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ISLAM & SLAVERY: MYTH VS. REALITY

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    Assalamu alaikum, In the Name of Allah, Most Beneficent, Most Merciful Islam & Slavery: Myth vs. Reality by El-Hajj Mauri Saalakhan (e-mail: SSaala@aol.com)
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 1 5:00 AM
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      Assalamu'alaikum,

      In the Name of Allah, Most Beneficent, Most Merciful

      Islam & Slavery: Myth vs. Reality

      by El-Hajj Mauri' Saalakhan (e-mail: SSaala@...)

      Last night (2/28/01), over Fox 5 Ten O'clock News, a special report
      aired on slavery in America. You heard it right, slavery in America!
      According to one organization, which is dedicated to exposing and
      eradicating this plague in the land of "liberty and justice for all," an
      estimated 50,000 women and girls are trafficked in America each year. The
      reasons are as varied as the places from which these women come; from
      sexual slavery (prostitution), to slave labor as domestics, in sweatshops
      or - in one area that the report missed, on some of America's farmlands
      (where they share exploitation with their husbands, fathers, brothers and
      sons, through indentured servitude).

      The places from which many of these women and young girls come is
      indeed varied. They are lured to America from places as diverse as Asia,
      Africa, South America and Eastern Europe. They are promised jobs and
      opportunities, only to discover after they arrive, an entirely different
      reality. Many who come into the country legally have their visas/passports
      confiscated, and then the nightmare begins. It may shock some people to
      know that even young American preadolescent runaways can often wind up in
      bondage - at the mercy of sadistic pimps on the streets (of American
      cities), or as "high class call girls" in penthouse suites. What deepens
      this tragedy is the hypocrisy that it reveals.

      In October of last year, legislation was passed in Congress to stiffen
      the penalty for persons trafficking in "human cargo." As a result of this
      legislation, anyone successfully prosecuted under this new law faces life
      without the possibility of parole. But guess what, no one has yet been
      prosecuted under the new law. When testimony was given on Capitol Hill
      prior to the vote, the press was censored, ostensibly in order to protect
      the identities of those giving testimony - and much of what we did hear
      during that time, focussed on alleged religiously motivated bondage; you
      guessed it, perpetrated by "Muslim governments."

      Myth vs. Reality

      The charge of Islam being a promulgator of slavery is nothing new.
      Toward the end of the 19th century Christianity was at the height of its
      power and influence on the African continent, and the advances made by
      Christian missionaries in certain regions of the continent were used as an
      argument in favor of its truth. During this period, these missionaries
      invented and spread the lie that it was really Arab traders who
      established and fostered the slave trade in Africa. This lie persists in
      the minds of some uninformed people to this very day. However, what does
      the historical record have to say about this?

      El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz (Malcolm X) used to say, "History is best
      qualified to reward all research." Indeed it is. The record will show that
      at the height of the European slave trade, almost every Christian looked
      upon the support of the slave trade as a sacred duty. Lady Southern writes
      in her book entitled, The Gambia: "On the other side of the reckoning
      there is, however, the fact that the advent of the Portuguese was a
      calamity for Africa. It was Prince Henry's men who first brought back
      slaves from Africa to Europe, in the first instance from Morocco and later
      from the West Coast. The first Negroes brought to Europe were presented to
      the Pope, who set his seal of approval on the traffic in human beings as a
      means of saving souls." (pg. 50)

      And then we have the writings of Georgina A. Goollock, of the London
      Student Christian Movement, who writes in her book, Sons of Africa , in
      1928 (pg. 36): "The English came into the trade in 1562, when Captain
      [later Sir John] Hawkins took three cargoes of slaves to the West Indies.
      Queen Elizabeth demurred at first; afterwards she lent Hawkins a ship of
      her own called Jesus, and granted him as coat-of-arms a Negro laden with
      chains."

      There we have it; indisputable proof that a religious leader of the
      highest order, and a secular leader similarly positioned, sanctioned the
      bondage of human beings. Islamaphobes would be hardpressed to find
      similarly placed Muslim leaders, anywhere in the world, during any period
      in history, placing their stamp of approval on slavery (particularly of
      the European variety). Instead we find the following:

      "The Mohammadan religion also participated in the suppression of the slave
      trade (emphasis mine). And further, "About six years before, the Sheriff
      of Mecca had sent a letter to the King of Fulas for circulation through
      all these 'Mandingo' tribes, strictly prohibiting the selling of slaves -
      and which later was also promulgated among the Yorubas, Fulanis and other
      neighboring tribes. The slave traffic was declared to be contrary to the
      teachings of Muhammad (pbuh), which pronounce the most fearful
      denunciations of Allah's wrath in the world hereafter against those who
      persist in the traffic with European nations."

      The aforementioned excerpt from the Report of The Commission of
      Inquiry, Sierra Leone (Sierra Leone Studies pages 18-19, Vol. No. XXI,
      939), clearly reveals who the British - and no doubt, other colonialists -
      considered to be the most formidable opposition to their imperialistic
      schemes; Muslims and Islam!

