Islam's White Slavery

Islam’s European slave trade by Muslim Turks (eg Ottoman) and Tartars: Part G in Islam’s genocidal slavery. (Islamist Monitor)  Excellent research, great site!

Islam’s European slave trade by Muslim Turks (eg Ottoman) and Tartars: Part G in Islam’s genocidal slavery.

Islamist Monitor      Absolute Must Read!

How Islam breathed new life into slavery and the slave trade in Europe

by John J. O’Neill/ Jihad Watch

In my newly-published book, Holy Warriors: Islam and the Demise of Classical Civilization, I argue at length that a great majority of the things commonly regarded as “Medieval” were in fact introduced to Europe from Islam, and that it was Islam, and not the Huns, Vandals and Goths, which terminated Classical Civilization, the rational and humane civilization of Greece and Rome. This civilization survived in Europe and in North Africa and the Near East until the seventh century, at which point it was terminated by the Muslim conquests.

In point of fact, Islam’s influence upon Europe was much greater than is commonly imagined, but that influence was entirely negative. Not only did the Muslims terminate Classical Civilization, but they dragged Europe, on many levels, down to a more barbarous level of culture. It was from the Muslims, for example, that Christian Europeans got the idea of “Holy War,” a concept that would have been unthinkable in earlier centuries. And from Islam too, the institution of slavery, as well as the slave trade, received a new and powerful impetus.

Contrary to the beliefs of some modern anti-Christian writers, Christianity brought an immediate and dramatic improvement in the living conditions of slaves in the Roman Empire. It was also, eventually, instrumental in the abolition of the entire institution. The improvement was an inevitable consequence of the Christian notion that the mistreatment of any human being, whether slave or free, was gravely sinful. In the words of one writer, “The effect of the Church upon the Empire may be summed up in the word ‘freedom’.” (H. F. Stewart, “Thoughts and Ideas of the Period,” in The Cambridge Medieval History: The Christian Empire, Vol. 1 (2nd ed. 1936), p. 592) And, “Close upon the Church’s victory follows legislation more favorable to the slave than any that had gone before.”(Ibid.) Whilst it is true that “Constantine did not attempt sudden or wholesale emancipation, which would have been unwise and impossible,” he nevertheless immediately “sought to lessen his [the slave’s] hardships by measures which with all their inequalities are unique in the statute-book of Rome. … he forbade cruelty towards slaves in terms which are themselves an indictment of existing practice.”(Ibid., p. 593) The Gospel passages of relevance here are too numerous to mention, but we should note in particular the story of the Final Judgment as told in Mark 25: 31-46, where the King (God) tells His servants: “So long as you did it to these, the least of my brethren, you did it to me.” It should be remarked also, at this point, that the whole concept of human rights, attributed by many contemporary westerners to the thinkers of the Enlightenment, is rooted in this Gospel concept – a fact admitted by the Enlightenment philosophers themselves. Human rights are a moral as well as a judicial concept. If God will hold each of us accountable for our behavior towards the lowliest members of society, this places the latter on a par, in moral terms, with the highest members of society.

Thus from the start, the lives of slaves improved. This was especially the case with female and younger male slaves, whose function, in the past, was very often to provide sexual pleasure for their owners. This type of transgression was especially frowned upon by Christians. And so, whilst the owning of slaves was not, to begin with, illegal, mistreatment – from the very start – was. This view led, inexorably, to the abandonment and abolition of the entire slave system. We find therefore, from the earliest times, many Christian leaders, such as Gregory of Nyssa and John Chrysostom, condemning slavery itself and calling for better treatment for slaves. In fact, tradition describes Pope Clement I (92 – 99), Pope Pius I (roughly 158 – 167) and Pope Callixtus I (217 – 222) as former slaves.

After Christianity became the official religion of the Empire the more noxious manifestations of slavery, such as gladiatorial contests, were one by one abolished; and finally, with the Corpus of laws promulgated by Justinian, in the sixth century, we find a formal condemnation of the institution. The rationale was explained in theInstitutiones, (Title III, Book 1, paragraph 2) where we read the following: “Slavery is an institution of the law of nations, against nature, subjecting one man to the dominion of another.” Again, in Title II, Book 1, paragraph 2, it states “… the law of nations is common to the whole human race; for nations have settled certain things for themselves as occasion and the necessities of human life required. For instance, wars arose and then followed captivity and slavery, which are contrary to the law of nature; for by the law of nature all men from the beginning were born free.”

The Justinianic code was introduced into Italy (in 554), from where it was to pass to Western Europe in the twelfth century and become the basis of much European law. It passed also to Eastern Europe where it appeared in Slavic editions, and became the cornerstone of Russian law.

The end result of all this was that by the tenth or even ninth century the Church had effectively ended slavery in Europe. And this is a fact well-known. In the words of Rodney Stark, “… slavery ended in medieval Europe only because the church extended its sacraments to all slaves and then managed to impose a ban on the enslavement of Christians (and Jews). Within the context of medieval Europe, that prohibition was effectively a rule of universal abolition.” (Rodney Stark, The Victory of Reason(Random House, New York, 2005) p. 28)

The above statement is conservative. In fact, by the seventh century slavery was well on the way to disappearing throughout Europe; but then, at that point, new life was breathed into it, and the slave-trade experienced a massive revival. The revival was a direct result of the arrival of Islam.

