Barbary Pirates and the Muslim Slavery Industry
Extract from Europeans as Victims of (Muslim) Colonialism by Fjordman
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Unlike the West, there never was a Muslim abolitionist movement since slavery is permitted according to sharia, Islamic religious law, and remains so to this day. When the open practice of slavery was finally abolished in most of the Islamic world, this was only due to external Western pressure, ranging from the American war against the Barbary pirates to the naval power of the British Empire.
Slavery was taken for granted throughout Islamic history and lasted longer than did the Western slave trade. Robert Spencer elaborates in his book A Religion of Peace?: Why Christianity Is and Islam Isn't:
Nor was there a Muslim abolitionist movement, no Clarkson, Wilberforce, or Garrison. When the slave trade ended, it was ended not through Muslim efforts but through British military force. Even so, there is evidence that slavery continues beneath the surface in some Muslim countries - notably Saudi Arabia, which only abolished slavery in 1962; Yemen and Oman, both of which ended legal slavery in 1970; and Niger, which didn't abolish slavery until 2004.
In Niger, the ban is widely ignored, and as many as one million people remain in bondage. Slaves are bred, often raped, and generally treated like animals. There are even slavery cases involving Muslims in the United States. A Saudi named Homaidan al-Turki was sentenced in September 2006 to twenty-seven years to life in prison for keeping a woman as a slave in his Colorado home.
For his part, al-Turki claimed that he was a victim of anti-Muslim bias.
Slavery involving peoples of all races, Germans, Saxons, Celts and some black Africans, was widely practiced in the Greco-Roman world. The most famous slave rebellion during the Roman era was led by Spartacus, a gladiator-slave from the Thracian people who dominated Bulgaria and the Balkan region close to the Black Sea in early historic times. His rebellion was crushed in 71 BC, and thousands of slaves were crucified alongside the road to Rome as a warning to others. The retreat of slavery in Europe followed the spread of Christianity.
All the way back to the Old Kingdom in ancient Egypt, slavery was an important component of Africa's trade to other continents. However, according to Robert O. Collins and James M. Burns in A History of Sub-Saharan Africa, "The advent of the Islamic age coincided with a sharp increase in the African slave trade." The expansion of the trans-Saharan slave trade associated with the Sahelian empire of Ghana was a response to the demand in the markets of Muslim North Africa:
"The moral justification for the enslavement of Africans south of the Sahara by Muslims was accepted by the fact they were 'unbelievers' (kafirin) practicing their traditional religions with many gods, not the one God of Islam.
The need for slaves, whether acquired by violence or by commercial exchange, revived the ancient but somnolent trans-Saharan trade, which became a major supplier of slaves for North Africa and Islamic Spain.
The earliest Muslim account of slaves crossing the Sahara from the Fezzan in southern Libya to Tripoli on the Mediterranean coast was written in the seventh century, but from the ninth century to the nineteenth there are a multitude of accounts of the pillage by military states of the Sahel, known to North African Muslims as bilad al-sudan, ('land of the blacks'), of pagan Africans who were sold to Muslim merchants and marched across the desert as a most profitable commodity in their elaborate commercial networks.
By the tenth century there was a steady stream of slaves taken from the kingdoms of the Western Sudan and the Chad Basin crossing the Sahara. Many died on the way, but the survivors fetched a great profit in the vibrant markets of Sijilmasa, Tripoli, and Cairo."
The spread of Islam with Arab contacts did bring literacy to sub-Saharan West Africa, but otherwise Muslims stimulated the slave trade from East Africa to the Indian Ocean, the Middle East and the Persian Gulf, and some African slaves were shipped as far as Central Asia and India.
When Europeans began to arrive in force in sub-Saharan Africa. Africa north of the Sahara and the Red Sea coast was known to the ancient Mediterranean world, but sub-Saharan Africa was not.
The Portuguese made planned expeditions along West Africa in the fifteenth century, which required decades of improvements in navigation and shipbuilding before they could round the Cape of Good Hope and reach the Indian Ocean.
 http://search.barnesandnoble.com/A-Religion-of-Peace/ Robert-R-Spencer/e/9781596985155/
 http://www.amazon.com/ History-Sub-Saharan-Africa-Robert-Collins/dp/052168708X/
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