The same can be said of Christendom’s Holy Crusades, having been first influenced by the Islamic concept of Holy War, in other words, Jihad…
As usual, it was only natural for those near and in constant contact with Islam to be infected by the same vice of dehumanizing—and thus taking advantage of—the “other.” After all, the few instances of Christians in Europe buying and selling slaves are largely limited to the long war with Islam. Malta’s Knights of Saint John, for instance, responded to Islamic slave raids by enslaving the raiders and other Muslims. Similarly, those Europeans who first became involved in the African slave trade, the Spanish and Portuguese, also just so happened to be the ones who for centuries lived side by side with—often in violence and themselves enslaved to—Muslims (those of al-Andalus).
Exposed: Islam’s Role in the Transatlantic Slave Trade
Even in this “exclusively” European enterprise, the hidden hand of Islam lurks in the background.
Islam’s history with the West has been one of unwavering antagonism and seismic clashes, often initiated by the former. By the standards of history, nothing between the two civilizations is as well documented as this long war. Accordingly, for more than a millennium, both educated and not so educated Europeans knew—the latter perhaps instinctively—that Islam was a militant creed that for centuries attacked and committed atrocities in their homelands, all in the name of “holy war,” or jihad.
These facts have been radically “updated” in recent times. According to the dominant narrative—as upheld by mainstream media and Hollywood, pundits and politicians, academics and “experts” of all stripes—Islam was historically progressive and peaceful, whereas premodern Europe was fanatical and predatory.
Whatever else can be said about such topsy-turvy claims—and there is much—they beg the question: if such a formerly well-known, well-documented and atrocity-laden history could be revised in a manner that presents its antithesis as the truth—with little objection or challenge—what then of Islam’s more subtle but also negative influences on history, the sort that, unlike the aforementioned centuries of violence vis-à-vis Europe, are not copiously documented or readily obvious but require serious historical investigation?
Take Islam’s role in facilitating the transatlantic slave trade—which otherwise is almost always presented as an exclusively European enterprise.
Slavery is, of course, as old as humanity. Centuries before the coming of Islam, Europeans—Athenians, Spartans, Romans—were fully engaged in the slave trade. With the coming of Christianity, and as it spread all throughout the Roman and post-Roman empire (circa. fourth-seventh centuries), the institution of slavery was on its way to becoming extinct.
Then Islam came. While hardly the first to exploit human flesh, it was the best at perfecting and thriving on it in the post classical, medieval, premodern, and even modern eras—with untold millions of non-Muslims enslaved throughout the centuries (one source indicates that 15 million Europeans were alone enslaved).