Islamic custom and practice with regard to slavery was always diametrically opposed to that of Christianity: For whereas Christianity acted to emphasize the equality of all before God and to alleviate the conditions of slaves, whose bodies were certainly not open to the sexual exploitation which was frequently the fate of the slave in classical antiquity, Islam had no problem whatsoever with slavery. Indeed, the taking of comely captives seems to have been seen, from the very beginning, as a legitimate bonus owed to the warriors fighting to spread the faith. Thus for example after the slaughter of the male members of the Jewish tribe of Banu Quraiza Muhammad took one of the most beautiful female captives as a concubine; whilst other successful military exploits of the Prophet invariably involved his procuring of slaves. And this behavior is fully sanctioned, for later generations, by the authority of the Koran. Thus, we read, in Sura 23: 5-6: “…abstain from sex, except with those joined to them in the marriage bond, or (the captives) whom their right hands possess – for (in their case) they are free from blame.” See also Sura 4:24.
In the words of Robert Spencer, “The Qur’an says that the followers of Muhammad are ‘ruthless to the unbelievers but merciful to one another’ (48:29), and that the unbelievers are the ‘worst of created beings’ (98:6). One may exercise the Golden Rule [do unto others as you would have them do unto you] in relation to a fellow Muslim, but according to the laws of Islam, the same courtesy is not to be extended to unbelievers. That is one principal reason why the primary source of slaves in the Islamic world has been non-Muslims, whether Jews, Christians, Hindus, or pagans. Most slaves were non-Muslims who had been captured during jihad warfare.” (Robert Spencer, Religion of Peace: Why Christianity is and Islam isn’t (Regnery, 2008) p. 95).

The Muslim advance through the Middle East and North Africa meant the re-establishment, on a massive scale, of the slave trade, a trade which the Christian rulers of the late Roman Empire, particularly Justinian, had almost brought to an end. Historian Bat Ye’or says: “When Amr conquered Tripoli (Libya) in 643, he forced the Jewish and Christian Berbers to give their wives and children as slaves to the Arab army as part of their jizya. From 652 until its conquest in 1276, Nubia was forced to send an annual contingent of slaves to Cairo. Treaties concluded with the towns of Transoxiana [Iranian central Asia], Sijistan [eastern Iran], Armenia, and Fezzan (Maghreb) under the Umayyads and Abbasids stipulated an annual dispatch of slaves from both sexes. However, the main sources for the supply of slaves remained the regular raids on villages within the dar-al-harb [non-Islamic regions] and the military expeditions which swept more deeply into the infidel lands, emptying towns and provinces of their inhabitants.” (Bat Ye’or, The Decline of Eastern Christianity under Islam: From Jihad to Dhimmitude (New Jersey, 1996) p. 108).

In Holy Warriors I describe in detail the devastating effect of Muslim raids at this time across the Mediterranean world. The latter sea became a war-zone, and normal trade came to an end. One type of trade alone survived: the trade in human bodies. And the devastation was not confined to southern Europe. The north of the continent became quickly involved in the general ruin: For that strange phenomenon, the Viking expansion, was intimately and directly related to the arrival of Islam. Hugh Trevor-Roper puts it thus: “What were these Vikings doing? What sudden force drove these piratical Northmen to range over the seas and rivers of Europe, creating havoc? It used to be supposed that it was merely a sudden, unexplained growth of population in Scandinavia which lay behind this extraordinary outburst. No doubt this was true: so vast an expansion cannot have been sustained by a static population. But the scope and direction of the raids point also to other motives. There were opportunities abroad as well as pressures at home; and these opportunities link together the Viking raids and the Moslem conquests.” (Hugh Trevor-Roper, The Rise of Christian Europe (London, 1966) p. 90).

Trevor-Roper goes on to describe the vast wealth accumulated by the Muslim Caliphate in its expansion across Asia and Africa, and how, with this wealth, it could purchase what it wanted from Europe. What the Muslims wanted, above all, was “eunuchs and slaves.” He continues: “It was one of the functions of the Vikings to supply these goods. Half traders, half pirates, they ranged over all northern Europe, and in their ranging, or through the method of piracy, they collected furs and kidnapped human beings. For preference they dealt in heathen Slavs, since Christian States had less compunction in handling a slave-trade in heathen bodies – they could always quote that useful text, Leviticus xxv, 44. So the Vikings fed both Byzantium and the rich new civilization of Islam with the goods which they demanded and for which they could pay. In doing so they penetrated all the coasts and rivers of Europe.” (Ibid., pp. 90-1) In the above quotation Trevor-Roper repeats the erroneous notion, prevalent until the last decades of the twentieth century, that Byzantium somehow escaped the ravages of the Saracens and that in her territory there continued to flourish an intact and prosperous branch of ancient Rome. Constantinople, he imagines, like Damascus, was a wealthy recipient of Russian slaves. Yet by the end of the seventh century, as I show in great detail in Holy Warriors, the formerly great power of Eastern Rome was little more than an impoverished rump, cut off, just as surely as the West, from the wealth and learning of Asia. If there was a slave trade in Byzantium, it was only as a link in the chain that brought eunuchs and concubines from Russia to Damascus and Baghdad. What little gold Byzantium possessed in the tenth and eleventh centuries was from the taxes levied on Muslim merchants of human flesh, who frequented the Viking-supplied markets of the ancient capital. The gold derived from this infamous trade was known as aurum arabicum, Arab gold, or, as humane men preferred to call it, aurum infelix, unhappy gold. By the tenth century large quantities of this Arab gold and silver had found its way to Scandinavia. Viking longboats were apparently not infrequent visitors to Islamic ports in Iberia, and the occasional Arab traveler returned the compliment by visiting Scandinavia.

Whilst, as Trevor-Roper says, the majority of European slaves delivered to the Arabs were Slavs, not all of them were. Indeed, the Vikings plundered all of western Europe to supply the markets of the Caliphate. Dublin, for example, established by the Vikings in Ireland, was a major slave market, with most of the captives bought and sold coming from Ireland and Britain. Nonetheless, there is no doubt that the majority of slaves sold to the Muslims were heathen Slavs, and there is no doubt also that some of the Christian rulers of western Europe were complicit in the trade. Venice, for example, acted as a depot for the collection and sale of Slavic captives from Dalmatia. Marseilles too, it seems, also was active. In the words of Trevor-Roper: “For if the Vikings were the pioneers, the princes of Europe, or some of them, were the middlemen in the new slave-trade. They licensed it and they profited by it, though they left the direct traffic in it to the Jews, who could move most easily across the frontiers of the two societies. We have plenty of evidence of this trade and its routes … Liutprand of Cremona, the ambassador of the West who, in the tenth century, stood agog before the kaleidoscope pageantry of the Byzantine court, tells us that it was the merchants of Verdun who, for the immense profit of the trade, made boys into eunuchs and sold them through Moorish Spain to the rich Moslem world … The trade has left its mark in the languages of both Christendom and Islam. Sclavi, ‘Slavs’, has formed, in every European language, the word for slaves; and the same word, Sakaliba, has provided the Arabic word for eunuchs.” (Ibid., p. 92)

