Thwarting Islamic Slavers


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white slave

MUSLIM APOLOGISTS never discuss, or even mention, the fact that slavery has always been accepted in Islam, and therefore it remains perfectly licit, as long as the canonical texts are neither changed, nor received differently. They never mention, never allude to, the vast Arab slave trade. They do not apologize for it; why should they—there is nothing to apologize or feel guilty about, according to the tenets of Islam. The mortality rate for the black Africans taken by the Arabs was extraordinarily high. Why were the boys castrated far from the final market? Very high death rates. Specialist knowledge lowered mortality and reduced costs—on routes utilized by slave traders.

In "The Hideous Trade: Economic Aspects of the "Manufacture" and Sale of Eunuchs," Paideuma, Mitteilungen zur Kulturkunde, Vol. .45, pp. 137-160, Weisbaden, 1999, J. Hogendorn analyzes the economics of the trade in black eunuchs by African slavers. It made economic sense to castrate boys, between the ages of 4 and 10, because they seemed to survive the operation, and the long march, more easily. Furthermore, while the Maliki school of jurisprudence that prevailed in North Africa did not allow for the "mutiliation" of slaves, the local Arabs exhibited no qualms if such "mutilation" (i.e. castration) were to be performed elsewhere, and for them simply to be the buyers of the boys who had been gelded out of sight.

Hogendorn adduces evidence, supported by the observations of others, that the mortality rate was 90%, so that for every 1000 black Africans subjected to castration by the Arab traders, only 100 would make it to the Muslim slave markets, in Constantinopole, Cairo, Baghdad, Beirut, Riyadh, Jeddah, Mecca, Medina, and even Smyrna. Anyone wishing to research the vast Arab trade in black eunuchs should start with Hogendorn. Needless to say, neither Muslims, nor Muslim apologists, have anything to say about this enormous trade—try finding a word about it in all of John Esposito's dozen or so books, and you will come up empty.

The Arab slave trade was much mentioned by the Western press during the 19th century—Tippoo Tib, for example, was a notorious figure, who occurs in Stanley's reports on the Congo. There were many less-known Arab slavers as well. But this is a subject that needs to be investigated, perhaps most appropriately by those who are looking for under-investigated areas of world history.

Yet another fail to recognize the Arab slave trade, though the slave-trader Tippu was a major figure, for example, in Livingstone's reports from Central Africa. new book, based on the story of Thomas Pellow, an Englishman who was one of those captured, "converted" to Islam, and then managed to return to England, has just appeared on this very subject—"White Gold," by Giles Milton (Hodder and Stoughton). Here is the brief review by Philippa Nuttall, in the Times Literary Supplement (Nov. 26, 2004, p.33):

"The horrors of the black slave trade are well documented, but few people are aware that Europeans were also sold to work as slaves for the sultans of North Africa and their entourages. Giles Milton’s reading of unpublished journals and letters led him to uncover the amazing and shocking tale of Thomas Pellow. Stolen from his uncle's ship in 1715 at the age of eleven, Pellow was not to return home to the Cornish village of Penryn until twenty-three years later.

Between 1609 and 1616, some 466 English trading ships were seized and their crews forced into slavery. The corsairs of Barbary also launched hit and run raids around the coast of England. By the end of 1625, the mayor of Plymouth believed that at least a thousand of his townspeople had been kidnapped. The men were most often put to work from dawn to dusk, toiling away under the blistering heat on the Moroccan sultan Mulay Ismail's new palace, the largest construction project in history.

The sultan was not satisfied with forcing the slaves to work for him. He wished them to share in his religious beliefs, and frequently tried to convert them to Islam through torture. The women prisoners were forvcibly converted and sent to the harem. A particularly widespread form of torture was bastinadoing, whereby the victim is hung upside down so that his neck and shoulders rest on the ground. His ankles are then bound and he is whipped forty or fifty times on the soles of his feet. Pellow initially put up a strong fight. But after one particularly fearsome bastinado, he renounced God in favour of Muhammad. His intelligence and strength had already caused the sultan to single him out as a potential palace retainer; his conversion eased his appointment as guardian of the imperial harem.

As time passed, though never losing the desire to return to his homeland, Pellow began to have more in common with his captors than with his countrymen. He became fluent in Arabic, was made to take a wife " with whom he had a daughter " and was regularly sent into battle. He even took part in slave-gathering expeditions across the Dark Continent. After several failed attempts, he managed to flee his captors and returned to Devon.

