• Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Condemning European Slavery Sparing Islam, the Bigger Culprit

E-mail Print PDF

President Obama, visiting a slave-fort in Ghana, condemned slavery, pointing to a chruch that stood next to the slave-dungeons, to obviate the popular paradigm as to how European Christians, with sanctions from the church, engaged in black slavery, probably the only slavery that existed in history and is worth condemning. But Islam—whose role in slavery is much bigger, crueler, and more tragic—remains thoroughly untouched; as if Islam and its followers were/are untouched by the vice of slavery.   [Read in Bangla]

It’s a popular wisdom that the only slavery existed in history is the black slavery, whereby European traders captured and transported black Africans to the New World (Americas, West Indies).

Ask a Muslim; he/she will tell you so. An America-born young Muslim wrote to me: “Do you know how the American slave-hunters went to Africa, seized the black people and brought them to America as slaves? America’s economic power owes a great deal to the labor of those slaves.”

Nation of Islam’s Louis Farrakhan terms the trans-Atlantic slave-trade "worst and most cruel slavery" in history, adding that some white Americans do not know that "they are in the privileged position… based on what happened to us (Blacks)" in the past.

An overwhelming majority of Muslims believe that Islamic history is devoid of the abhorrent practice of slavery. Rocky Davis (aka Shahid Malik), an Australian Aboriginal convert to Islam, told the ABC Radio that “Christianity were the founders of slavery. Not Islam.”

Indeed, from my own experience of living as a Muslim for 35 years, this is one of the major reasons of why anti-West hatred is so strong amongst Muslims.

When Muslims in India talk about the practice of slavery in the subcontinent, they talk about the harrowing tales of how the Portuguese transported slaves from coastal areas of Goa, Kerala and Bengal in terrible conditions, and nothing else.

However, when I investigated, I was shocked to discover that Muslims—armed with divine and prophetic sanctions—practised slavery of a much greater proportion and tragedy, which I have discussed in my recent book, Islamic Jihad: A Legacy of Forced Conversion Imperialism and Slavery.

It is fortunate that President Obama, visiting a former slave-trading fort in Ghana on July 11, condemn this dark chapter in human history rightly as a “great evil”, adding “As African-Americans, there is a special sense that… this place was a place of profound sadness…”

Obama also pointed to a church, standing next to slave-dungeons, to obviate the paradigm as to how European Christians, with sanctions from the church, engaged in black slavery.

This popular paradigm excludes three major facts about slavery:

  1. Black slavery was not the only slavery in history. The Arabs, Turks, Indians and even millions of Europeans were also reduced to slavery during the same period and before, with added dimensions of sex-slavery and castration. And the perpetrators were Muslims, not Europeans.
  2. Black slaves were not shipped to the New World alone; a greater number were sent to the Islamic world.
  3. Even in trans-Atlantic slave-trade, Muslims were complicit and played the cruelest role.
Black slaves rescued by the British Navi from Muslim slave-traders

Islamic history informs us that Prophet Muhammad himself, armed with affirmed and reaffirmed divine sanctions (Quran 16:76, 30:28, 16:71, 70:29–30, 23:5–6, 33:50 etc.), initiated Islamic slavery by enslaving the women and children of a number of Arabian tribes (Quraiza, Khaybar, Mustaliq and Hawazin etc.). Later, as Islamic power grew in leaps and bounds, slavery witnessed a tremendous burst on the world stage. Everywhere Muslims won victory, the women and children of the vanquished were enslaved in massive numbers: General Musa enslaved 300,000 in his conquest of North Africa in 698 and returned from his conquest of Spain in 715 with the Caliph’s one-fifth share of the booty that included 30,000 white virgins from the Visigothic nobility alone, while Sultan Mahmud returned from his invasion of India in 1001–02 CE with 500,000 enslaved women and children. This is only a tip of the iceberg.