By the late tenth and eleventh centuries Scandinavia was converted to Christianity, and the slave trade came to an end in the north of Europe. In the south, however, it was a very different story. For centuries, in Spain, in Sicily, in Greece, and all along the Mediterranean coastlands, Muslim corsairs raided incessantly, capturing entire communities and selling them in the slave markets of Cairo, Damascus and Baghdad. Even worse, the Christian populations of southern Europe, especially of Spain and southern Italy, began to take on many of the habits and customs of their Islamic foes. These included the keeping and marketing of slaves. It is little surprise then, that the great revival of slave-trading, which marked the European colonization of the Americas, would be driven by freebooters from the Iberian Peninsula. And we should never forget that, to begin with, the Atlantic slave trade with the Americas was entirely a Spanish and Portuguese enterprise. The nations of northern Europe did not participate. Famously, Queen Elizabeth I of England initially refused to become involved, declaring the trade an outrage against God and humanity. Later however, probably corrupted by the example of the Spaniards and Portuguese, she changed tack and began Britain’s involvement in the noxious trade.

Louis Betrand is scathing of the influence exerted upon Christian Spain by Islam. “The worst characteristic which the Spaniards acquired was the parasitism of the Arabs and the nomad Africans: the custom of living off one’s neighbour’s territory, the raid raised to the level of an institution, marauding and brigandage recognized as the sole means of existence for the man-at-arms. In the same way they went to win their bread in Moorish territory, so the Spaniards later went to win gold and territory in Mexico and Peru.
“They were to introduce there, too, the barbarous, summary practices of the Arabs: putting everything to fire and sword, cutting down fruit-trees, razing crops, devastating whole districts to starve out the enemy and bring them to terms; making slaves everywhere, condemning the population of the conquered countries to forced labour. All these detestable ways the conquistadores learnt from the Arabs.

“For several centuries slavery maintained itself in Christian Spain, as in the Islamic lands. Very certainly, also, it was to the Arabs that the Spaniards owed the intransigence of their fanaticism, the pretension to be, if not the chosen of God, at least the most Catholic nation of Christendom. Philip II, like Abd er Rahman or El Mansour, was Defender of the Faith.

“Finally, it was not without contagion that the Spaniards lived for centuries in contact with a race of men who crucified their enemies and gloried in piling up thousands of severed heads by way of trophies. The cruelty of the Arabs and the Berbers also founded a school in the Peninsula. The ferocity of the emirs and the caliphs who killed their brothers or their sons with their own hands was to be handed on to Pedro the Cruel and Henry of Trastamare, those stranglers under canvas, no better than common assassins.” (Louis Betrand and Sir Charles Petrie, The History of Spain (2nd ed. London, 1945), p. 160).

Holy Warriors: Islam and the Demise of Classical Civilization is published by Felibri (August, 2009).

How Islam breathed new life into slavery and the slave trade in Europe

by John J. O’Neill

In my newly-published book, Holy Warriors: Islam and the Demise of Classical Civilization, I argue at length that a great majority of the things commonly regarded as “Medieval” were in fact introduced to Europe from Islam, and that it was Islam, and not the Huns, Vandals and Goths, which terminated Classical Civilization, the rational and humane civilization of Greece and Rome. This civilization survived in Europe and in North Africa and the Near East until the seventh century, at which point it was terminated by the Muslim conquests.

In point of fact, Islam’s influence upon Europe was much greater than is commonly imagined, but that influence was entirely negative. Not only did the Muslims terminate Classical Civilization, but they dragged Europe, on many levels, down to a more barbarous level of culture. It was from the Muslims, for example, that Christian Europeans got the idea of “Holy War,” a concept that would have been unthinkable in earlier centuries. And from Islam too, the institution of slavery, as well as the slave trade, received a new and powerful impetus.

. . . . continue reading .

America’s First War on Terror

Andrew G. Bostom

Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, then serving as American ambassadors to France and Britain, respectively, met in 1786 in London with the Tripolitan Ambassador to Britain, Sidi Haji Abdul Rahman Adja. These future American presidents were attempting to negotiate a peace treaty which would spare theUnited States the ravages of jihad piracy—murder, enslavement (with ransoming for redemption), and expropriation of valuable commercial assets—emanating from the Barbary states (modern Morocco,Algeria, Tunisia, and Libya, known collectively in Arabic as the Maghrib). During their discussions, they questioned Ambassador Adja as to the source of the unprovoked animus directed at the nascent United States republic. Jefferson and Adams, in their subsequent report to the Continental Congress, recorded the Tripolitan Ambassador’s justification:

… that it was founded on the Laws of their Prophet, that it was written in their Koran, that all nations who should not have acknowledged their authority were sinners, that it was their right and duty to make war upon them wherever they could be found, and to make slaves of all they could take as Prisoners, and that every Musselman who should be slain in Battle was sure to go to Paradise.

Thus as Joshua London’s Victory in Tripoli elaborates in lucid prose, an aggressive jihad was already being waged against the United States almost 200 years prior to America becoming a dominant international power in the Middle East. Moreover, these jihad depredations targeting America antedated the earliest vestiges of the Zionist movement by a century, and the formal creation of Israel by 162 years—exploding the ahistorical canard that American support for the modern Jewish state is a prerequisite for jihadist attacks on the United States.

Jihad at Sea—An Overview

Barbary jihad piracy was merely a 16th through 19th century manifestation of the naval razzias characteristic of Islamic imperialism since its emergence (pp.41-43) in the 7th and 8th centuries. For example, although the Abbasid state (750-1250) “orientalized” the Caliphate, and lacked naval power of any importance, in the west, Muslim forces (i.e., decentralized, “organic formations”), continued the Islamic expansion by maritime warfare. Throughout the 9th and 10th centuries, Berbers and Arabs fromSpain and North Africa launched raids along the coastal regions of France, Italy, Sicily, and in the Greek archipelago.

