David Meir

The silence about black slavery in the Arab world

In recent years, there has been a surge of interest in the US about a demand by certain black organizations (like Black Lives Matter) for a financial compensation by the “white” people for slavery.

This demand raises many legitimate questions.

What if someone came to the US two or three generations ago and his ancestors did not own slaves?

What if the ancestor of a black man was a freeman who himself owned slaves (as we know that certain blacks did)?

In this case, does he has to pay reparations to himself?

Is holding accountable the descendants 150 years later the best way to go on?

I’m not saying to forget things like slavery, the lynch mobs and the Jim Crow laws (passed by Democrats) ever happened, I’m just asking do the American white people need to be punished for slavery Ad Infinitum?

If they had never acknowledged it that would be one thing, but they did a civil war that killed half a million people over it.

So yeah, they accepted the responsibility for what can justly be called a horrible crime.

What I find the most troubling in the current climate, is the definition of white.

Aren’t Latinos “white”?

What about all the black slaves brought in South America and the Caribbean by the Spaniards and Portuguese?

How come no one dares talk about “Latino” guilt and reparations?

My opinion on the why of it is: there is a deliberate targeting of white, Christian, western European people as the “white devil” while other sorts of Caucasians (like romans or semites) are dubbed “brown” (not a race) and the reason for it is to make easier what we call “identity politics” and have the “brown people” clearly marked as helpless victims of the evil white imperialism so the same brown people would vote for their defenders, aka the left.

In the ever-expanding list of oppressed people, there is a group that is anything but, the Muslims. And oh boy did they ever do a long list of things that everyone blames only the “whites” for: Invading other countries, cultural appropriation, genocides and of course, slavery.

I became interested on the subject while watching Tidiane N’Diaye, a French-Senegalese Anthropologist, talk on French TV about his latest book titled: The veiled genocide (French: Le génocide voilé, 2008).

Until then I had no idea that systematic black slavery in the Arab world ever existed, let alone lasted for more than 1400 years and did millions of dead.

How is it possible that such a monstrous event happened (and still happens in some parts of Africa) and yet unlike the trans-Atlantic slave trade which has been dissected under every angle possible, it was and largely still is, unknown by the public?

Two main routes were used for the Arab slave trade.

The first one was the Trans-Sahara route where sub-Saharan blacks where rounded up in razzias, a word that comes from an Algerian Arabic pronunciation of the classical Arabic word ghawz meaning a military expedition or a raid.

These razzias would capture able bodied young men who were to traverse the Sahara on foot (in harsh conditions) and once in North Africa they would be used as servants or warriors of various caliphs in a number of sultanates, mainly in Egypt and later on when the Ottoman Empire came into being, in Turkey.

Women were also captured to serve as sex slaves.

The second one was from the port on the island of Zanzibar just off the coast of what is today Tanzania.

The razzias in East Africa would center around the Blue Nile region (Sudan and Ethiopia), the Great Lakes (Mozambique, Kenya, Tanzania) and the Horn of Africa (Somalia, Eritrea, Djibouti).

From the port of Zanzibar the black slaves would be shipped to the Arabic peninsula or to the Persian Gulf to serve as slaves or soldiers in Saudi Arabia, Oman, Iran or Iraq.

These ships would go as far as India to bring black slaves to the Muslim rulers in what is today the Punjab region of India and Pakistan.

Women were also captured to serve as sex slaves.

From 869 to 883 in the area of the city of Basra in the south of what is today modern Iraq, there was a Bantu-speaking black slave rebellion against their Arab slave masters led by Ali ibn Muhammad, himself a slave who had been kidnapped from his hometown in East Africa.
The event is known as the Zanj Rebellion and the slaves succeeded in killing tens of thousands of Arab Muslim oppressors before the rebellion was finally put down.

In most Muslim countries where there was a high number of black slaves (like Egypt, Turkey, Iran, India), there are virtually no significant black minorities today.

They make in no way even close to 10 or 15 percent of the population like they do in the US or Brazil. Where have they all gone?

There are many reasons for this lack of descendants and organized black communities in the Arab world.

The terrible conditions of travel, both by the Sahara route and the Indian Ocean one.

It is estimated that at least 50%, if not more, of the captured slaves died during travel.

Many others died in work and due to mistreatment.

Most of the male slaves were castrated (and died of the result of this barbaric operation) due to the fear that they would impregnate Muslim women.

Black women captured were used as sex slaves and their offspring form today the Arabized black elite ruling in Sudan, Mauritania and Somalia.

It is estimated by serious studies that close to 15 million blacks were taken as slaves in the Arabo-Muslim slave trade when as many as two thirds died or during travel or not long after arrival.

Most of the black Muslims today reside in Africa where they are either slaves who earned their freedom (especially those who were soldiers) blacks who were promised to be freed if they accepted Islam, or descendants of the mix between Arab masters and black sex slave females.

Black communities in Arab speaking countries outside of Africa are virtually inexistent due to the fact that most died in barbaric conditions.

When the white European started the slave trade from Africa in the early 16th century after the discovery of the American continent, they had slave routes already existing, thanks to the hundreds of years of black slave experience of the Arab traders who started the enslavement of Africa as early as the 8th century.

Slavery was abolished in Europe several hundred years ago and was officially abolished in the US in 1865.

Very few countries in the Muslim world have officially abolished slavery and those who did, did it in the late 20th century.

In Mauritania, slavery was officially criminalized as late as 2007.

I am in no way trying to undermine the horrible crime that was the Trans-Atlantic black slave trade.

All I am trying to understand, is why the Arabo-Muslim black slave trade, which lasted much longer, had a much wider scope and killed millions of blacks more than its American counterpart is a taboo and is not taught in the West, be it in America or Europe.

The silence on this horrific historical event is downright criminal.

I well understand that there is the fear of confronting the Muslim world, knowing that the “religion of peace” is usually very violent in its responses, but I do believe that the victims and their descendants need some closure.

Like in the case for America I do not believe at this point, financial reparations are the way to go but at the very least the Muslim world should accept its responsibility in this horrific black genocide.

As for Black Lives Matter and those supporting their demands, when will come the time you start addressing the “Muslim guilt”?

About the Author
I was born in France and grew up in Montreal, Canada. I made Aliyah at age 21, out of Zionism and the deep religious feeling that my place is here, in Eretz Yisrael.
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