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Western Civilisation

Until the advent of materialism and 19th c. dogma, Western Civilisation was  superior to anything Islam had developed.  Islam has not aided in the development of the modern world; in fact civilisation has only been created in spite of Islam.  Proof of this resides in the 'modern' world and the unending political-economic and spiritual poverty of Muslim states and regions.  Squatting on richer civilisations is not 'progress'.  Islam is pagan, totalitarian, and irrational.   

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Sunday, May 9, 2010

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Book Review: 'Race and Slavery in the Middle East.' by Bernard Lewis, 1990.

Not a very good effort.

by Ferdinand III

Bernard Lewis is an expert on Islam, Muslim history and the development of the Arab world. All of his writings and books, of which I have read many if not most, are detailed, well-sourced, wonderfully written and clear. Lewis is an academic who can speak and write in a plain language. But it is obvious that Lewis' earlier writings on Islam, among which this book must be included, suffered from the academic-modern Liberal tendency to ascribe to Islam, what one would like to see, not what Islam actually is. The topic of Islamic racism, supremacism, and the addiction to slavery, is too monumental to be airbrushed and whitewashed.

On the positive side this book, as with all of Lewis' writings, is an excellent compendium of information. Facts, time-lines, and historical perspectives imbue the volume. There is a lot of information which is novel, or little-discussed. For someone who would like to be introduced to the topic of Muslim slave-trading; this book is a good start. But it does suffer from some defects.

For example, Lewis never says how many Blacks and Whites were consumed by Islamic jihad and imperialism over 1400 years. Most investigations put the number of Blacks taken by the Arab and Muslim jihad at between 11 and 15 millions. At least 8 million Whites were enslaved from Europe and Russia. We have a slave trade which is at least double the number of Blacks taken by the Europeans to the 'New World'. Yet Lewis, in a book about Arab and Muslim racism, slave-trading and human destruction never even attempts a body-count.

The death rate is important to put into perspective this Muslim and Arab crime against humanity. As Lewis states, when discussing the Western penchant for assuming that Islam is only happiness, merriment and religious piety, the annihilation of millions of humans is conveniently forgotten: “Not for the first time, a mythologized and idealized Islam provided a stick with which to chastise Western failings.” [p. 101] The Atlantic slave-trade, ended by Christianity, British sea-power and Northern American military strength, promotes angst, self-flagellation and excoriating rebukes from Marxist-Liberal Westerners today. Nothing is heard from these people about the Arab-Muslim slave trade which destroyed twice the numbers of the Atlantic slave-trade.

Lewis seems reluctant to draw a straight line between Islamic theology and slavery. But the links are obvious. As Lewis outlines early in his book, the lust for slaves is approved by the Koran, as it is by both the Old and New Testaments, which accept the institution of slavery but insist on the basic humanity of the slave and to treat him humanely [p. 4]. In Koranic law free Muslims cannot be enslaved, but anyone caught in a jihad; who refuses to convert; or who is born to a slave woman, is assumed to be a slave of the Allah cult [pp 5-6].

The Koran of course does recognize the basic inequality between master and slave; and it does advocate and support the idea of sex-slavery or what Lewis calls 'concubinage'. Slaves are encouraged to be freed to expiate the sins of their Muslim masters though this certainly was not a large scale phenomenon within Islam [p. 6]. The above means of course that one of the impulses to Islamic expansion was the requisitioning of slaves for profit, and for military, household, governmental, and sex duties.

That the Koran is inherently a racist tract is obvious to any who have read it. As outlined here there are innumerable verses advocating racism and supremacism which leads to the enslavement of infidels and the use of Unbelievers for the benefit [sexual, military, household, on galley ships, and in the fields or mines]; of the ruling Muslims. As written previously about the Arab and Muslim slave trade, much of it comes from its founder Mohammed, and his own actions in sanctifying a millenia-old Arab practice of using slaves – facts which Lewis does not spend much time on, but which obviously inform Koranic and Islamic practice:

“One can make a very good argument that Islam and the Koran are inherently racist and anti-Black, if not anti-White. Kaffir is a derogatory Arab word first used to denote Blacks as inferior sub-humans, which was later expanded to include all non-Muslims. Slavery of Blacks and other non-Muslims is expressly accepted and encouraged in the Koran. Though the mad fascist Muslim founder Mohammed, states that freeing slaves gains merit, he certainly never made any prohibitions against acquiring slaves. In fact Mohammed encouraged by his own actions and various 'revelations' extensive slave-owning. Sura 33, verse 50 states for example: "Prophet, we have made lawful for you.... the slave-girls whom God has given you as booty."”