Francisco Gabrieli has described how these naval razzias were concordant with jihad, yet antithetical to the modern rule of law. He also emphasized their capacity for conquest, or, even when “disorganized”, triumphal rapine and destruction:

According to present-day concepts of international relations, such activities amounted to piracy, but they correspond perfectly to jihad, an Islamic religious duty. The conquest of Crete, in the east, and a good portion of the corsair warfare along the Provencal and Italian coasts, in the West, are among the most conspicuous instances of such “private initiative” which contributed to Arab domination in the Mediterranean.

…In the second half of the ninth century, a large number of Saracen (Muslim) raids occurred throughout Southern and Central Italy, but we do not get  the impression of their ever having been part of a plan or organized conquest, as Musa’s, Tariq’s, and Asad’s campaigns had been in Spain and Sicily. Their only object seems to have been destruction and looting which was also the object of the armed groups faced by Charles on the Balat ash-Shuhada near Poitiers.

…The no less classical themes of Arabic war poetry, the hamasah sanctified by jihad, ring out in the recollections and boasts of Ibn Hamdis, the Sicilian Abu Firas, who exalts the military successes of Islam on Calabrian soil, the landing of Muslim troops at Reggio and their exploits against the patricians whom they cut to pieces or put to flight.

A proto-typical Muslim naval razzia occurred in 846 when a fleet of Arab jihadists arrived at the mouth of the Tiber, made their way to Rome (p. 421), sacked the city, and carried away from the basilica of St. Peter all of the gold and silver it contained. But perhaps the largest and most infamous of the naval jihad campaigns during this period was the sack and pillage of Thessaloniki in 904. During July, 904, under the command of the Muslim convert Leo of Tripoli, more than ten thousand Cretan Arabs, Syrians, and North Africans briefly sieged, and then captured Thessaloniki, slaughtering and enslaving its inhabitants (some 22,000 slaves were taken), and causing great physical destruction to the city. John Cameniates provided an eyewitness account of these events, recorded in his chronicle. Cameniates, his elderly father, and his brother, taken prisoner while they tried to escape by the ramparts, were spared their lives because they promised their captors a large amount of money. They were marched as prisoners through the city, and thus witnessed the terrible carnage of their fellow townspeople. Cameniates narrative reveals that (p. 604):

The Thessalonians tried to escape through the streets, pursued by the Saracens, who were unleashed like wild beasts. In their panic, men. women, the elderly, and children, fell into each other’s arms to give each other one last kiss. The enemy hit with no mercy. Parents were killed while trying to defend their children. No one was spared: women, children, the elderly, all were immediately pierced by the sword. The poor wretches ran through the town, or tried to hide inside the caves; some of them, believing they could find refuge inside a church, would seek shelter inside, while others tried to scale the walls of the ramparts, from where they jumped into the void and crashed to the ground. Nuns, petrified with fear, with their hair disheveled, tried to escape, and ended up by the thousands in the hands of the barbarians, who killed the older ones, and sent the younger and more attractive ones into captivity and dishonor… The Saracens also massacred the unfortunate people who had sought refuge inside churches.

Halil Inalcik has placed the 14th century Aegean sea naval razzias of the Turkish maritime emirates in the context of jihad, citing, for example, the chapter of the Dusturname of Enveri concerning the actions of the emirate of Aydin. Elizabeth Zachariadou describes the consternation of contemporary 14th century Latin and Byzantine chroniclers observing the “spectacle” of Turkish emirs, “…who were proud only because they were able to lead their ferocious soldiers” in such predatory attacks. These raids—designed to pillage property and abduct captives for sale in slave markets—although merely ignoble piracy or brigandage from the perspective of the Christian chroniclers, nevertheless, as Zachariadou notes, were,

…for the Muslim Turks, a Holy War (Jihad), a praiseworthy and legitimate occupation, leading directly to Paradise.

Gregory Palamus, a Metropolitan of Thessalonica during the 14th century, wrote this commentary while living as a captive amongst the Turks in 1354, confirming (albeit with astonishment) that indeed the Turks attributed their victories over the Byzantines to their (the Muslims) love of God:

For these impious people, hated by God and infamous, boast of having got the better of the Romans by their love of God…they live by the bow, the sword and debauchery, finding pleasure in taking slaves, devoting themselves to murder, pillage, spoil…and not only do they commit these crimes, but even—what an aberration—they believe that God approves of them. This is what I think of them, now that I know precisely about their way of life.

More than 650 years later, and a continent (and oceans) away, C. Snouck Hurgronje reported (in 1906) that similar acts of jihad piracy were still being performed against non-Muslims (both indigenous populations, and Western traders) by the Muslim Acehnese of the Indonesian archipelago:

From Mohammedanism (which for centuries she [i.e., Aceh] is reputed to have accepted) she really only learnt a large number of dogmas relating to hatred of the infidel without any of their mitigating concomitants; so the Acehnese made a regular business of piracy and man-hunting at the expense of the neighboring non-Mohammedan countries and islands, and considered that they were justified in any act of treachery or violence to European (and latterly to American) traders who came in search of pepper, the staple product of the country. Complaints of robbery and murder on board ships trading in Acehnese parts thus grew to be chronic.

Jihad Piracy and the Barbary States

The Barbary jihad piracy which confronted America soon after our nation was established (i.e.,  between 1786-1815), was an enduring, formidable enterprise. During the 16th and 17th centuries, as many Europeans were captured, sold, and enslaved by the Barbary corsairs as were West Africans made captive and shipped for plantation labor in the Americas by European slave traders. Robert Davis’ methodical enumeration indicates that between one, and one and one-quarter million white European Christians were enslaved by the Barbary Muslims from 1530 through 1780. White Gold, Giles Milton’s remarkable account of Cornish cabin boy Thomas Pellow, captured by Barbary corsairs in 1716, also documents how earlier 17th century jihad razzias had extended to England [p. 13, “By the end of the dreadful summer of 1625, the mayor of Plymouth reckoned that 1,000 skiffs had been destroyed, and a similar number of villagers carried off into slavery”], Wales, southern Ireland [p.16, “In 1631…200 Islamic soldiers…sailed to the village of Baltimore, storming ashore with swords drawn and catching the villagers totally by surprise. (They) carried off 237 men, women, and children and took them to Algiers…The French padre Pierre Dan was in the city (Algiers) at the time…He witnessed the sale of the captives in the slave auction. ‘It was a pitiful sight to see them exposed in the market…Women were separated from their husbands and the children from their fathers…on one side a husband was sold; on the other his wife; and her daughter was torn from her arms without the hope that they’d ever see each other again’.”], and even Reykjavik, Iceland!

