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Published on Apr 15, 2016

SLAVERY: The only narrative we have heard in our schools concerns the 'Atlantic Slave trade', reminding us of the millions who were taken by force, over a period of 400 years, from Western Africa to the Americas (North and South America), to work against their will, and whose progeny number in the millions today.

The narrative we haven't heard was that there was an even larger slave trade taking place simultaneously, yet spanning a much longer period (over 1400 years), on the Eastern and northern coasts of Africa, made up of even more millions, all of whom were taken northward, to the Muslim Middle East.

Curiously, little is written up about this Islamic slave trade, nor can we find their progeny (who should be numbering in the millions today), nor has there ever been an Abolition movement against slavery in any Muslim lands.

It is this question that Jay Smith and Sarah Foster (using her research) decided to introduce at Speaker's Corner on Sunday, the 10th of April, 2016.

They wanted to not only look at the figures, but at the history and motivation behind the little known, but much larger, East African Coast Islamic slavery.

And they didn't have to look far.

Starting with the Qur'an (see Surahs 3:106 and 39:60) where both references can imply that black faced people will go to hell, while white faced people will go to paradise (though another interpretation is that blackness is nothing more than disappointment), they then moved on to quotations from some of the most famous Muslim scholars, including such house-hold names as: Ibn Qutaybah, Ibn Sina, Al-Muqaddasi, Ibn Khaldun, Al-Tabari, Al Tirmidhi, and Ibn Taymiyyah, all of whom uniformly referred to the black African race using horrendous racist terminology which is demeaning and disturbing.

Watch the video and notice that while quoting from their Qur'an and their Muslim scholars the Muslim crowd at the corner tried desperately to shout them down, or change the subject, calling out the 'Shahada' in unison, and even at one point suggesting that Sarah was Jay's slave, with one Muslim claiming he would buy her for a £ 1,000,000.

Not letting themselves get distracted, Jay and Sarah then moved on to the Bible, to show that since the time of Jesus Christ, slavery has been frowned upon in Christianity, due to verses such as Galatians 3:28, and Philemon 16, which not only state that both those who are slaves and those who are free are equal in Jesus Christ, but that Master's who have slaves, are to consider each other as 'Brothers in Christ'.

And it was those verses which motivated the strongest abolitionists against slavery, the most noted of whom were all Christians, including: Richard Baxter, Alice Curwen, Benjamin Lay, Anthony Benezet, Toussaint L'Ouverture, John Newton, Granville Sharp, Thomas Clarkson, William Cowper, Olaudah Equiano, Elizabeth Heyrick, Thomas Pringle, Mary Prince, and of course the well-known, William Wilberforce, all of whom were the driving force behind the eventual abolishment of slavery in the early 1800s.

The lie that slavery is only a Western, or European, or even a Christian problem, and has nothing to do with Islam, needs to be confronted, as Jay and Sarah have done here.

It is about time that Muslims take a hard look at their own history, and at their own scriptures, and finally admit that they do have a problem with slavery, one which they have never dealt with; unlike the Christian church, which has admitted its past mistakes, and has since been at the forefront of righting a wrong, so that now, outside of a few Muslim areas, slavery no longer exists.

Note: We have just been informed that some scholars suggest that the two verses (Suras 3:106 and 39:60), referring to the faces being blackened, can also be seen in the context of disappointment, especially when compared to the context of what we read in Sura 16:58 (that the face is darkened when giving birth to a girl), and are thus an idiom of Man's disappointment for these two as well.©

© Pfander Centre for Apologetics, 2016


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