The Jihad, the Islamic so-called Holy War, has been a fact of life in Europe, Asia, Africa and the Near and Middle East for more than 1300 years, but this is the first history of the Muslim wars in Europe ever to be published. Hundreds of books, however, have appeared on its Christian counterpart, the Crusades, to which the Jihad is often compared, although they lasted less than two hundred years and unlike the Jihad, which is universal, were largely but not completely confined to the Holy Land. Moreover, the Crusades have been over for more than 700 years, while a Jihad is still going on in the world. The Jihad has been the most unrecorded and disregarded major event of history. It has, in fact, been largely ignored. For instance, the Encyclopaedia Britannica gives the Crusades eighty times more space than the Jihad.
The above quote is from Paul Fregosis book Jihad in the West from 1998. Mr. Fregosi found that his book about the history of Islamic Holy War in Europe from the 7th to the 20th centuries was difficult to get published in the mid-1990s, when publishers had the Salman Rushdie case in fresh memory.
A few years later, perhaps the most comprehensive and scholarly book on the subject to date, The Legacy of Jihad, was published by Andrew G. Bostom. He has written about what he calls Americas First War on Terror. Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, then serving as American ambassadors to France and Britain, respectively, met in 1786 in London with the Tripolitan Ambassador to Britain, Sidi Haji Abdul Rahman Adja. These future American presidents were attempting to negotiate a peace treaty which would spare the United States the ravages of Jihad piracy murder and enslavement emanating from the so-called Barbary States of North Africa, corresponding to modern Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, and Libya.
Bostom notes that an aggressive jihad was already being waged against the United States almost 200 years prior to America becoming a dominant international power in the Middle East. Israel has nothing to do with it. The Barbary Jihad piracy had been going on since the earliest Arab-Islamic expansion in the 7th and 8th centuries. Francisco Gabrieli states that:
According to present-day concepts of international relations, such activities amounted to piracy, but they correspond perfectly to jihad, an Islamic religious duty. The conquest of Crete, in the east, and a good portion of the corsair warfare along the Provencal and Italian coasts, in the West, are among the most conspicuous instances of such private initiative which contributed to Arab domination in the Mediterranean.
A proto-typical Muslim naval razzia occurred in 846 when a fleet of Arab Jihadists arrived at the mouth of the Tiber, made their way to Rome, sacked the city, and carried away from the basilica of St. Peter all of the gold and silver it contained. The creation of the Vatican as a walled city within a city was in response to the recurrent threat of Islamic Jihad raids.
Bostom notes that By June/July 1815 the ably commanded U.S. naval forces had dealt their Barbary jihadist adversaries a quick series of crushing defeats. This success ignited the imagination of the Old World powers to rise up against the Barbary pirates.
Yet some Arabs seem to miss the good old days when they could extract jizya payments from the West. Libyan terrorist-sponsoring leader Muammar Gaddafi has stated that he thinks that European nations should pay 10 billion euros ($12.7 billion dollars) a year to Africa to help it stop migrants seeking a better life flooding northwards into Europe. He added without elaborating: Earth belongs to everybody. Why they (young Africans) emigrated to Europe this should be answered by Europeans. Apart from being a clear-cut example of how migration, or rather population dumping, has become a tool for blackmail in the 21st century, this is a throwback to the age when Tripoli could extract payments from Europe.
Robert Davis, professor of history at Ohio State University, developed new methodical enumeration in his book Christian Slaves, Muslim Masters which indicates that perhaps one and one-quarter million white European Christians were enslaved by Barbary Muslims just from 1530 through 1780 a far greater number than had been estimated before:
Enslavement was a very real possibility for anyone who traveled in the Mediterranean, or who lived along the shores in places like Italy, France, Spain and Portugal, and even as far north as England and Iceland. Much of what has been written gives the impression that there were not many slaves and minimizes the impact that slavery had on Europe, Davis said. Most accounts only look at slavery in one place, or only for a short period of time. But when you take a broader, longer view, the massive scope of this slavery and its powerful impact become clear.
Corsairs from cities in North Africa Tunis, Algiers etc. would raid ships in the Mediterranean and Atlantic, as well as seaside villages to capture men, women and children. The impact was devastating France, England, and Spain each lost thousands of ships, and long stretches of the Spanish and Italian coasts were almost completely abandoned by their inhabitants.
At its peak, the destruction and depopulation of some areas probably exceeded what European slavers would later inflict on the African interior. The lives of European slaves were often no better than the victims of the transatlantic slave trade, which tapped into the pre-established Islamic slave-trade in Africa. As far as daily living conditions, the Mediterranean slaves certainly didnt have it better, Davis says. While African slaves did grueling labor on sugar and cotton plantations in the Americas, European slaves were often worked just as hard and as lethally in quarries, in heavy construction, and above all rowing the corsair galleys.
Throughout most of the seventeenth century, the English alone lost at least 400 sailors a year to the slavers. One American slave reported that 130 American seamen had been enslaved by the Algerians in the Mediterranean and Atlantic just between 1785 and 1793 (which prompted the later military response from the Americans). In his book White Gold, Giles Milton describes how regular Jihad razzias in Europe extended as far north as Iceland. Even during the time of Queen Elizabeth I, while William Shakespeare was writing his plays and poems, young Englishmen risked being surprised by a fleet of Muslim pirates showing up at their village, or being kidnapped while fishing at sea:
By the end of the dreadful summer of 1625, the mayor of Plymouth reckoned that 1,000 skiffs had been destroyed, and a similar number of villagers carried off into slavery. Such events took place across much of Europe, also in Wales and southern Ireland: In 1631 200 Islamic soldiers sailed to the village of Baltimore, storming ashore with swords drawn and catching the villagers totally by surprise. (They) carried off 237 men, women, and children and took them to Algiers The French padre Pierre Dan was in the city (Algiers) at the time He witnessed the sale of the captives in the slave auction. It was a pitiful sight to see them exposed in the market Women were separated from their husbands and the children from their fathers on one side a husband was sold; on the other his wife; and her daughter was torn from her arms without the hope that theyd ever see each other again.
The Englishman Thomas Pellow was enslaved in Morocco for twenty-three years after being captured by Barbary pirates as a cabin boy on a small English vessel in 1716. He was tortured until he accepted Islam. For weeks he was beaten and starved, and finally gave in after his torturer resorted to burning my flesh off my bones by fire, which the tyrant did, by frequent repetitions, after a most cruel manner.
Gods Crucible: Islam and the Making of Europe, 570-1215 was written by David Levering Lewis, the American historian and two-time winner of the prestigious Pulitzer Prize. He states that Muslims did not enslave their co-religionists, only infidels. Yes, but why is that better?
As Robert Spencer writes in his book Religion of Peace?: The Quran says that the followers of Muhammad are ruthless to the unbelievers but merciful to one another (48:29), and that the unbelievers are the worst of created beings (98:6). One may exercise the Golden Rule in relation to a fellow Muslim, but according to the laws of Islam, the same courtesy is not to be extended to unbelievers. That is one principal reason why the primary source of slaves in the Islamic world has been non-Muslims, whether Jews, Christians, Hindus, or pagans. Most slaves were non-Muslims who had been captured during jihad warfare.
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