Alberto Guglielmotti (vol. 3, La Guerra dei Pirati, 1500-1560) included this description of the severe commercial and social devastation wrought upon the Mediterranean littoral of southern Europe by these jihad razzias (English translation, p. 24):

Everyone…could see with their own eyes the desolation of the Spanish, French, and Italian coasts, thanks to the pertinacious infestation of these pirates: the wretched beaches, the abandoned islands, the shacks [reduced to] ashes, the fishermen in flight, and the vessels of the Barbarian rovers loitering about on the sea.

And the epigraph from Padre Biaggio di Turena which introduces Davis’ recent monograph (p. xxiv) onBarbary slavery, depicts the plight of the captives:

In twenty years of wearisome work as a missionary in Aleppo, Baghdad, Grand Cairo, and Suez on the Red Sea, I have seen the infinite miseries of the poor Christians oppressed by the barbarian cruelty of Mohammedans.

America and the Barbary Jihadists

Joshua London’s compelling narrative of America’s political and military efforts during the Barbary wars highlights—appositely—the experiences of William Eaton. Eaton’s triumphs and travails during his tenure as consul to Tunis (1799-1803), and later U.S. naval agent to the Barbary states, mirrored those of the young American nation he served.

Born on February 23, 1764 in Woodstock, Connecticut, the highly intelligent and strong-willed Eaton, when 16 years old, ran away from home, subsequently lying about his age to join Washington’s Continental Army. He rose to the rank of sergeant in the Continental Army, which he served until 1783. Eaton graduated Dartmouth in 1790, and in 1791 was chosen clerk of the Massachusetts House of Delegates, where he remained until 1797, while he also served (beginning in 1792) the U.S. Army as both a fighter and negotiator during the frontier campaigns against the American Indians. Later, Eaton assisted then Secretary of War Timothy Pickering’s espionage/treason investigations. When Pickering became Secretary of State, he chose Eaton to serve as U.S. consul to Tunis, initially under President John Adams.

Eaton’s consular journal (reproduced by London, on p. 63) recorded these brutally honest and comical impressions of his first diplomatic encounter (on February 22, 1799) with Dey Bobba Mustafa of Algiers, which would make the craven State Department mandarins of today, wince:

…we took off our shoes and entering the cave (for so it seemed), with small apertures of light with iron gates, we were shown to a huge, shaggy beast, sitting on his rump upon a low bench covered with a cushion of embroidered velvet, with his hind legs gathered up like a tailor, or a bear. On our approach to him, he reached out his forepaw as if to receive something to eat. Our guide exclaimed, “Kiss the Dey’s hand!” The consul general bowed very elegantly, and kissed it, and we followed his example in succession. The animal seemed at that moment to be in a harmless mode; he grinned several times, but made very little noise. Having performed this ceremony, and standing a few moments in silent agony, we had leave to take our shoes and other property, and leave the den without any other injury than the humility of being obliged in this involuntary manner, to violate the second commandment of God and offend common decency. Can any man believe that this elevated brute has seven kings of Europe, two republics, and a continent tributary to him when his whole naval force is not equal to two line-of-battle ships? It is so.

Despite such inauspicious beginnings, and the institutionalized Barbary corruption Eaton found so repugnant to his person, and nation, his negotiations eventually secured U.S. commercial interests (at least a temporary) immunity from the attacks of Tunisian corsairs.

Eaton agonized over the gulf between the enormous potential and depressing reality of the Barbary states. He admired the Mediterranean coast of Tunis, “…naturally luxuriant and beautiful beyond description…I know not why it might not vie with the opposite continent in every thing useful, rich, and elegant”, yet despaired of the stultifying religio-political institutions which arrested the regions progress. Ultimately, Eaton concluded that Islam itself, certainly as practiced in Barbary, was the source of this backwardness:

Considered as a nation, they are deplorably wretched, because they have no property in the soil to inspire an ambition to cultivate it. They are abject slaves to the despotism of their government, and they are humiliated by tyranny, the worst of all tyrannies, the despotism of priestcraft. They live in more solemn fear of the frowns of a bigot who has been dead and rotten above a thousand years, than of the living despot whose frown would cost them their lives…The ignorance, superstitious tradition and civil and religious tyranny, which depress the human mind here, exclude improvement of every kind…

[A century later (1899), based upon his experiences as a young officer in the Sudan, Winston Churchill*would draw remarkably similar conclusions about the impact of Islam in “The River War”]

But Eaton also possessed the intellectual honesty to acknowledge that the cruelty of the Barbary slavery he witnessed was “…but a copy of the very barbarity which my eyes have seen in my own country. And yet we boast of liberty and national justice.”

Appointed Naval Agent for the Barbary Regencies in 1804, Eaton then organized and led an expedition to unseat the predatory Barbary ruler Yusuf Qaramanli. Eaton’s army arrived outside Derna. on April 25, 1805. When the bey of Derna refused his generous ultimatum, at 2 p.m. April 28, Eaton led a successful attack on the city, supported by U.S. naval gunfire. During the fighting Eaton—who had led his outnumbered force in a gallant bayonet charge—was wounded in the left wrist.  As London recounts:

He simply wrapped his arm in a makeshift bandage and sling, grabbed a pistol with his right hand, and continued to charge ahead.  With the American Marines in the lead, Eaton’s forces stormed the ramparts and advanced straight to the harbor.

