Look closer. Think harder. Choose the sound argument over the clever one.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Islamic Slave Trade

It's rare that a Today Show piece catches my eye. This one did: Alek Wek, a British super-model, is from southern Sudan.

She talks about the Muslim slave trade--a topic that hasn't gotten nearly the attention it deserves.

In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, slave traders came through this territory, capturing Dinkas and others and taking them north to be sold in the Arab countries. It is said that even in the twenty-first century, children from the south have been enslaved and sold.

The Muslim slave trade redefined brutality. Captured slaves were marched across the desert. Most died in transit. According to African Echo:

While the mortality rate for slaves being transported across the Atlantic was as high as 10%, the percentage of slaves dying in transit in the Transsahara and East African slave trade was between 80 and 90%! ...

While most slaves who went to the Americas could marry and have families, most of the male slaves destined for the Middle East were castrated, and most of the children born to the women were killed at birth. ...

While Christian Reformers spearheaded the antislavery abolitionist movements in Europe and North America, and Great Britain mobilized her Navy, throughout most of the 19th Century, to intercept slave ships and set the captives free, there was no comparable opposition to slavery within the Muslim world.

Alek Wek's story brings to light a point I didn't know: the north and south parts of Sudan were united due to pressure from the Islamic north. It was their plan to brutalize south Sudan right from the beginning. Emphasis mine:

The main thing to understand about my country is that it has always been split between the Islamic Arab north and the animist and Christian south. They don't ever seem to mix that well and the north has always tried to dominate the south. The British, who ruled Sudan from the late nineteenth century until the 1950s, governed the north and south separately, but in the 1940s, just before independence, the British gave in to pressure from the Islamic leaders in the north to unite the country. The northern government then proceeded to impose Islamic culture on the southern people, most of whom weren't Muslim or Arab.

Those who portray this as a consequence of British imperialism are just wrong. Truth is, British colonialism/imperialism helped southern Sudan as long as it lasted.


Comments:

(Please keep in mind that each commenter's opinions are only his/her own.)



If you read Islam's Black Slaves its a much fuller story. I haven't read everything the person you have quoted has writen but it seems they have mysteriously synthesised the book to make it say the opposite of what it actually does say. Its a good book.
 

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