Racism is embedded in Koranic law with Blacks ranking just above Jews and slave girls in the Islamic hierarchy of power. Blacks were never considered as 'God's equals', though Lewis tries to convince the reader, rather improbably, that the Koran mandates social equality and justice. It doesn't. It is hierarchical [see here]:

Iranian journalist Amir Taheri, who is a powerful critic of his own country and also his own 'faith' was asked if Islam was compatible with democracy [in reference to Bush's Iraq policy]. Taheri stated the obvious: 'the non-believer cannot be the equal of the believer....Here is the hierarchy of human worth in male Muslims...Muslim male Muslim women....Muslim slave women...Jewish and Christian men....then Jewish and Christian slave men....Jewish and/or Christian slave women.' The Christian ideal of equality, which is the basis of modern society, does not exist in Islam. Islam was, and has always been a totalitarian system of apartheid.”

Lewis tries his best to convince you of the opposite [p. 22], even as his outlines Arabic literature which denigrates Blacks as sub-humans, providing an obvious raison d'etre, to enslave such beasts: “To the present day, in North Africa, a man with Negroid features, even of the highest social status, is sometimes described as ould khadem, 'the son of a slave woman.' [p. 90] Lewis quotes on Arab poet who depicts the Zanj or Black slaves as follows: “We know that the Zanj are the least intelligent and the least discerning of mankind....they are the worst of men and the most vicious creatures...their boundless stupidity, their obtuseness...” [p. 32]

But no racism within Islam apparently. We know that racism was endemic given the literary sources of the period; the horrific conditions; the 90% death rate due to castration to produce eunuchs who guarded the mosques and harems; and the obvious fact that no extant civilization from either Blacks or Whites is maintained anywhere in the Islamic world. Since the Koran forbids sex between slave males and Muslim women, and since the progeny of female slaves are also slaves; one must assume that most slaves were destroyed.

Lewis accepts the huge death rates for slaves and attributes the low natural increase of the slave population, to castration; military service and death; the inability to mix races; and high death tolls from over-work and poor nutrition [p. 10]. These facts put a lie to the myth that Islam was a multi-cultural, inter-faith nirvana. Slavery, as Lewis states, was only abolished in much of the Muslim world due to Western military and economic pressure. It is very difficult if not impossible for many Muslims to accept slavery's demise since Islamic doctrine supports and encourages slavery [p. 78].

Another problem I have with this book is his comment -often made by academics who never supply proof -- that the Persian-Arab historian Ibn Khaldun was the greatest medieval mind and historian [p. 47]. Khaldun [1332-1406] was a Muslim bureaucrat who wrote an Islam-centric 'history of the world' which is largely divorced from fact, actuality and accuracy. Lewis' bizarre claim is thus deeply false and annoying. Khaldun simply pales and disappears into the dark shadows of irrelevancy when compared to the geniuses Europe was producing during the poorly-named Middle Ages. Figures such as Dante, Giotto, Chaucer, Abelard, along with a host of other European geniuses make Lewis' statement that Khaldun was a figure of fantastic importance, a complete mockery. Khaldun did little original work and did not invent anything that Thucydides some 2000 years earlier had not originated. Khaldun was also a racist and a typical Muslim in this regard:

“The only people who accept slavery are the Negroes, owing to their low degree of humanity and their proximity to the animal stage.” [p. 102] [see here]

Lewis is probably unaware of such sentiments or chose to ignore them.

In any event, there are better books about the Arab and Muslim enslavement of some 20 million Blacks and Whites, over 1400 years. The profit motive, ideology, power, and the spread of the Moon cult to satisfy Allah's demands that Islam must conquer the world, are what drove and drives Islamic racism and slavery. The enslavement of humans thus goes to the very heart of the diseased ideology. It is a fact that Lewis does not spend enough time on, or energy in denouncing.


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