Subsequent diplomatic efforts stalled the expedition.  Tobias Lear, the Consul General, reached an accomodation with Yusuf Qaramanli, which included ransom money for all American prisoners, the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Derna, and the betrayal of Eaton’s key Arab ally, Ahmad Qaramanli. Eaton commented upon this treaty with predictable bitterness in a letter to Commodore John Rodgers:

Could I have apprehended this result of my exertions, certainly no consideration would have prevailed on me to have taken an agency in a tragedy so manifestly fraught with intrigue, so wounding to human feelings, and, as I must view it, so degrading to our national honor.

Although the Senate ratified the Tripoli treaty in April 1806 by a vote of 21 to 8, as London notes,

Jefferson declared ‘victory,’ but the ‘peace’ proved rather political…The Federalists did not manage to derail the treaty, but they did embarrass and, at junctures, discredit President Thomas Jefferson and forever tarnish the career of Tobias Lear.

Just over five years later, in Brimfield, Massachusetts, June 1, 1811, an alcoholic forty-seven year old William Eaton died in near anonymity.

The signing of the Treaty of Ghent (Christmas eve, 1814)—subsequently ratified in the U.S. (February, 1815)—ended the so-called War of 1812 with Great Britain, and allowed President James Madison to address the problem of renewed Barbary jihad terrorism. On February 23, 1815, Madison provided this written assessment of the matter to a closed session of Congress:

Congress will have seen, by the communication from the Consul General of the United States, atAlgiers, …the hostile proceedings of the Dey against that functionary. These have been followed by acts of more overt and direct warfare against the citizens of the United States trading in the Mediterranean, some of whom are still detained in captivity, notwithstanding the attempts which have been made to ransom them, and they are treated with the rigor usual on the coast of Barbary…The considerations which rendered it unnecessary and unimportant to commerce hostile operations on the part of the United States, being now terminated by the peace with Great Britain, which opens the prospect of an active and valuable trade of their citizens within the range of the Algerine cruisers; I recommend to Congress the expediency of an act declaring the existence of a state of war between the United States and the Dey and Regency of Algiers; and of such provisions as may be requisite for a vigorous prosecution of it to a successful issue.

Shortly afterward, President Madison commissioned two naval squadrons led by Commodores William Bainbridge and Stephen Decatur, and dispatched them to the Barbary States in May, 1815. By June/July 1815 the ably commanded U.S. naval forces had dealt their Barbary jihadist adversaries a quick series of crushing defeats. These U.S. victories were solidified by what London terms “unprecedented” treaty agreements forced upon the Barbary states, which “..made practically no concessions and stood very firm on every point”—the abolition of all tribute; release of all American prisoners currently held, and acknowledgement that no future American prisoners of war could be enslaved; the payment of indemnities; and the restoration of American properties held by the dey.

Joshua London concludes his engrossing, carefully researched, and intellectually honest account of theBarbary wars with this insightful analysis:

During the war with Tripoli, the United States began to test William Eaton’s hypothesis that fighting back and protecting the national honor and national interest with force was the best way to end Barbary piracy. Just at the moment of triumph, however, President Thomas Jefferson wavered and settled on the side of expediency. Jefferson’s lack of resolve left American interests unguarded, and once again American maritime trade felt the Barbary terror. By 1816, however, the United States finally provded that William Eaton was right. This success ignited the imagination of the Old World powers to rise up against the Barbary pirates.

Where is Our William Eaton (or John Quincy Adams)?

Shortly after the cataclysmic jihad terror attacks of 9/11/01, President George W. Bush made his now infamous utterance that Islam is a “religion of peace”. Ironically, the renowned 20th century Muslim ideologue Sayyid Qutb, perhaps the most brilliant Muslim scholar of the 20th century, who is demonized as a fomenter of “radical” Islam, has also referred to Islam as a “religion of peace”. But Qutb’s context is unapologetic and clear—he is referring to the Pax Islamica that would prevail when the entire world was submitted to Islamic domination, and the rule of Islamic law (i.e., the Shari’a), by jihad war.

President Bush further insisted in a more recent speech that the “ideology” of the most notable Muslim terrorists, who he maintained “distort the idea of jihad”,  is “very different from the religion of Islam”, and indeed “exploits Islam to serve a violent, political vision.” The President’s specific and assertive comments regarding  jihad were a profound disappointment. Indeed, such words could have been written and spoken by the most uninformed, or deliberately disingenuous apologists for this devastating, and uniquely Islamic institution, well over a millennium old, and still wreaking havoc today.

In stark contrast, John Quincy Adams, who made seminal contributions to the formulation of U.S. foreign policy, possessed a remarkably clear, uncompromised understanding of the permanent Islamic institution ofjihad war, and its corollary institution, dhimmitude. Regarding jihad, Adams, in his essay series dealing with the Russo-Turkish War, and on Greece, (written while JQA was in retirement, before his election to Congress in 1830, Chapters X-XIV [pp. 267-402] in The American Annual Register for 1827-28-29. New York, 1830), states,

…he [Muhammad] declared undistinguishing and exterminating war, as a part of his religion, against all the rest of mankind…The precept of the Koran is, perpetual war against all who deny, that Mahomet is the prophet of God…the faithful follower of the prophet, may submit to the imperious necessities of defeat: but the command to propagate the Moslem creed by the sword is always obligatory, when it can be made effective.  The commands of the prophet may be performed alike, by fraud, or by force.

And Adams captured the essential condition imposed upon the non-Muslim dhimmi “tributaries” subjugated by jihad, with this laconic statement,

The vanquished may purchase their lives, by the payment of tribute.

Joshua London’s elegant analysis of America’s first war against jihad terrorism illustrates the pitfalls of ignoring basic Islamic precepts—rooted in jihad—such as Dar al Harb, as stated ad nauseum by our Muslim adversaries, past and present. It is critical that current U.S. political leadership rediscover and imbibe the uncompromised knowledge of Islam possessed by John Quincy Adams, and the outspoken, tragic hero of the Barbary jihad wars, William Eaton.

