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Facts About the Jews and Slavery

Reader comment on item: Farrakhan Demands Reparations from Jews

Submitted by Sigmund (United States), Jul 13, 2010 at 12:11

As a continuation of my prior comment, let me mention some good books:Jews and the American Slave Trade by Saul Friedman , (Transaction Publishers) and Jews, Slaves, and the Slave Trade: Setting the Record Straight...by Eli Faber, (NYU Press). These are both very well researched and thorough referenced.

The basic fact is that there were very few Jews involved in the slave trade and there were very few black slaves owned by Jews. But there were some and, personally, as a Jew myself, I am ashamed that there were any. But certainly the Jewish involvement is nothing in comparison to that of the Muslims.

A good book that lays out a lot of facts about Islam and slavery is Slavery, Terrorism and Islam: The Historical Roots and Contemporary Threat by Peter Hammond. It is a bit anti-islamic but it ties a lot of things together and also put the American slave involvement in a world perspective. Of course, slavery existed prior to Islam. It is accepted as a cultural fact in the Old Testament. But Jewish treatment of slaves in the Old Testament was quite benign compared to that of other cultures of the time. I do not think there is anything uniquely bad about Islam because of its involvement with slavery. The intertwining of Islam and slavery is more of a matter of the interplay of historical forces. Unfortunately there is a lot of slavery today in the world and a good bit of it, but definitely not all, is in Islamic countries. That is not, in my view, due to the Islamic religion per say but it is a fact.

I respect Islam as a religion. But it amazes me that some Muslims overlook their own religion's heavy involvement with slavery and try to magnify the miniscule Jewish involvement. One probably could make some quantitative calculations in this case. Jews could raise about 10 million dollars (for example) to "pay" for slavery (not that one really can pay for such a thing). In proportion, the Muslims would need to hand over about 1 trillion.

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