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Islam's Black Slaves: A History of Africa's Other Black Diaspora Hardcover – 11 Feb 2002

4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 284 pages
  • Publisher: Atlantic Books; 1st ed edition (11 Feb. 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1903809800
  • ISBN-13: 978-1903809808
  • Package Dimensions: 23.6 x 15.8 x 3.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,015,201 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

About the Author

RONALD SEGAL was born in South Africa and is the former publisher of Africa South. He left his country with ANC leader Oliver Tambo in 1960 for political exile in England, where he has remained ever since. The founding editor of the Penguin African Library, he is the author of 13 books, including most recently, The Black Diaspora.

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Format: Paperback
Ronald Segals short (240 pages) book on the subject of Slavery and Islam is one of the few books that cover this issue in a form that is accessible to the average reader. What is welcome about the book is that it stands apart from much of the fevered anti-Islamic writing that has been a growing phenomena over the last few decades and attempts to deal with the issue of Slavery in Islam in an impartial manner.

Africa has suffered at the hands of the slave trade for well over a thousand years, the European component of that trade was at it height between the 1500's into the 1800's. Slavery already existed in the lands that were to come under Islam, and the trade was carried over from then (7th century) and though the Ottoman empire banned it in the 1850's it has continued in some parts of the Islamic world until well into the twentieth century, in two countries Mauritania and Sudan it is believed to be still continuing.

A section of the book makes the comparison between the two trades and makes the point that in the few centuries that the Europeans traded in slaves they enslaved almost as many Africans as Islamic countries did over 13 centuries. Further to this he points out that "in European Slavery the Africans were depersonalised, a unit of labour in an America where the original populations had been hideously depleted by European arms and diseases." This is in comparison to Islam where "the overall treatment of slaves was overall more benign, in part because of the values and attitudes promoted by religion inhibited the very development of Western style Capitalism, with its effective subjugation of people to the priority of profit.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book s a companion volume to the authors first book "The Black Diaspora"which dealt with Christianitys black slavery from west Africa to north America and deals with Islams black slaves from east Africa to the middle and far east.
While slavery under Islam far predates western slavery it continues today in countries such as Mauretania and Sudan.However Islams slaves did not meet such barbarity as Christianitys did as they were mainly servants,soldiers or sexual partners and were more likely to eventually be freed.
Well written and researched and recorded in a frank and neutral manner.
A thought provoking book.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program)

Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars 1 review
9 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very enlightening 21 Nov. 2003
By Seth J. Frantzman - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This book is highly problematic. As has been noted this book seems to endorse and defend the Islamic slave trade as the author argues it was more `humane' then the western version while at the same time this book explores the roots of Islams obsession with Slavery.
What's clear from this book is that Islam invented the African slave trade and introduced it to the West. The West had taken slaves in battle but had never penetrated Africa as slave traders for the purposes of money. Islam send thousands of Arabs deep into the hearts of Africa to get as many slaves as possible. This book details how most of the slaves sought were female which would be used for the sexual recreation of Muslim men. The African women that became pregnant were punished and the children were murdered. The male African slaves were frequently used as soldiers or killed and thus there is relatively little African culture in the Arab countries that imported more then 11 million or more African slaves from 500AD onwards up to this day.
The author tries to argue that these slaves were more humanely treated because they were not used to work fields as the slaves in the West were. But its not clear how its more humane to treat young African women as sexual slaves for mere enjoyment, only to murder them at age 25 then it is to keep slaves for most of their natural life working on a farm and procreating. Few if any of Islams African slaves were allowed to mate with eachother and have offspring this is why little African culture is apparent in Islamic countries today throughout the former Ottoman empire.
This book is essential for the west to understand that Islam was a slave loving and slave holding culture, one that in many ways mirrored the western obsession with human trade. It is an interesting book. This is essential reading for understanding the dark side of Islamic societies and the obsession that Arabs had in the slave trade. The slave trade exists to this day in the Sudan and Africa where Arab gangs raid villages, stealing women and children to be sold as slaves to rich Saudis for sexual pleasure and house work. Not much has changed in 1500 years in Saudi Arabia, and this book is a good primer on the basis for slavery in Islamic society, a basis that the author claims comes from the Koran exhorting Muslims to treat slaves well but to import them vigorously.
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