During Eaton’s 1798 voyage to North Africa to serve as the consul to Tunis, he lamented in his journal,

It is sad to reflect that our beloved nation could sink so low in her self-esteem [as to pay such lavish tribute to pirates]. I pray that I will have an opportunity to cause the rulers of Barbary to think more highly of us in years to come

Eaton subsequently warned the political elites and ordinary countrymen of his time that,

Our language to them [the Barbary jihadist states] should be the language of the gospel:

‘I have set this day before you life and death, choose which you will’. Without a language like this, and an attitude to support it, to think of reciprocity is idle…

The epigraph to Victory in Tripoli was also written by William Eaton. Two centuries later, these words are a fitting epilogue to the Barbary wars, as America struggles against contemporary jihad terrorism, triumphally resurgent:

To the United States, they believe they can dictate terms. Why should they not? Or why should they believe it will ever be otherwise? They have seen nothing in America to controvert the opinion. And all our talk of resistance and reprisal, they view as the swaggering of a braggadocio…But whatever stratagem may be used to aid our measures, it is certain, that there is not access to the permanent friendship of these states, without paving the way with gold or cannon balls; and the proper question is, which method is preferable.

Hope springs eternal that politicians or diplomats possessed of William Eaton’s and John Quincy Adams’ learning, experiential wisdom, and moral clarity will step forward and admonish Americans so forthrightly today.

[*Sir Winston Churchill, The River War, first edition, Vol. II, pages 248-50, London: Longmans, Green & Co., 1899]

How dreadful are the curses which Mohammedanism lays on its votaries! Besides the fanatical frenzy, which is as dangerous in a man as hydrophobia in a dog, there is this fearful fatalistic apathy. The effects are apparent in many countries. Improvident habits, slovenly systems of agriculture, sluggish methods of commerce, and insecurity of property exist wherever the followers of the Prophet rule or live.…A degraded sensualism deprives this life of its grace and refinement; the next of its dignity and sanctity. The fact that in Mohammedan law every woman must belong to some man as his absolute property, either as a child, a wife, or a concubine, must delay the final extinction of slavery until the faith of Islam has ceased to be a great power among men. Individual Moslems may show splendid qualities …but the influence of the religion paralyses the social development of those who follow it. No stronger retrograde force exists in the world. Far from being moribund, Mohammedanism is a militant and proselytizing faith. It has already spread throughout Central Africa, raising fearless warriors at every step; and were it not that Christianity is sheltered in the strong arms of science, the science against which it had vainly struggled, the civilisation of modern Europe might fall, as fell the civilisation of ancient Rome.

The Salcombe Wreck; An Inconvenient Truth


A few years back a team of West Country-based amateur divers discovered one of the richest treasure wrecks so far found in British waters, that of a 17th-century Islamic slaving ship whose intended cargo was English captives destined for the slave markets of North Africa.

This discovery nailed, once and for all, leftist attempts to rewrite history and established beyond all doubt that Islamic slavers did prowl our shores; furthermore, that the accounts recorded in the archives of county and national libraries, are neither “misinterpreted” nor “erroneous”, but historically accurate.

BNP has more>>

11 thoughts on “Islam's White Slavery”

  1. I read yesterday night,i saw the link you put somewhere on the site Sheik,a lot of thing i already know but it’s very well documented and presented,Of course after a while i was Boiling,I stopped before destroying everything in the Piggery….i put in my bookmarks for more consultation in the future,I recommend it to everyone here.

  2. Kaw – I hope you see this post. I just received notice that I have to start some medical treatments next week. I don’t want to waste your time, or put you on hold – when I am so unreliable because of my health. Perhaps you will be able to run with the idea. I hope so, and if you do decide to proceed, I wish you the very best. When I am able to, I’ll continue to check in at Winds to see what’s going on in the anti-Jihad movement.

    Sheik – there’s no point in giving out my e-mail address. I’m too unreliable at this point to commit to anything. Thanks for everything you do.

  3. jeh,
    Firstly all the best and best wishes for your health. I will wish you a speedy recovery. I will run with your idea but of course you are not out of the loop and you can advise/comment any time that you wish. A speedy recovery and wishing you all the best.

  4. Years ago, there was a Polish movie Victoria in the works. The website is still up, but no release date. The producers used this history in a novel, feature film, a documentary, a gorgeous soundtrack and even planned a theme park for educational purposes.
    Boggles the mind why Hollywood doesn’t jump on this material. With blockbuster moneymaker series like LOTR and Harry Potter – there’s a gold mine in that history. Hey BIG HOLLYWOOD – are you paying attention? Where is Hollywood’s modern day Frank Capra – ready to call a spade a spade and teach our boneheaded generations ‘why we fight’?

  5. Thanks very much Kaw. I genuinely appreciate what you said.

    There is always hope as long as people like you, and the Sheik are around.

    Take good care.

  6. jeh, do not stop because you are unwell. I am afraid it is all hands on deck for everyone, even if it is only a little bit. It all helps. In fact it is crucial.
    I will let you in on a little secret. I am in the same boat as you. But I still want to contribute so I find other ways to do it. Being in front of a computer without other commitments for a while is a goldmine for causes like this. Not many others can provide this sort of resourse freely. Communications are crucial.

    I hope all goes well for you, and hear from you soon!

  7. Wow, WTD, that’s a gorgeous site (the movie). You just reminded me of another movie: Pirates of the Caribbean, where that filthy pirate finds Keira Knightley during their raid on the town and utters his “ellow poppet” line… Of course that would imply he’s English, but making him a North-African Muslim Pirate wouldn’t be PC, of course. Maybe they should try and get some funding from Israel to make that movie (

    lol @ “Porky the Crusader”. Won’t you get Babe and a bunh of other friends and go invade that site where they want to build that Ground Zero / 911 Mosque? I think if the area is infested with pigs, maybe they’ll give up on the idea. We should start loving our pig farmers. lol

    Nice articles. The issue definitely needs much more exposure.

  8. This is also an interesting article:

    Pakistan TV Debate on Concubines and Slavery in Islam

    Extract: “Usually men were enslaved and women were made concubines.”

