Archive for the ‘slavery in Islam’ Category

Islam’s institutionalised racism

September 1, 2011

Ibn Khaldun (1332-1406); the preeminent Islamic medieval historian and social thinker wrote:

The Negro nations are as a rule submissive to slavery, because they have attributes that are quite similar to dumb animals….

By the Middle Ages, the Arab word “abd” was in general use to denote a black slave while the word “mamluk” referred to a white slave. Even as late as the 19th century it was noted that in Mecca “there are few families that do not keep slaves. They all keep mistresses in common with their lawful wives.”

source

It may be objected that these sentiments and practices are inconsistent with Islam. This is false. Muhammad, the model man for Muslims, kept and even traded in slaves.

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Modern-day Slavery

May 8, 2011

In 1994 there were still an estimated 90,000 black Mauritanians (Harratin) in the possession of their Arab/Berber masters. It was also reported that some 300,000 freed slaves were still serving their former masters because of psychological or economic dependence.

Islam and Slavery, Samuel Green

Slavery made illegal in Saudi Arabia in 1962, however…

May 8, 2011

Although Tunisia, Egypt, and the Ottoman Empire abolished slavery in the 19th century under pressure from the West, in east Africa and other places it persisted into the 20th century, prompting the League of Nations and later the United Nations to condemn the practice. The nations of the Arabian Peninsula were among the last to outlaw slavery: Qatar in 1952, Saudi Arabia and the Yemen Arab Republic in 1962, the United Arab Emirates in 1963, South Yemen in 1967, and Oman in 1970.

After abolition in 1962, about 10,000 slaves were freed out of an estimated 15,000 – 30,000. In 1965 the Saudi royal family still kept hundreds of slaves. Many in Saudi Arabia advocate slavery even now. Sheik Saleh Al-Fawzen, a leading scholar and author of a religious textbook for schools, has said, “Slavery is a part of Islam”, and that those Muslims who oppose slavery “are ignorant, not scholars”.

Slavery in Islam, Samuel Green

The enslavement of Europeans under Islam

May 8, 2011

Between 1530 and 1780 at least a million white Christian Europeans were enslaved on the Barbary coast. Around the year 1600 there were estimated to be some 35,000 in captivity there at any one time. Many records of the letters sent home, telling of the terrible sufferings the slaves were enduring, still exist. Some converted to Islam in order to get easier duties or, in the case of women in the harems, to stay with their children who were being brought up as Muslims.

Islam and Slavery, Samuel Green

Islamic Slavery in India

May 8, 2011

The Arabs were the first invaders of India to capture and enslave large numbers of its inhabitants. In the 7th and 8th centuries, and later under the Ghaznavids (962-1187), huge numbers of Hindus became slaves. Many more were enslaved under the Delhi Sultanate (1206-1526), the Timurid jihad (1398), and the Mughals (1526-1857). K.S. Lal claims that the slave-taking added significantly to the growth of the Muslim population in India: “… every slave captured in war or purchased in the market or sent in lieu of revenue or tribute was invariably converted to Islam, so that slave-taking in medieval India was the most flourishing and successful missionary endeavour.”

The nobility owned huge numbers of slaves and maintained large slave armies. For example, a 14th century sultan kept 180,000 slaves of whom 40,000 were palace guards. In this situation of abundance the price of female slaves was very low. The large numbers of slaves captured in campaigns were either sold in local markets or sent to markets in central Asia.

Islm and Slavery, Samuel Green

Slavery under the Ottomans

May 8, 2011

The Balkan Christians of the Ottoman Empire suffered cruelly, particularly under the brutal and bitterly resented child-levy, the devshirme. From the 15th century to the early 17th century the Ottomans would seize a certain proportion of Christian boys from their villages every few years, forcibly convert them to Islam and train them for the elite fighting force known as the Janissaries or for the state bureaucracy. The devshirme was sternly enforced. If any Christian parent tried to prevent the taking of his child he was immediately hanged from his own door frame. It is estimated that between 500,000 and one million boys, from the ages of 8 to 20, were taken in this way. Occasionally, armed uprisings against the system took place, but they were quickly crushed. Some children ran away, only to return and give themselves up when their parents were tortured. Many resorted to bribery to escape recruitment. In the early 17th century the devshirme was abandoned and the Ottomans obtained their slaves from new sources Georgians and Circassians of the Caucasus and Slav and Central Asian slaves captured and traded by the Crimean Tatars. By the early 19th century this supply was reduced and the Ottomans turned to Africa.

Islam and Slavery, Samuel Green

Black Slavery under Islam

May 8, 2011

Black slaves were imported into the Muslim world from Africa by a number of routes northward across the Sahara desert, and by sea into Arabia and the Persian Gulf. Estimates of the number involved vary greatly but it seems that there may easily have been 10 million, perhaps even twice that number.

Two-thirds of African slaves were female. The males were considered to be troublesome. An uprising of slaves from West Africa, the Zanj, who had been imported into the Tigris-Euphrates delta to reclaim salt marshland through their backbreaking labour, lasted from 869 until 883.

The mortality rate was very high because of the harsh conditions, but the trade was so lucrative that merchants were not deterred by the numbers who died. Harrowing eye witness accounts tell of the vast scale and miserable conditions of the slave trade in Africa. In the 1570s many thousands of black Africans were seen for sale in Cairo on market days. In 1796 a caravan was seen by a British traveller leaving Darfur with 5,000 slaves. Black eunuchs became favoured for the royal harems. Even after Britain outlawed the slave trade in 1807, a further 2 million Africans were enslaved by Muslim traders.

The Arabic word abd which means “slave” or “servant” is used as an insult to black people in Lebanon, Syria, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf.

Islam and Slavery, Samuel Green

Islam, Slavery and Dhimmitude

May 8, 2011

When Amr conquered Tripoli (Libya) in 643, he forced the Jewish and Christian Berbers to give their wives and children as slaves to the Arab army as part of their jizya. From 652 until its conquest in 1276, Nubia was forced to send an annual contingent of slaves to Cairo. Treaties concluded with the towns of Transoxiana, Sijistan, Armenia, and Fezzan (Maghreb) under the Umayyads and Abbasids stipulated the annual dispatch of slaves from both sexes…Musa b. Nusayr brought back thirty thousand prisoners from his expeditions to Spain (714)

(Bat Ye’or, The Decline of Eastern Christianity under Islam – From Jihad to Dhimmitude, pp. 108-109.) quoted Samuel Green

Saudi Arabia only abolished slavery in 1962

January 15, 2011

Saudi Arabia, the homeland of Islam, only abolished slavery in 1962, after more than a century of political pressure from the West.

Mark Durie, THE THIRD CHOICE: Islam, Dhimmitude and Freedom, citing Bernard Lewis, What Went Wrong, p.89