Muslims have sold a lot of African-Americans on the myth that Islam is an “African” religion and that Arabic words are African. In fact, Islam is the religion of Arab slavemasters. And recent events in Mali serve as a reminder of that.
Islam incorporates not only religious supremacism through theocracy, but also ethnic supremacism that privileges the descendants of Mohammed.
Her light-skinned master no longer beats her with a camel whip. He no longer makes her work from dawn to night without pay. He fled with his family four months ago, along with the Islamists who briefly ruled this historic city.
“I am free,” said Aminaya Traore, a 50-year-old woman who was born into slavery. “I can do whatever I want.”
Across this sand-swept city, hundreds of modern-day slaves are experiencing a sense of liberation, many for the first time. Nearly all the lighter-skinned Tuaregs and Arab Moors who for generations exploited them have fled the city, fearing reprisal attacks for supporting supporting the Islamists or the Tuareg separatists whose rebellion helped ignite the Islamist takeover of Mali’s north last year.
“Under the Islamists, blacks were exploited even more by the pink-skinned people,” said Roukiatou Cisse, a social worker with Temedt, a human rights group, referring to the Tuaregs and Arab Moors. “They told them, ‘We are with the Islamists. We are in power. We are the masters and you are our slaves. We will do what we want.’ ”
President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation in 1862. By contrast, Saudi Arabia only abolished slavery in 1962. That same year Yemen abolished slavery and the United Arab Emirates abolished slavery a year later.
Al-Tabari wrote that, “Noah prayed that the hair of Ham’s descendants would not grow beyond their ears, and that whenever his descendants met Shem’s, the latter would enslave them.” This theological justification provided a religious manifest destiny for the Arab conquests and acts of ethnic cleansing in Africa.
The great Muslim historian Ibn Khaldun justified slavery by relegating black people to the rank of animals, writing, “The only people who accept slavery are the Negroes, owing to their low degree of humanity and proximity to the animal stage.”