    Sounds like a tradition of slavery and mass-rape to me. If you take a good look at definitions of genocide, this fits. Also consider the fact that infidels should all either be killed, converted or pay jizya.

    Surely this is also a perspective worthy of consideration? Maybe it will shock some people into waking up.

    I must add that I sense a bit of taqiyyah in the above interview. Sort of like “Islam doesn’t oppress women”. I beg to differ:

    Video: “Rape and Molest Israeli Girls” Female Egyptian Lawyer’s Advice for Arab “Freedom Fighters”

  9. Slavery in North Africa

    Europeans rarely returned from a life of horror after being hijacked to their south. KEITH SUTER reports on an early slave trade.

    In the 19th century, Britain boasted that it looked after the rights of its citizens — no matter which country or condition they found themselves in. Today, Britain, the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and other countries have a network of consular officials to look after their citizens who get into trouble overseas.

    But it was not always like that. In the 17th and early 18th centuries, about a million Europeans and colonial Americans were captured by pirates from north Africa: Morocco, Algiers, Tunis and Tripoli. They were largely left to die in slavery.

    Many in Morocco were held in one of the world’s largest set of buildings. The sultan’s palace in Morocco was built — by slave labor to rival the newly built palace of Versailles of the French King Louis XIV. The sultan was intending to build a palace stretching for 480 km, from Meknes to Marrakesh.

    North Africa’s wealth came partly from piracy and slavery. Pirates captured passing vessels in the Mediterranean and Atlantic, and between 1609 and 1616 they caught 466 English trading ships.

    In 1645 the first American colonial vessel was attacked by an Islamic pirate vessel. The crew managed to fight off this assault, but many of their seafaring comrades were not so fortunate.

    The pirates also attacked isolated unarmed coastal villages in Britain and Europe. Fleets of their ships would conduct hit-and-run operations and get away with their humans and goods before a faraway national government could retaliate. In the summer of 1625, the mayor of Plymouth estimated that a thousand people had been taken as slaves from his area.

    Few people in England in 1625 knew what happened to the victims. They disappeared without trace and most were never heard from again.

    England’s King Charles I in that year sent an emissary to north Africa to see what was happening. Eventually he was able to buy some slaves out of captivity, and they stunned the country with their stories of suffering and torture by Muslims.

    For the next century or so the piracy continued, with occasional battles at sea. The pirates were better at sailing and so often won their clashes. They could also put ashore in north Africa and hide, with European naval forces reluctant to give chase over land.

    Piracy was big business. The cost of ransoming a white female slave was more than most Londoners would earn in a lifetime. It helps explain why the pirates were more interested in ships’ crews than their cargoes. North African sultans used the pirates as a source of wealth. They also hoped that capturing large numbers of white slaves would make European rulers take them more seriously.

    Sultans wanted to hold European monarchs to ransom and force them to send emissaries to beg for the return of their people — for a price.

    One of the best-known stories of a white slave was that of Thomas Pellow, an 11-year-old crew member of the Francis that left Falmouth, in England’s West Country, in 1715.

    It was his first journey to sea.

    The cargo ship went to Italy and was returning when t was caught by pirates in the Bay of Biscay. It was an unarmed ship that stood no chance against the pirates, and Pellow was taken into brutal slavery in north Africa — the Muslim slave owners used to beat Christians for fun.

    He was lucky because his owner wanted to convert him to Islam rather than kill him. Conversion may have a saved slaves’ immediate life, but it meant that they no longer had any chance of being redeemed by their own government, which regarded such converts as traitors.

    Under pressure, Pellow converted to Islam.

    Pellow was then given lighter duties in the sultan’s palace, which gave him access to better food. The sultan then married him off to one of the local women, with the hope that the marriage would result in more slaves being born.

    For years, Pellow’s family in England had no information about his fate. Even if they had, they had no money to pay a ransom to buy him back. The owner of the Francis was not worried about the fate of his former crew — he could always recruit others. In 1719 the family received news that Pellow was alive but that he had converted to Islam. This meant that the English Government no longer listed him as a slave they would like to buy out of captivity.

    Pellow had no choice but to try to escape. This would be a difficult undertaking because informers were scattered across the country and his palace was five days’ march from the Atlantic.

    But Pellow had some advantages. His palace job meant that he was in reasonable health. He was also now a fluent speaker of Arabic and had tanned skin, which meant he could pass himself off as a wandering merchant. He made his first attempt in 1721 but was captured, and tried again in 1728 or 1729 during a time of civil unrest in Morocco but was caught once more.

    In 1729, his wife and daughter both died of a disease. Although it had been a forced marriage, it had been a happy one and he loved his daughter. Indeed, he had often thought that once he had escaped back to England alone, he would send for his wife and daughter, although given they were both Muslims and England was anti-Islamic, it is not clear how realistic he was being.

    It was in 1737 that Pellow made his last dash for freedom. He was aged 33 and had been a slave for more than two decades. He set out pretending to be a traveling doctor and eventually reached the Atlantic coast after six months. On July 10, 1738, he was on board a vessel heading for London. His arrival there caused a great stir because so few slaves ever lived to tell their tale.

    On October 15, 1738, he landed back at Falmouth. News of his escape had gone ahead of him thanks to the efficiency of the newspapers of his day. He was given a hero’s welcome in his village — including from his parents, who were now both in their 50s — and returned to being a Christian.

    In 1740, he wrote the best-seller The History of the Long Captivity and Adventures of Thomas Pellow, which gave a fascinating insight into the horrors of white slavery in north Africa.

    European governments continued to mount operations against the pirates, but the north African pirates were not completely dealt with until the Ottoman Empire (present day Turkey) took over north Africa in the late 18th century.

    Today, the sultan’s palace at Sale, Morocco, has largely gone. What took slaves decades to build was destroyed in minutes by an earthquake in 1755. There are few traces of the European and American slaves who died building it.

    Based in part on White Gold: The Extraordinary Story of Thomas Pellow and North Africa’s One Million European Slaves by Giles Milton (Hodder & Stoughton).

    This article was first published in The Daily Telegraph, November 29, 2004, 35.

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