Skip to comments.Britain's 200-year jihad
Posted on 09/01/2008 11:57:20 AM PDT by PRePublic
|Britain's 200-year jihad
On my travels for the past few days, I have been reading a book which tells the story of a quite astonishing part of British history of which I was previously unaware. In 'White Gold', Giles Milton records the appalling details -- gleaned,it appears, from a wealth of historical documents including diaries and letters -- of a seaborne Islamic jihad against Britain which lasted for no less than two centuries.
From the early seventeenth to nineteenth centuries, thousands of British men women and children were kidnapped by Arab corsairs and sold into slavery in Morocco where they were kept in conditions of unspeakable barbarism. The astounding thing is that these British victims were not merely seized at sea where they ran the gauntlet of such pirates in places such as the Straits of Gibraltar. They were actually abducted from Britain itself.
Corsairs from a place in Morocco called Sale -- who became known in Britain as the Sally Rovers -- sailed up the Cornish coast in July 1625, for example, came ashore dressed in djellabas and wielding damascene scimitars, burst into the parish church at Mounts Bay and dragged out 60 men women and children whom they shipped off to Morocco. Thousands more Britons were seized from their villages or their ships and dispatched to the hell-holes of the Moroccan slave pens, from where they were forced to work all hours in appalling conditions building the vast palace of the monstrous and psychopathic Sultan, Moulay Ismail, who tortured and butchered them at whim. Most of them perished, but the book records the survival of a tenacious Cornish boy Thomas Pellow, who survived 23 years of this ordeal and whose descendant, Lord Exmouth, finally ended the white slave trade when he destroyed Algiers in 1816.
The book makes clear that this assault upon the British people (and upon Europeans and Americans who were similarly seized) was a jihad. The Sally Rovers, writes Milton, were called al-ghuzat-- the term once used for the soldiers who fought with the Prophet -- and were hailed as religious warriors engaged in a holy war against the infidel Christians who were pressurised to convert to Islam under threat of hideous punishment. What is even more striking was the response of the British crown. For almost two centuries, it made only the most ineffectual attempts to rescue its enslaved subjects. Those who had succumbed to the torture and inhumanity of the Sultan and converted to Islam were deemed to be no longer British and therefore outside the scope of any rescue. The pleas of Pellows parents were simply brushed aside. Popular outrage forced successive Kings to dispatch a series of feeble emissaries to try to get the Sultan to end this vile traffic and release the slaves, all to no avail.
But this went on for virtually two centuries. For almost 200 years the British state either sat on its hands or wrung them impotently while the Islamic jihad seized, enslaved and butchered its people. And then it appears, this staggering onslaught was all but airbrushed out of our history.
Food for disquieting thought.
As I recall, the U.S. Marines had something to do with putting an end to this sort of thing as well (on the “shores of Tripoli”).
I would suggest you read Six Frigates. It’s about the founding of the U.S. Navy which was largely because of the predation of the Barbary Pirates. After some stumbling they kicked Jihadi Joes potomus. First by themselves in 1805 and then with the British in 1816. The campaigns are where the U.S. Marines got their “to the shores of Tripoli” line in their anthem.
thanks so much for such an interesting tip for history’s sake.
If i am not mistaken about that little kid at the bottom of the last image... must be a child to convert to Islam who saw the “light”... of Satanic Jihadism.
The Barbary Coast ran 1,500 miles from the African side of the Straits of Gibraltar to the Gulf of Sirte in Libya. The rulers of Algiers, Tunis, and Tripoli nominally paid allegiance to the Ottoman sultan, but they were practically independent. Safe in their well-fortified port cities, with fundamentalist Islam as their guide and pretext, they sallied out into the sea and kidnapped Christians from Italy, Malta, Sicily, Sardinia, and Corsica, as well as anyone they could take from any ship they could catch in the Mediterranean, including northern Europeans and Americans.
At one time, Algiers alone held as many as 25,000 white Christians as slaves. Wealthy captives usually could be ransomed. Others were enslaved, or held in chains, or tortured till they converted to Islam. Women who could not raise a ransom sometimes were raped and usually were married off to locals or sent to harems as concubines, after being fattened up.
The British Navy was incensed. In part, this was personal -- seamen were frequent victims of the corsairs. But in part it was awareness of the role a superpower ought to play in the world. The British military men knew they had the ability to destroy these impudent slave-states, but their government lacked the will.
Who held power in this government? Liberal evangelicals -- the two words were as firmly linked in that time and place as "conservative" and "fundamentalist" are in this. The mix of liberalism and Christianity was a potent force that accomplished much good in the world. Gertrude Himmelfarb's "Roads to Modernity" is an indispensible book that tells this story.
But the liberal evangelicals exhibited an early example -- perhaps the earliest I've seen -- of a quality that has weakened their successors on so many occasions: I call it the altruistic double standard.
Though William Wilberforce and the other liberal evangelical MPs campaigned ceaselessly to abolish the slave trade, they meant by that only the enslavement of blacks by whites. They exhibited a sort of inverted Darwinism -- doubly perverse -- and took no interest in Christian slavery that had for its targets people most like themselves.
Some British citizens pleaded with the government to stamp out the Barbary Coast pirates. Admiral Nelson wrote in 1799: "My blood boils that I cannot chastise these pirates. They could not show themselves in the Mediterranean did not our country permit. Never let us talk about the cruelty of the African slave-trade while we permit such a horrid war." But the government took no interest.
That's where the Americans came in. The young country was not yet powerful enough to tackle the problem on its own, but its aggressive approach aroused the British government by shame and example. America consistently refused to ransome captives with money and munitions, as the Europeans often did. This is the source of Jefferson's oft-quoted line, "Millions for defense, not one cent for tribute." After 1803, Washington and the Barbary states were at war, in effect. U.S. forces usually won the direct battles and forced the Muslim rulers to sign treaties which they promptly broke as soon as the American ships sailed out of sight.
In 1815, after making peace with Britain, America began sending expeditions to the Barbary Coast again, forcing the rulers to hand over American slaves (and Europeans sometimes) and pay fines.
The British finally were roused to action. On an August afternoon in 1816, the British Navy broke the power of Algiers, sank almost its entire fleet, killed up to 8,000 soldiers and civilians, and damaged or destroyed every building in the city. The punishment didn't entirely end the depredations, however. Only the French invasion and colonization of Algeria a generation later did that.
From the 16th to the 19th centuries, Moslem corsairs from the Barbary Coast ravaged European shipping and enslaved thousands of unlucky captives...
The muslims didn’t merely raid England. They even raided Iceland. And while the muslim threat ended for Britain in the 1800s, non-muslims in the middle east were enslaved well into modern times. Saudi Arabia only banned slavery after a massive western pressure in 1962. But they still practice it:
And so do other muslim shitholes like Sudan and Mauretania. -Even Pakistan as seen with the recent kidnapping of Christian girls.
“America consistently refused to ransome captives with money and munitions, as the Europeans often did.”
No they didn’t, they paid tribute and ransoms like everybody else from 1784 to 1801. Up until that point, up to 20%-30% of the federal budget was consumed by tribute to the barbary states.
As for the Europeans, frankly, it suited many of them (particularly the British) to leave them as they were to maintain the balance of naval power and force their enemies (i.e. the French) to maintain as many ships in the mediterranian as possible. Once the Napoleonic wars were over, those interests changed and it suited British interests more to crush the barbaries than to leave them in place...
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