American Renaissance


Contemporary manifestations of Islamic slavery—certainly the razzias (raids) waged by Arab Muslim militias against their black Christian, animist, and animist-Muslim prey in both the southern Sudan and Darfur—and even in its own context, the persistence of slavery in Mauritania (again, black slaves, Arab masters)—reflect the pernicious impact of jihad slavery as an enduring Muslim institution. Even Ottoman society, arguably the most progressive in Muslim history, and upheld just recently at a United Nations conference as a paragon of Islamic ecumenism, never produced a William Wilberforce, much less a broad, religiously-based slavery abolition movement spearheaded by committed Muslim ulema. Indeed, it is only modern Muslim freethinkers, anachronistically referred to as “apostates”, who have had the courage and intellectual integrity to renounce the jihad, including jihad slavery, unequivocally, and based upon an honest acknowledgement of its devastating military and social history. When the voices of these Muslim freethinkers are silenced in the Islamic world—by imprisonment and torture, or execution—the outcome is tragic, but hardly unexpected. That such insightful and courageous voices have been marginalized or ignored altogether in the West is equally tragic and reflects the distressing ignorance of Western policymaking elites.


1. Patricia Crone. God’s Rule. Government and Islam. New York: Columbia University Press, 2004, pp. 371-72

2. K.S. Lal, Muslim Slave System India, New Delhi, Aditya Prakashan, 1994, pp. 46, 69.

3. Speros Vryonis, Jr. The Decline of Medieval Hellenism and the Islamization of Asia Minor, 11th Through 15th Century, 1971, Berkeley: University of California Press, pp. 174-175.

4. Vasiliki Papoulia. “The impact of devshirme on Greek society” in East Central European society and war in the prerevolutionary eighteenth century. Gunther E. Rothenberg, Béla K. Király and Peter F. Sugar, editors. Boulder : Social Science Monographs ; New York : Distributed by Columbia University Press, 1982, pp. 555-556.

5. Thomas Ricks. “Slaves and Slave Trading in Shi’i Iran, AD 1500-1900”, Journal of Asian and African Studies, 2001, Vol. 36, pp. 407-418.

6. Ricks, “Slaves and Slave Trading in Shi’i Iran”, pp. 411-412.

7. Clement Huart. “Le droit de la guerre” Revue du monde musulman, 1907, p. 337. English translation by Michael J. Miller.

8. John Ralph Willis. “Jihad and the ideology of enslavement”, in Slaves and slavery in Muslim Africa- vol. 1. Islam and the ideology of enslavement, London, England; Totowa, N.J.: Frank Cass, 1985, pp. 17-18; 4.

9. Winston Churchill. The River War, Vol. II, London: Longmans, Green & Co., 1899, pp. 248-50.

10. John Eibner. “My career redeeming slaves”, Middle East Quarterly, December, 1999, Vol. 4, Number 4, . Eibner notes:

…based on the pattern of slave raiding over the past fifteen years and the observations of Western and Arab travelers in southern Darfur and Kordofan, conservatively puts the number of chattel slaves close to or over 100,000. There are many more in state-owned concentration camps, euphemistically called “peace camps” by the government of Sudan, and in militant Qur’anic schools, where boys train to become mujahidun (warriors of jihad).

11. John Ralph Willis. Slaves and slavery in Muslim Africa, Preface, p. vii.

12. This controversial topic is discussed here: Philip D. Curtin, Roger Antsey, J.E. Inikori. The Journal of African History, 1976, Vol. 17, pp. 595-627.

13. John Ralph Willis. Slaves and slavery in Muslim Africa, Preface, p. x.

14. John Wright. “The Mediterranean Middle Passage: The Nineteenth Century Slave Trade Between Triploi and the Levant”, The Journal of North African Studies, 1996, Vol. 1, p. 44.

15. Vryonis, The Decline of Medieval Hellenism, p.175, note 245.

16. Bar Hebraeus. The chronography of Gregory Abû’l Faraj, the son of Aaron, the Hebrew physician, commonly known as Bar Hebraeus; being the first part of his political history of the world, translated from the Syriac by Ernest A. Wallis Budge, Oxford University Press, 1932, Vol. 1, pp. 268-273; Michael the Syrian, Chronique de Michel le Syrien, Patriarche Jacobite d’Antioche (1166-1199), translated by J-B Chabot, 1895, Vol. 3, p. 331.

17. Michael the Syrian, Chronique, Vol. 3, p. 331.

18. Vryonis, The Decline of Medieval Hellenism, p.175, note 245.

19. Michael the Syrian, Chronique, Vol. 3, p. 369.

20. Michael the Syrian, Chronique, Vol. 3, pp. 401-402; Bar Hebraeus, The Chronography, Vol. 1, p. 321.

21. Vryonis, The Decline of Medieval Hellenism, p.175, note 245.

22. M-M Alexandrescu-Dersca Bulgaru. “Le role des escalves en Romanie turque au XVe siecle” Byzantinische Forschungen, vol. 11, 1987, p. 15.

23. Alexandrescu-Dersca Bulgaru, “Le role des escalves en Romanie turque au XVe siecle”, pp. 16-17.

24. Alan Fisher “Muscovy and the Black Sea Slave Trade”, Canadian American Slavic Studies, 1972, Vol. 6, pp. 575-594.

25. Fisher “Muscovy and the Black Sea Slave Trade”, p. 579, note 17.

26. Fisher “Muscovy and the Black Sea Slave Trade”, pp. 580-582.

27. Fisher “Muscovy and the Black Sea Slave Trade”, pp. 582-583.

28. Reuben Levy, The Social Structure of Islam, Cambridge University Press, 1957, p. 88.

29. Ricks, “Slaves and Slave Trading in Shi’i Iran”, p. 408.

30. Ehud Toledano. Slavery and Abolition in the Ottoman Middle East, Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1998, p. 53.

31. Ricks, “Slaves and Slave Trading in Shi’i Iran”, p. 415.

32. Murray Gordon. Slavery in the Arab World, New York: New Amsterdam, 1989, p. 232.

33. Gordon. Slavery in the Arab World, p. 234.

34. Gordon. Slavery in the Arab World, Preface, second page (pages not numbered).

35. Eibner, “My career redeeming slaves”.

36. Jan Hogendorn. “The Hideous Trade. Economic Aspects of the ‘Manufacture’ and Sale of Eunuchs”, Paideuma, 1999, Vol. 45, p. 143, especially, note 25.

37. Hogendorn. “The Hideous Trade”, p. 137.

38. Ehud Toledano. “The Imperial Eunuchs of Istanbul: From Africa to the Heart of Islam”, Middle Eastern Studies, 1984, Vol. 20, pp. 379-390.

39. Toledano. “The Imperial Eunuchs of Istanbul”, pp. 380-381.

40. Hogendorn. “The Hideous Trade”, p. 138.

41. David Ayalon. “On the Eunuchs in Islam”, Jerusalem Studies in Arabic and Islam, 1979, Vol. 1, pp. 69-70.

42. Hogendorn. “The Hideous Trade”, p. 139, note 5.

43. Hogendorn. “The Hideous Trade”, p. 139.

44. Hogendorn. “The Hideous Trade”, pp. 143, 145-146.

Original article

(Posted on April 18, 2005)

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