      In truth, the British scholar, Sir Thomas Arnold, is far more accurate
      in conveying the reality of Islam's sociopolitical impact on Black Africa.
      He wrote in his book entitled, The Preachings of Islam:

      "The progress of Islam in Nigeria has no doubt been materially advanced by
      this absence of any feeling of repulsion toward the Negro - indeed Islam
      seems never to have treated the Negro as an inferior, as has been
      unhappily too often the case in Christiandom." (pg, 357) and further,
      "Thus the converted Negro at once takes an equal place in the brotherhood
      of believers, neither his colour nor his race, nor any associations of the
      past standing in the way." (pg. 359)

      This latter quote from Professor Arnold's work reminds me of Malcolm's
      letter from Hajj in 1964. At a recent engagement at the Islamic Center of
      Long Island, while reading aloud Malcolm's letter from hajj, I became a
      little emotional. It retrospect, I believe two things sparked that
      involuntary reaction - the beauty and power of Malcolm's words, coupled
      with my own awareness of how far this ummah (community of Islam) has
      drifted since those words were first spoken.

      The Qur'an teaches us to, "Stand firmly for justice as witnesses..."
      even if it is against ourselves, or those closest to us. We are presently
      in the season of Hajj (pilgrimage to Mecca), wherein millions of Muslims
      have converged on the Arabian peninsula from all over the world, from blue
      eyed blondes to jet black Africans. It is the greatest assembly of human
      beings in the annals of history. Nothing else compares!

      I vividly remember how during my own pilgrimage in 1987, I saw some of
      the best and worst of humanity. Among some of my disturbing recollections
      were the Muslims who were identified to me as "slaves" in Mecca. More
      often than not, these slaves were dark skinned.

      I say this to underscore the fact that I am under no illusions about
      slavery in "Muslim lands." And further, I have no illusions that this
      slavery is sometimes as much a consequence of greed, coupled with a
      feeling of racial and/or class superiority, as it is attributable to
      anything else that apologists might try to use to excuse it. I am also
      aware that any slavery that does exist anywhere in the Muslim world, does
      so in direct contravention to the teachings of Islam - both the Qur'an and
      sunnah (traditions) of the Prophet.

      It's also for this reason that I become immediately suspicious
      whenever I hear reports of Islam oriented revivalists (such as the
      government in Sudan) being accused of official complicity in a modern day
      slave trade. No doubt, if one looks hard enough in any part of the African
      continent where conflict is raging, one will be able to find
      captives/slaves being held by rival tribe among the Christians, animists,
      and/or Muslims.

      Who is Really Behind the Disinformation Campaign

      What I find most interesting, however, is the selective and
      sensationalistic manner in which Zionist funded, and Israeli-connected
      government offices, organizations, politicians - and increasingly, black
      "civil rights leaders" - have accused Muslim governments of being behind
      alleged full blown slave trade on the African continent. A prominent
      Washington area radio personality, connected with a black owned station,
      has established a website dedicated to exposing certain Muslim African
      governments, and attempting to direct the course of US sanctions. Now when
      we look at the big picture, we are compelled to ask, what is this really
      all about? And who is really behind this?

      To my 21st Century Afro-American abolitionists, if you are truly
      sincere about your passion for freedom, why not begin in your own
      backyard? I have yet to see evidence of official government complicity in
      the slave trade in Sudan - or in any other Muslim nation striving for
      Islamically-based self-determination. And if the mere fact that it exists
      in Sudan, Mauritania (or anywhere else for that matter) makes that
      government complicit, what does this say about America?

      And if you want to come with the argument that we are concerned about
      the people who look like us, fine; you can still get some OJT (on the job
      training) right here in the continental US. Aside from the African
      immigrants who are represented in that 50,000 person estimate cited at the
      beginning of this commentary, there are archipelagos within America's
      prison-industrial complex, where your and my sons and daughters, brothers
      and sisters, fathers and mothers, etc., etc, are being held captive in
      neo-slavery (and it's all legal).

      The thinly veiled, racially motivated, selectively administered,
      mandatory sentencing laws unleashed over the past decade in America, have
      resulted in this nation having the highest incarceration rate in the
      world. And most of this has taken place on the watch of a Democratic
      Administration, during the reign of the "first black president." (How
      deluded and self-serving some of us can be!)

      The moral of this commentary is that we should not allow ourselves to
      be used to serve the political interests of others. If we are going to
      stand for something, let us stand for it across the board; and above all
      let us not allow ourselves to be manipulated by those whose own hands are
      dirty.

      The same hands that fund these abolitionist junkets to Africa, are the
      same hands that fund (and through funding control) some of the leading
      "civil rights" organizations (and leaders) in America; and are some of the
      same hands responsible for subsidizing the oppression of a people
      [Palestinians] who are going through many of the same trials and
      tribulations that we [African Americans] had to struggle through not too
      long ago. Let us learn from the past, and not diminish our present.

      El-Hajj Mauri' Saalakhan,
      The Peace And Justice Foundation

      (c) All Rights Reserved, 2001

      REMEMBER!!!
      The Islamic Conference For Human Rights and Responsibility
      Saturday, March 17, 2001...1-6PM
      Islamic Education Center
      7917 Montrose Rd.
      Potomac, Md.

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