Sometimes one can capture the essence of a period in time by comparing two events. Two such events which occurred this month capture where we are today.
Early in the month an over the top Brit conservative activist/writer, Milo Yiannopoulos, was set to speak at the UC Berkeley when an anti-free speech masked mob prevented that from happening. The anti-free speech mob proceeded to riot, smash and set fire to the campus, causing more than $100,000 damage . Security had to evacuate Yiannopoulos.
As you well know these Berkeley riots grabbed national and international headlines. A Newsweekpiece by Robert Reich, the chancellor’s professor of public policy at Berkeley and a former Clinton Administration official, claimed that “Yiannopoulos and Brietbart were in cahoots with Trump Admin as they were laying the groundwork for a crackdown on universities across the nation”. Reich’s conspiracy theory suggests that Yiannopoulos et al arranged for 150 masked fanatics to trash the campus and then remain silent about what they did . So at UC Berkeley we find a tenured academic and well known Democrat making an implausible ( an un-evidenced) argument that his political opponents actually arranged violence against themselves, and this was done in the aftermath of a speech that never happened.
Now contrast that to a speech given at Georgetown U a week or so later by a resident academic and teacher.
One Jonathan A.C. Brown, director of the Alwaleed bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown, spoke for 90-minutes on “Islam and the Problem of Slavery” ( was on u tube – could still be ) . A white convert to Islam, Brown didn’t think there is/was a particular problem with slavery — at least not when it occurs within Islam. While he rightly condemned the slavery that took place historically in the West ( fed by Muslim Slave Traders I would add) , he praised it in Muslim societies. Brown argued that Muslim slaves lived “a pretty good life”, and claimed that they were protected by “sharia” and that it is “not immoral for one human to own another human.” He was talking about out right ownership of slaves , a long time feature of Islam, and not dhimnitude , the other dirty little secret where infidels ( Jews and Christians) we given the choice of conversion, dhimmitude or death. If the captive was productive, he could live as a dhimmi , a type of slavery where half of all they produced went to the the local cleric. Did the dhimmis have pretty good lives too?
On whether it’s right or wrong to have sex with one of your slaves, Brown made it clear that “consent isn’t necessary for lawful sex in Islam” and as an aside he offered that marital rape is not a legitimate concept within Islam. Wives ( slaves?) are available 24/7 . In Brown’s view concepts such as “individualism” and “consent” are Western “obsessions” .
As one of those obsessives allow me to inform that a substantial part of the Sharia Law is dedicated to the slavery. Muslims are encouraged to live in the way of Muhammad, who was a slave owner and trader. He captured slaves in battle; he had sex with his slaves; and he instructed his men to do the same.
In Islamic history slaves were found in various social and economic roles, from powerful Emirs to harshly treated workers. Early on they were used in plantation labor similar to that of the America , but that was abandoned after harsh treatment led to destructive slave revolts, the most notable being the Zanj Rebellion of black slaves against the Abbassid Caliphate – 9th Century in what is Iraq today .Slaves were widely employed in irrigation, mining, herding, but most were used as soldiers, guards and domestic workers.
Because internal growth of the slave and dhimmi population was not enough to fulfill the demand in Muslim society, massive numbers of non-Muslim slaves were imported which resulted in enormous suffering and loss of life across the world. The Arab Muslim slave trade was most active in West Asia, North Africa and SE Africa where 10-20 million people were caught and sold as slaves from 650 to 1900. In the early 20th century (post World War I), slavery was gradually outlawed or suppressed in most Muslim lands, largely due to pressure exerted by Western nations. Saudi Arabia and Yemen abolished slavery in 1962 under pressure from Britain; Oman did so 1970, and Mauritania in 2007. However, ongoing slavery , claiming the sanction of Islam, is documented at present in the Muslim majority countries of Chad, Mauritania, Niger, Mali, and Sudan.
Please understand that Brown’s views on Islam are by no means unusual. In fact they are still “doctrinal” among Islamic jurisprudence experts . Where and when you can own a slave , and what you can do with them are seemingly contemporary matters in Brown’s view , not something set aside from centuries past. Did you notice that as ISIS formed its caliphate it instituted slavery for captured women, most of whom are sex slaves? Perhaps Brown was endorsing ISIS ‘s use of female slaves.
Alas — there have been no protests at Georgetown University . No anti-sharia mob has gone to Georgetown, torn up telephone poles, set things on fire or smashed up the campus as was done at Berkeley
The proximity of these two events in time , and the vast difference between the outrage and violence against one and the virtual silence and complicity with the other, tells us much about the state of free speech and the state of halls’ of academia in America today. Please don’t be silent!
by Dick Roberts.