No small victims of Islamic slavery were Europeans themselves, who started falling victims to Islamic assaults in the Mediterranean islands within two decades after Muhammad’s death. And it continued well into the 19th century: the Ottomans, even in their decisive defeat and retreat from the Gates of Vienna in 1683, returned with 80,000 white captives, while Barbary pirates enslaved up to 1.5 million Europeans between the 1530s and 1820s, from European merchant-ships off the North African coast, plus from slave-raiding expeditions to costal villages and islands of Europe.

Even American merchant-ships and their crew suffered horrible Barbary depredations and enslavements. Prior to independence, Britain negotiated the release of captured American ship-crews whenever possible paying heavy ransom. After 1776, America signed treaties with Barbary States for securing safety of her ships by paying hefty tribute. To placate Muslims in Cairo speech, President Obama flaunted this humiliating treaty on America’s part as a respectful past relationship between Islam and America. As demand for higher ransom and depredations of U.S. ships continued, America had to engage in a difficult war to stop horrible enslavement of Americans in North Africa. Putting an end to continued enslavement of Europeans was a major reason behind France’s invasion of Morocco in 1830.

It’s noteworthy that the Europeans, Obama’s exclusive target of condemnation for slavery, were subjected to Islamic enslavement in the cruelest form for some eight centuries, before they themselves embarked on the practice—the widely condemned trans-Atlantic slave-trade.

Moreover, even in the European slave-trade in Africa, it was Muslims—the well-established masters of slave-hunting, -breeding and -trading for many centuries—who supplied over 80% of the slaves to European traders, the latter mainly purchased and transported them. The European slave-trade only offered a stimulus and played a lucrative partner for Muslims to a long-established Islamic vocation in Africa.

What is accurate about Obama’s statement about slavery in Ghana is that European slavery was “where the journey of much of African-American experience began”. The cruel aspect aside, it left a positive end of some kind: the Black Diaspora in the new world, definitely more fortunate today than their left-behind brethren.

Yet, this is only half the truth. There was another African slave-journey—lasting longer and larger in magnitude—that began with the Arab Muslim invasion of Africa in the 7-8th century. And it has left behind no residue whatsoever, an extermination of human species of huge magnitude—thanks to universal castration of black male-slaves destined for Islamic markets.

The inhumanity of Islamic castration of immense number of African men wasn’t the robbing of their most natural identity and endowment, i.e. their manhood, alone, but mortality in castration was about 75 percent. Overall mortality-rate of black slaves headed to the Islamic world, from procurement to reaching the destination, was as high as 90%, but their mortality in transportation by Europeans to the New World was about 10 percent.

Obama’s condemnation of European-Christian slavery, a horror chapter in history, is laudable, but his exclusion of Islam, the crueler partner in the same crime, is not. It does gross injustice to those unfortunate souls that suffered from this tragic Islamic scourge. And those souls also include millions of Christian Europeans, his sole target of condemnation.

European slavery has been thoroughly condemned by all and sundry—Europeans or non-Europeans, Christians or Muslims, scholars or laymen. And despite, Europe’s singular and forceful role in its abolition and from where slavery has been effectively abolished, anti-slavery campaigners have long called today’s Europeans to assume greater responsibility for past slavery and take concrete actions, such as payment of reparations, to combat slavery’s destructive legacy. But Islam—whose role in slavery is much bigger, crueler, and more tragic—remains thoroughly untouched; as if Islam and its followers were/are untouched by the vice of slavery.

In fact, some Islamic countries (Mauritania, Saudi Arabia & Sudan) have continued practising slavery to this days, while Sudan has intensified it in recent decades, thanks to lack of criticism of Muslim engagement in slavery, whether historical or present. Some 600,000 souls in Mauritania remain shackled in continued slavery with no hope for liberation in sight, while tens of thousands of Christians, Animists and even Muslims have been kidnapped and reduced to slavery in Sudan since Islamists came to power in 1985 (Khan, Islamic Jihad, p. 347–49).

