-Saharan tribal animosity has underpinned Islamic predations in Africa from the start. The Arabic word Abd is often used to mean either “slave” or “black.” Medieval Islamic scholar Ibn Khaldun wrote, “The Negro nations are as a rule submissive to slavery, because they have attributes that are quite similar to dumb animals.”

The idea that Islamic slavery is anti-racist is true in the sense that it doesn’t discriminate between blacks and whites, so long as they’re infidels. In varying degrees of intensity, white Christendom and the Islamic world have been clashing for over 1300 years, with untold numbers of Christian POWs bound into slavery. Books such as White Gold and Christian Slaves, Muslim Masters detail the Islamic slave raids that were concentrated in the Mediterranean but reached as far north as Norway and Iceland and as far east as the Caucasus. Few Americans seem aware that only 25 years after 1776, we went to war against Muslim pirates.

So if anyone tries to tell you that the Arab slave trade involved nothing but languid grape-feeding, belly dancing, and hash-loaded hookahs, may the fleas of a thousand camels infest their armpits.

Certain dimly flickering binary brains infesting modern political discourse reflexively assume that any criticism of Islam is a default endorsement of Zionism or of neocon Rambo escapades in the Middle East. That’s not the case with me. I don’t care what they do over there, but my kafir brain chafes at having to look at a massive US ARABIA billboard while I’m pumping my gas over here. As a friend once remarked, “I have Islamophobia—you catch it from Muslims.”

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