Ensconced on the wall of the Supreme Court is a freize of the supposed “great lawgivers” of the Middle Ages.
Under the prevailing left wing mores, one of the images simply must be removed- the image of Muhammed.
Muhammed was a slave owner.
A poignant paradox of Islamic slavery is that the humanity of the various rules and customs that led to the freeing of slaves created a demand for new slaves that could only be supplied by war, forcing people into slavery or trading slaves.
Muslim slavery continued for centuries
The legality of slavery in Islam, together with the example of the Prophet Muhammad, who himself bought, sold, captured, and owned slaves, may explain why slavery persisted until the 19th century in many places (and later still in some countries). The impetus for the abolition of slavery came largely from colonial powers, although some Muslim thinkers argued strongly for abolition.
Slaves came from many places
Unlike the Atlantic slave traders, Muslims enslaved people from many cultures as well as Africa. Other sources included the Balkans, Central Asia and Mediterranean Europe.
Slaves could be assimilated into Muslim society
Muhammad’s teaching that slaves were to be regarded as human beings with dignity and rights and not just as property, and that freeing slaves was a virtuous thing to do, may have helped to create a culture in which slaves became much more assimilated into the community than they were in the West.
Muslim slaves could achieve status
Slaves in the Islamic world were not always at the bottom of the social hierarchy. Slaves in Muslim societies had a greater range of work, and took on a wider range of responsibilities, than those enslaved in the Atlantic trade.
Some slaves earned respectable incomes and achieved considerable power, although even such elite slaves still remained in the power of their owners.
The Qur’an, like the Old and the New Testaments, assumes the existence of slavery. It regulates the practice of the institution and thus implicitly accepts it. The Prophet Muhammad and those of his Companions who could afford it themselves owned slaves; some of them acquired more by conquest. But Qur’anic legislation, subsequently confirmed and elaborated in the Holy Law, brought two major changes to ancient slavery which were to have far-reaching effects. One of these was the presumption of freedom; the other, the ban on the enslavement of free persons except in strictly defined circumstances .
Muhammed is also said to have owned sex slaves.
Muhammad, using the Koranic “revelation” as justification, insisted that he was entitled to not only his own wives, but those captured in battle (and cousins as well), per Allah’s allowance in Koran 33:50 (4 additional translations here)
O Prophet (Muhammad)! Verily, We have made lawful to you your wives, to whom you have paid their Mahr (bridal money given by the husband to his wife at the time of marriage), and those (captives or slaves) whom your right hand possesses – whom Allah has given to you, and the daughters of your ‘Amm (paternal uncles) and the daughters of your ‘Ammah (paternal aunts) and the daughters of your Khal (maternal uncles) and the daughters of your Khalah (maternal aunts) who migrated (from Makkah) with you, and a believing woman if she offers herself to the Prophet, and the Prophet wishes to marry her; a privilege for you only, not for the (rest of) the believers. Indeed We know what We have enjoined upon them about their wives and the Prophet wishes to marry her; a privilege for you only, not for the (rest of) the believers. Indeed We know what We have enjoined upon them about their wives and those (captives or slaves) whom their right hands possess, – in order that there should be no difficulty on you. And Allah is Ever Oft Forgiving, Most Merciful.
The “privilege” of having sexual intercourse with captured slave women is extended to all Muslim men in Koran 4:24 “those (captives and slaves) whom your right hands possess. Thus has Allah ordained for you.”
Slavery is still practiced in Africa by Muslims
This from Salon:
Although slavery seems like an institution from a barbaric and uncivilized past, it survives today in both Sudan and Mauritania. The horrific details of the Atlantic slave trade — the ruthless slave traders who pillaged Africa, the millions of Africans who died on treacherous sea journeys to America, the resulting “peculiar institution” of cheap, brutalized labor that spawned the Civil War — weigh heavily on the American conscience. Another slave trade, however, the Islamic one, remains a mysterious aspect in the history of the black diaspora. Fourteen centuries old, this version of slavery spread throughout Africa, the Middle East, Europe, India and China. It is the legacy of this trade that continues to ravage Sudan and Mauritania today.
If we are logically extend the righteousness of this anti-slavery movement, then all images and statuary of Muhammed should be removed because they are offensive. We are then left with the decision of what to do with a religion that still practices and regulates slavery as an institution.
Perhaps Keith Ellison can offer us some direction- after he answers a few questions.
Where are the social justice warriors now?
The Washington Post say there are nearly 30 million slaves in the world today. Here’s a handy map for you to enjoy:
Do note where there is no slavery at all