Comments (13)Add Comment
Truth about Islam has to be told
written by Ravi , July 22, 2009
Its really unfortunate that the biggest evil of our times Islam is not given its due share of criticism. The muslims used to castrate the black africans, also they used to make eunichs of male children for guarding the harems.
The harem and concubine culture is the gift oif islam.
Islam is made in such a way that muslims have to attack non-muslims and rob non-muslims. Now with non-muslim world being powerful and muslims being fixed in there own countries, they are in dilema. The slavery is still there in dubai, saudi where they take the passport of the workers and force them to live in rooms sharing with 10 - 30 people in a room. They work 10-14 hours in hot sun and get only 120 -200 $ per month while initially they were promised 1000 to 1500 $ per month. Its a big slavery/ con job.
Again the human right groups are silent. The number of death is also high, but they threaten the countries who supply labour that they will ban there all workers if they make more sound.
The western world is suffering because of islam as they have sold there morality and allow the dictators, abuser of human right , immoral government in the UN.
It gives us a shock to know ,if present trend continues then Europe will be no more. Infact many muslim groups have named the name of this Islamized Europe as 'New Ottomon Empire'. Islamic Empire has striked back, the time is now, fight now or suffer later.
The story of 'Troy' teaches us only one thing that what a big army cant do , a small Toy Horse could have done.
The mighty Europe the coloniser of the whole world is going to become slave of Islam within 20-30 years due to immigration and procreation.
What muslims cant do with 'sword' will do with 'semen'.
Slavery in Africa
written by Shafee al-Zindig , July 23, 2009
Historically there were three guilty parties to this shameful trade.

1. Tribal wars in Africa had existed there for millennia, long before Islam and Christianity. It still does so unfortunately in many parts of Africa even today such as the Sudan. The victorious tribal chiefs sold rather than killed their captured enemies as it was much more profitable.

2. When Islam penetrated Africa and made converts among the tribes there, rather than ban the trade, it expanded the market for even more slaves to serve the wider Islamic world. The now converted Muslim chiefs used Jihad as a handy device to enslave non-Muslims as a source of profit.

3. The Europeans and Americans slavers were willing buyers at the African ports with its slave markets run by these black African chiefs. Very few of these white slavers ventured into the interior of the continent with all of its dangers. They found it much more convenient and safer to deal directly with the African chiefs.

Slavery was dealt a death blow by Christian abolitionists and freethinkers during the time of the British Empire and the American Civil War. Islam shamefully resisted all attempts to abolish slavery as it was sanctioned by the Quran and Muhammad.

Even the hated racial epithet "kaffir" as used during the apartheid regime in South Africa against black Africans, is an historical borrowed word from Islam.
written by vbv , July 23, 2009
While the whiteman has officially banned slavery ,it manifests itself in a different hue : racial prejudice and violence against blacks. Muslims ,ofcourse , are not hypocrites. They are blatant. Fopr them any "dhimmi" is fit to be taken as slave : that's arabian barbarianism sanctified by their cult books Quran and the Hadiths.Among all the so-called "religions" only Quran and the Old Testament sanction slavery. Abraham ,Moses,Solomon,David,etc were all the worthies having slaves and and trading in them. Islam takes the cue from the Old Testament with regard to slavery and their barbaric mafia codes/laws. The pre-islamic arabs were definitely more civilised and less barbaic people,even though they are derided as 'polytheist' ,as though it were highly objectionable to be a polytheist;while history shows that polytheists ,be it Romans,Greeks,Egyptians,Indians,Chinese or the Mayans were highly evolved,cultured ,tolerant and creative people who founded many a great civlisations ,were progressive thinkers,had goosd economies, flourishing trade,etc. All this were lacking amongst the monotheists who were gawking around aimlessly inte harsh deserts with fanatical zeal about their despotic ,'jealous' and psychopathic 'god'/Yahweh/Allah or such other bullshits,spreading fear ,superstitions,strifes,wars,humanmisery and backwardness. Only such cults can justify slavery as though their'god'/Allah/Yahweh sanctioned it.
Great Job
written by Andrew Stunich , July 23, 2009
Good work Mr. Khan.
Please Post Your Bill Warner Interview
written by Andrew Stunich , July 23, 2009
Mr. Kahn, your interview with Bill Warner contains some excellent, tell-it-like-it-is analysis. You should post it on your web site as well. He gives permission to post to others as long as attribution is given.
written by M. A. Khan , July 23, 2009
Dear Andrew, the interview has been posted already. You may have missed it.
written by John , July 23, 2009
This is a well written and informative article. It begs a comparison between liberal guilt over slavery, and Islamic ruthlessness on the matter.

