Two Views of The History of Islamic Slavery in Africa

Two Views of The History of Islamic Slavery in Africa, by Susan Stephan. Our PC media prefers not to let us know some facts, discussed in an interesting review of two books:

[T]he Muslim Arab slave trade in Africa …  pre-dated the European Christian African slave trade by a thousand years and continued for more than a century after the Europeans had abolished the practice. Gordon estimates the number of slaves “harvested” from Black Africa over the period of the Muslim Arab slave trade at 11 million – roughly equal to the number taken by European Christians for their colonies in the New World.

I knew the Muslims took African slaves, but hadn’t realized it was on the same scale as the Europeans:

Gordon decries a “conspiracy of silence. . .[that] has blocked out all light on this sensitive subject.” Among scholars in the Arab world, the author points out, “No moral opprobrium has clung to slavery since it was sanctioned by the Koran and enjoyed an undisputed place in Arab society.”

Naturally, slavery could be extremely cruel:

One particularly brutal practice was the mutilation of young African boys, sometimes no more than 9 or ten years old, to create eunuchs, who brought a higher price in the slave markets of the Middle East. … Gordon estimates that only one out of every 10 boys subjected to the mutilation actually survived the surgery.

The taking of slaves – in razzias, or raids, on peaceful African villages – also had a high casualty rate. Gordon notes that the typical practice was to conduct a pre-dawn raid on an unsuspecting village and kill off as many of the men and older women as possible. Young women and children were then abducted as the preferred “booty” for the raiders.

They’ve stopped now, right?

Saudi Arabia only abolished the practice in the early 1960s. Unlike the European nations and the USA, the Arab nations did not abolish African slavery voluntarily out of moral conscience, but due to considerable economic and military pressure applied by the great colonial powers of time, France and Britain. Slavery is still practiced in two Islamic nations: The Sudan and Mauritania.

So that’s what “the shores of Tripoli” is doing in the American national anthem:

…the enslavement, over several centuries, of tens of thousands of white Christian Europeans and (later) Americans in Muslim North Africa — or the so-called “Barbary” states of Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Tripoli. Over the course of 10 centuries, tens of thousands of these unfortunates became the possessions of Muslims in North Africa courtesy of the feared Barbary pirates.

hat-tip Stephen Neil