The British government and its European neighbours proved singularly unable to coordinate and sustain an effort to free the slaves. It was not until 1816 that Britain finally declared all-out war on the trade and sent a fleet, captained by a distant relative of Pellow, to Algiers. The victory of Sir Edward Pellow's fleet led to the release of 1,642 slaves in Algiers alone, and persuaded the rulers of Tunis, Tripoli and various Moroccan cities that the era of the white slave was over.

Of course, the enslavement of blacks and whites was justified by the Muslim raiders because both the black Africans, and all the Europeans who were kidnapped over many centuries, both belonged to the Bilad al-kufr and were, in fact, Infidels. J. Willis, like Hogedorn a student of the Arab slave trade, notes in “Jihad and the Ideology of Enslavement,” in Slaves and Slavery in Muslim Africa, pp. 16-26, the attitude of the Arab slavers:

“As the opposition of Islam to kufr erupted from every corner of malice and mistrust, the lands of the enslavable barbarian became the favorite hunting ground for the “people of reason and faith” [that is, Muslims], the parallels between slave and infidel began to fuse in the heat of jihad. Hence whether by capture or sale, it was as slave and not citizen that the kafir was destined to enter the Muslim domain. And since the condition of captives flowed from the status of their territories, the choice between freedom and servility came to rests on a single proof: the religion of a land is the religion of its amir (ruler); if he be Muslim, the land is a land of Islam (dar al-Islam); if he be pagan, the land is a land of unbelief (dar al-kufr).

Appended to this principle was the kindred notion that the religion of a land is the religion of its majority; if it be Muslim the land is a land of Islam; if it be pagan, the land is a land of kufr, and its inhabitants can be reckoned within the categories of enslavement underl Muslim law. Again, as slavery became a simile for infidelity, so too did freedom remain the signal feature of Islam. And further:

“...in all the legal texts: "make jihad against the infidels, kill their men, make captive their women and children, seize their wealth .”

Thus, encumbrance was no sanctuary from the servile condition; with the elimination of the men, the net of enslavement slipped over the remnants of the kafir camp, round the women and children who became spoil in the path of Allah. The deiolgoy of enslavement in Islam then, becomes that ideology which seeks to repair the losses of jihad. Women and children are the diya [the compensation, fixed by custom and law], the jizya, the reparation and plunder for lives pledged in jihad. Hence again, spoil [ghanima] becomes a kind of compensation

There is much more in Willis, and in Hogedorn. These texts will appear in the forthcoming “The Legacy of Jihad” - a much-needed anthology of scholarship on Jihad and Dhimmitude, edited by Dr. Andrew Bostom.

Iut from this short note, on both the vast Arab trade in the enslavement of black Africans (and if the mortality rate for the eunuchs was 90%, then the numbers of Africans actually murdered even before they arrived at the Muslim slave markets of Mecca, Medinah, Cairo, Baghdad, Constantinopole, Jeddah, and so on, then given the millions and millions who were enslaved over many centuries until the Europeans, especially the British, managed to end the trade, was far greater than the number of victims of the Middle Passage, or Atlantic Slave Trade.

If we add to that the million victims of the white slave trade, discussed in the review of Giles Milton's “White Gold” which focuses on the life of Thomas Pellow, one can see that those who make claims as occurred during the U.N.'s almost continuous session of taqiyya by the likes of Seyyid Hossein Nasr and, even more scandalously because of all her talk about “freedom of thought” and "freedom of speech" and "freedom of religion" having their origins in Islam, an Orwellianism that beggars belief—one Azizah al-Hibri, a fulltime defender of Islam who cloaks her apologetics in an ostentatious pretense of somehow “fighting for women's rights” within an Islamic context (she needs to be raked over the rhetorical coals by some real "fighter? such as Azam Kamguian).

Perhaps a Kamguian-Al-Hibri debate can be arranged at the next meeting of the American Association of Law Schools, which is where, in the firt place, some years ago, someone on the Hiring Committee of the T. D. Williams School of Law must have urged her hiring, in the mistaken belief that the best person to teach students about Islamic law, of course, would be a plausible Muslim (it is more akin to hiring a KGB agent to give a course on the Soviet Union, given the impossibility for Muslims to let Infidels know the full truth about Muslim tenets or Muslim history: the Faith must be defended at all costs (taqiyya, kitman are the doctrines that religiously-sanction dissimulation "lying" to protect that faith).