Just btw... Christianity endorses slavery in the New Testament. (Ephesians 6:5 and Collossians 3:22)

Before a certain date in history, slavery was ubiquitous all over the globe. No god spoke with a higher morality about the wrongness of slavery until rather recently. It's funny how the gods have changed over time.

Western culture is capable of assessing itself in the light of history, and going forward to try to make a better world. Islam is fettered with the belief that human culture peaked in 7th Century Arabia.

The New Testament endorsements of slavery may have been an arguement for slavery before abolition, but the US and Europe have moved to a more moral stance independent of religion.

Just because the Bible endorses slavery or...say beating your children, (Spare the rod, spoil the child) it does not mean that Christians believe in slavery or child beating.

When good people are confronted with scripture that advocates evil things, they typically find interpretive rationalizations so that the scripture does not mean what it says.

I have read complex interpretations of scriptural Jihad wherein no violence is advocated, perhaps Islam is trying to reform itself.

Still. as with beating children in Christianity or beating wives in Islam, the scriptural excuse is always there for bullies who want an easy target.

Religion, after all, generally reflects a people. It's not the other way around.

I read the Saudi newsource quite often, and there are frequent reports of slavery, usually with female foreign workers who are denied wages and beaten... most often by the wives of Saudis.

When you have slaves beating slaves... you know slavery is alive and well.

I believe the word "Islam" translates well to "slavery" rather than "submission"... and that what Western psychology calls "Stockholm Syndrome" is a stabalizing force in Islam, particuarly with women.

In my opinion, of course.
written by kmgy , July 23, 2009
God does not promote slavery. In fact God (NOT the false Islamic god Allah) in the Old Testament commissioned Moses to free the Israelites from Egyptian slavery. Jesus in the New Testament said He came to free those who are in bondage. People who falsely accuse God of promoting slavery is wittingly or unwittingly spreading lies and malice and doing the work of the Deceiver.
written by Sania Mirza,India , July 23, 2009
It is a shame that americans have elected such an ignorant fool as a president. He says USA is a major islamic country, islam has contributed greatly to USA , he sent new year greetings to Irani mullas on Nauroze and paid tributes to their contributions to art and music, he pussy foot islam in Cairo,an ideology of violence and hate. Such idiots never get to be prime ministers or presidents in India.
To Sania Mirza
written by balam , July 24, 2009
You are absolutely right.Obama is an idiot and also a great deceiver like Mohammad,his Idol and the Americans have proved how gullible and politically immature they are.A donkey would have made a better president than Obama-a disloyal black adder.
Womeen in Islam
written by Don , July 24, 2009
Another sad fact is that every time a female is born into Islamic culture, she is virually born into a form of slavery.
Virtual or Actual Slavery?
written by Andrew Stunich , July 24, 2009
I think most Muslim women are born into actual slavery unless the man that controls their life is unusually enlightened. The virtual slavery refers to all Muslims whose indoctrination and in many cases forced acceptance of islam (All Saudis must be Muslims for example) makes them virtual mental slaves.
written by think of your dark and foolish era , March 20, 2011
this all propaganda and nothing else

Write comment
This content has been locked. You can no longer post any comments.


About the book || Reviews by: Steven Simpson | Abul Kasem | Prof Sami Alrabaa | Ibn Kammuna


'Islamic Jihad' in Bangla
Aasma Riaz: "Thank you so much for your book "Islamic Jihad" and showing me the "Big Picture". For 7-8 days, I was glued to your book, absorbing so much information that I did not know existed. You have crisply covered so much in your book and quoted historical references extensively. I am just overwhelmed with different emotions after reading your book..., a priceless tome."

Editor: M A Khan | Site design: Dan Zaremba
Founded on 20 November 2005


* Aisha and Muhammad, the movie:

Bill Maher: 'Islam is the worst'
• Bill Maher on "72 Virgins"