Arab’s slave trade was worse than America’s style

Arab’s slave trade was worse than America’s style

Tuesday, December 10, 2019 3:08 pm

Arab slaves being led to the market. Credit,

Ademola Adegbamigbe

The story you are about to read is like comparing which, between two evils, is better. It does not detract from the fact that the trade in human beings was hideous.

Ali Mazrui, the late Kenyan Professor, once made a comparison between the brutality inflicted on Africans by American slave traders and the Arabs. He pointed out that (I paraphrase him) while one could point at the descendants of slaves who are now the African Americans, the Blacks enslaved by Arabs were annihilated in an orgy of xenophobia.

That is why one could see a resemblance between Eddy Murphy, the American movie star today and Nkem Owoh, the Nollywood actor, alias Osuofia in London! In other words, were it not for the environment, an Oprah Winfrey could as well be a pepper seller at Oja Odan in Ogun State.

Nkem Owoh

Eddie Murphy

Yes, Africans were shipped to the plantations in North and South America and some of them were resettled by former US President James Monroe in Monrovia, Liberia, their scions are doing well today in different walks of life. At least, Kunta Kinte could trace his roots (in the book and movie with the eponymous title) back to the Gambia.

What, therefore, happened to the Blacks enslaved by Arabs? In the story below, published by, Arabs castrated African slaves. Thus, they could not reproduce their kinds to multiply and replenish the earth. In the Americas, slaves were allowed to marry, though their children could be sold off like puppies right “before their eyes”! Read the atrocities inflicted on Africans by the Arabs below.

The story is entitled:

10 Facts About The Arab Enslavement Of Black People Not Taught In Schools

The number of people enslaved by Muslims has been a hotly debated topic, especially when the millions of Africans forced from their homelands are considered.

Some historians estimate that between A.D. 650 and 1900, 10 million to 20 million people were enslaved by Arab slave traders. Others believe over 20 million enslaved Africans alone had been delivered through the trans-Saharan route alone to the Islamic world. Dr. John Alembellah Azumah estimates in his 2001 book “The Legacy of Arab-Islam in Africa” that over 80 million more Black people died over that route.

Castrated African guarding a harem in Tunis.jpg. Photo credit:

1. Arab Enslavers Practiced Genetic Warfare

The Arab slave trade typically dealt in the sale of castrated male slaves. Black boys between the age of 8 and 12 had their scrotums and penises completely amputated to prevent them from reproducing. About six of every 10 boys bled to death during the procedure, according to some sources, but the high price brought by eunuchs on the market made the practice profitable.

Some men were castrated to be eunuchs in domestic service, and the practice of neutering male slaves was not limited to only Black males. “The calipha in Baghdad at the beginning of the 10th Century had 7,000 black eunuchs and 4,000 white eunuchs in his palace,” writes author Ronald Segal in his 2002 book “Islam’s Black Slaves: The Other Black Diaspora.”

2. Arab Slave Trade Inspired Arab Racism Toward Blacks

Its important to note that Arab is not a racial classification; an Arab is almost like an American in that people classified as Arab today could be Caucasian (white people), Asiatic or even Arabized Africans. In the beginning there was some level of mutual respect between the Blacks and the more lighter-skinned Arabs. However, as Islam and the demand for enslaved Blacks grew, so did racism toward Africans.

As casual association with Black skin and slave began to be established, racist attitudes towards Blacks began to manifest in Arabic language and literature. The word for slave —abid — became a colloquialism for African. Other words, such as haratin, express social inferiority of Africans.

3. Arab Enslavers Targeted Women For Rape

The eastern Arab slave trade dealt primarily with African women, maintaining a ratio of two women for each man. These women and young girls were used by Arabs and other Asians as concubines and menials.

A Muslim slaveholder was entitled by law to the sexual enjoyment of his slave women. Filling the harems of wealthy Arabs, African women bore them a host of children.

This abuse of African women would continue for nearly 1,200 years.

4. Arab Slave Trade Ushered in The European Slave Trade

The Arab slave trade in the 19th century was economically tied to the European trade of Africans. New opportunities of exploitation were provided by the transatlantic slave trade and this sent Arab slavers into overdrive.

The Portuguese (on the Swahili coast) profited directly and were responsible for a boom in the Arab trade. Meanwhile on the West African coast, the Portuguese found Muslim merchants entrenched along the African coast as far as the Bight of Benin. These European enslavers found they could make considerable amounts of gold transporting enslaved Africans from one trading post to another, along the Atlantic coast.

5. The Arab Slave Trade Sparked One of The Largest Slave Rebellions in History

The Zanj Rebellion took place near the city of Basra, located in present-day southern Iraq, over a period of fifteen years (A.D. 869–883). The insurrection is believed to have involved enslaved Africans (Zanj) who had originally been captured from the African Great Lakes region and areas further south in East Africa.

Basran landowners had brought several thousand East African Zanj people into southern Iraq to drain the salt marshes in the east. The landowners forced the Zanj, who generally spoke no Arabic, into heavy slave labor and provided them with only minimal subsistence. The harsh treatment sparked an uprising that grew to involve over 500,000 enslaved and free men who were imported from across the Muslim empire.

6. Arab Enslavers Avoided Teaching Islam to Blacks to Justify Enslaving Them

According to some historians, Islam prohibited freeborn Muslims from being enslaved, so it was not in the interest for Arab slavers to convert enslaved Africans to the religion. Since converting enslaved Africans to Islam would grant them more rights and reduce the potential reservoir of people to enslave, propagators of Islam often revealed a cautious attitude toward proselytizing Africans.

Still, if an African converted to Islam he was not guaranteed freedom nor did it confer freedom to their children. Only children of slaves or non-Muslim prisoners of war could become slaves, never a freeborn Muslim.

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