And when Azizah al-Hibri maintained at the U.N.'s "Islamophobia Day" that Islam was always "peaceful? and "unaggressive," aside from the fact of conquest explaining the entire history of the spread of Islam "with the single exception of the East Indies, where Dawa seems to have done the main work" there is, in the sanitized version of Al-Hibri's history, the great omission before the resumption of aggression in modern times, especially whenever the wherewithal was available, as it is now.

And that great omission consists in passing over in silence the black African slave trade by Arab Muslim slavers, supplying all the slave markets of the Muslim world, especially with young boys, usually between 4 and 14, gelded for their Muslim masters. And she forgets the hundreds of years, in which Arabs raided up and down the coasts of Europe, as far even as Ireland and in one recorded case, Iceland, looting, raiding villages, and taking back as slaves nearly one million white Europeans, of whom Thomas Pellow was one.

The scholarly work of Hogedorn deals soberly with the atrocity of "the hideous trade" in eunuchs, while J. Willis relates the African slave trade to the Islamic doctrines concerning Jihad fa sibil Allah (Jihad in the way of Allah) and the rightness of enslaving the kaffir, whose enslavement is the correct way for kaffirs, Infidels, to atone for their being Infidels in the first place.

Ihe more you learn about Islam, the more detail you acquire, the less confused you become about the spectacle you see all about you, and instead of confusion, the mind comes to rest, as the Infidel Samuel Johnson once said, on the stability of truth. And the next time the assorted and fungible Al-Hibris and Nasrs of this world tell you that it was "the Crusades? or, in al-Hibri's case, "colonialism? which caused the Muslim world to become more aggressive out of its need to defend itself, raise the little matter of the trade in eunuchs, and how many blacks have been sent, over how many centuries, to stock the slave trade of the Muslim world.

And then mention Thomas Pellow, and the million Europeans kidnapped (and how many others were murdered in Muslim raids up and down the coasts of the Mediterranean, all the way to the North Sea), and their villages raided " hundreds of years before colonialism " which, except for Algeria, touched the Arab Muslim world only glancingly, and for a very short period.

The more you learn about Islam, the more detailed knowledge you acquire, the less confused you become about the spectacle you see all about you, here and there throughout the world. That confusion, which some in Washington and certainly many in the chanceries of Europe, still feel because they do not pay attention to history, and fail to recognize the immutable nature of Islam, which makes that 1400 years of history completely relevant today. Eventually, as that famous Infidel Samuel Johnson (who would not have lasted a minute under Islam) once said, the mind can only repose on the stability of truth.

That stability of truth is attained when we heed the evidence presented not only by our senses (what the news offers by way of Muslim attacks world-wide on non-Muslims, or the content of khutbas, or textbooks, or the rhetoric of the terrorist groups, or the taqiyya/kitman offered by the assorted Tariq Ramadans/Azizah al Hibris and their non-Muslim fellow apologists (Esposito, Sells, more than half the membership, and all of the officers, of Mesa Nostra), but by the articulate analyses from "defectors? or ex-Muslims" Ibn Warraq and Ali Sina come to mind.

And then there are the scholars who, because they were independent of universities, carried on their work unafraid, such as that pioneering historian of dhimmitude, Bat Ye’or. Those who continue, despite the mounting evidence, and despite the kind of scholarship that, for example, is used in this brief note (J. Hogedorn, J. Willis, Giles Milton) which can no longer be hidden from view, and will, in larger and larger amounts, be made available to the world of real scholarship and to the general public (neither of which seems too impressed, anymore, or too likely, any more, to be taken in by the Esposito-Sells-Ernst view of Islam, now seen as the offerings of carney barkers down on their luck).

Those who have been creating, and flogging, sanitized Qur’ans, those who have been playing the stuck record of Saidian thuggery and invective and the clichés about "colonialism” and, bien entendu, "post-colonial discourse,” are seeing their audience get up, virtually en masse, and leave the room.

Those who have tried to play various rhetorical cards such as the "creation of the Other by the West" (of course, Islam itself rests entirely on the need for "the Other" since it divides the world uncompromisingly between Believer and Infidel, dar al-Islam and dar al-harb) or the latest bait and switch called "islamophobia,” which is an attempt to create a name for a non-existent condition that is, baseless prejudice against Islam—using it to prevent intelligent critical scrutiny of the tenets of Islam, and of the history of Muslim treatment of non-Muslims wherever they have been subjugated, are losing ground and they know it.

