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Slavery in the Arab World Paperback – April 21, 1998
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Text: English, French (translation) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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This book gives insight into how the Arabs were inspired by their Quran to wage war (jihad) against the infidels (non-believers) to loot their land and ultimately enslave them. Under the Islamic religion Muslims are forbidden to enslave other Muslims, but due to a shortage of potential slaves, in the early days of the trade, Muslims would ignore the claims of unfamiliar Muslims that followed the teachings of Muhammed, and would enslave them for one of several different reasons. Where the trans-Atlantic trade was focused more on agricultural labor, the Arab trade was based sex slaves (harems). Other reasons for capturing slaves was for agricultural purposes (participation in the cotton trade in Zanzibar), expand their armies, or for house servants.
Furthermore, the book goes into detail about the inherent racist views of the Arabs pertaining to whites and blacks. Even though the Arabs had lowly opinions of both races of people, they seem to have had more disdain for the sub-Saharan Africans; from their phenotypes, all the way to their personality traits. The auther tries to make a case that the Arab trade was a lot less brutal than the trans-Atlantic trade, but I hardly see the unsanitary castration of eunuchs, followed up by being dragged across the sub-Saharan desert (with a low chance of survival to making it across for increased profits) any better of a condition. Also, readers should keep in mind that all races of people were enslaved by Arabs, not just blacks, but whites as well. The potential white sex slave had a higher value attached to her on the market, and was very coveted by potential buyers. Whites and blacks also self segregated in the armies the Arabs created, and would end up fighting against one another due to inequities of one group over the other.
A couple other facts the author elaborates on is the routes Arab ships would take to get slaves to different markets. The two I remember off the top of my head are the route across the Indian Ocean, and another route that was taken up and down the Nile River. The second is the strategies Arabs would take to ensure they got the best out of their slaves. The one that stood out to me the most is that they would take a group of African slaves, and isolate them. When they bred, the future generations would be working of a blank slate, meaning they would end up forgetting their culture and ethnicity, giving them the impression that their slave status was always their natural position in existence with little likelihood of insurrection.
All in all this is a very interesting read that I would recommend to anyone who has an interest on the subject. After reading this I often asked myself why Islam is so heavily protected from criticism for this type of history, but Europeans are demonized as the worst thing the earth has had to endure? It just goes to show you the hypocritical, irrational train of thought we are immersed in in today's PC culture.