Each day in the Sudan, or in Pakistan, or in Iraq, or in Egypt, brings fresh news of attacks on non-Muslims. Each day brings fresh news of attempts by Muslims in the West to make demands on the Infidels among whom they live, and whose societies they are intent on bending to their will, and their desires. Each day brings news of fresh attempts at intimidation, ranging from "religious hate laws” that are transparent attempts to keep non-Muslims from saying anything critical about Islam, to lawsuits to silence critics (as in Australia), to murder (as with Pim Fortuyn and Theo van Gogh). Each day's news makes it that much harder for the Espositos and the Al-Hibris and the Tariq Ramadans to continue their work of apologetics and, where they are Muslim, taqiyya and kitman.

And each day brings closer the unearthing and the publication of more and more scholarship. Whether it is about the historic treatment of Zoroastrians (Mary Boyce), or about the Arab Muslim slave trade (Hogedorn, Willis, Giles Milton, and hundreds of others), whether it is the scholarship that has recently been reprinted for wide audiences (Schacht, Margoliouth, Sir William Muir), or new work on dhimmitude (the four volumes of Bat Ye’or, including the latest, "Eurabia” or Vahakh Dadrian on the Armenian genocide), or the forgotten articles of great Islamists found, assembled, and readied for publication (from Arthur Jeffery and Charles-Emmanuel Dufourcq, to Armand Abel, Georges Vajda, Bousquet,), or the growing body of scholarship by Indian historians on the fate of Hindus and Hindu civilization under Muslim rule (scholarship which must include not only K. S Lal and Sita Ram Goel, and Koenraad Elst, but also the work of V. S. Naipaul as a student of the "wounded civilization?), and there is much more.

It must be difficult to be an apologist for Islam, and wake up each morning, wondering what the news will bring, and how you will manage to explain it away this time. And it must be frightening to consult the catalogues of books that are about to be published, to see what is about to come out on Islam. Gone are the days of "Constructing Palestinian Identity” or other books focussing on the Arab jihad against Israel. Indeed, ten years ago, you could get away without using the word "jihad” and five years ago, you could still get away without doing much more than dismissing it with some reference to the "Greater Jihad” of mastering your own self. Two years ago, you could get away with not mentioning the condition of the dhimmi, or if you had to, mentioning laconically that Christians and Jews were offered favored treatment as "Protected Peoples” et cetera, and leave it at that.

Why, even a half-year ago, the worst you could expect would be whatever Bernard Lewis was offering, and he was, a year ago, the nemesis of Esposito. But too many people have seen what is wrong with Bernard Lewis as well " not least because his failure to see the full horror of Islam, even as he warns (more privately than publicly) about the threat of Europe's islamization, a reflection not of stupidity but, very likely, of the desire to maintain his position with fan clubs in Amman and Istanbul, and his own forays into policy, with his support for the Oslo Accords, and his seeming belief that Iraq was a suitable place to enter into the folly and misallocation of resources that this "Light Unto the Muslim Nations” project has become, draining men, material, money, morale, and attention from the much larger problem, the world-wide and endless problem of Islam and the Jihad.

And the scholarship produced, or unearthed, and the day's daily Jihad-and-Dhimmitude news, makes it harder and harder for the apologists to continue. They may save their livelihoods (though Georgetown really, for its own sake, and own reputation, ought to sever the connection with Esposito)—That's what tenure will do—but Mesa Nostra is unlikely to have the power, or command the respect, or above all be able to attract the government money, that it once did, and still hopes it can manage to inveigle from an increasingly skeptical, not to say hostile, public and government.

But, to go back to Muslim Slavery, Black and White—think of those young black eunuchs, for every thousand gelded, only one hundred survived the long march to the Muslim slave markets. And think of Thomas Pellow, and the million other Christian Europeans kidnapped (and how many others killed during Muslim raids) over more than 500 years of aggression, by sea, of Muslims against Western Christendom and against the Kaffir, who as a Kaffir, merited enslavement.

And the same texts remain, and are received in the same way, by the vast majority of Muslims. And there seems to be no way to change them, no one and no group, with the authority to do so, or the ability to get Muslims to accept those changes, whether in details of the sira, or in the assignment of different hadith to the categories of “strong” and "weak” hadith, or to the most difficult text to touch—the Quran itself.

And that is the problem. And there is no solution.

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