to understanding the Muslim world and its people. Their yesterdays are closely bound up with the here and now. A good grasp of geography will be helpful as well.
Slavery in Early Islamic History
It was intriguing to note in Bernard Lewis’ book, The Arabs in History, that paper was made first in China in the year 105 B.C. In A.D. 751, the Arabs defeated a Chinese contingent east of the ‘Jaxartes’. (Jaxartes is a river that lies on the border between China and present-day Afghanistan. Persian King Cyrus was killed fighting near this river, about 500 B.C.) The Arabs found some Chinese paper makers among their prisoners. Many such skills were brought into the Islamic world in this way. The use of paper spread rapidly across the Islamic world, reaching Egypt by A.D. 800 and Spain by the year 900. From the tenth century onwards, evidence is clear of paper-making occurring in countries of the Middle East and North Africa, as well as in the European country of Spain.
The Arabs profited from the craft of the paper makers they had captured as slaves. From archaeologists and records kept in ancient times, we learn that slave trade existed for a long time in the Arab world. Back in the days of the caliphs [early Muslim leaders], having a slave for a mother was not a stigma for a Muslim man. Due to polygamy, this was quite common.
At first the caliphs maintained a kind of aristocracy among themselves, making it imperative that the mother of a caliph was from one of the Arab tribes. However, as more and more slaves adopted the religion of Islam, noble birth and tribal prestige lost their value. By the year 817, the Abbasid Caliphs and succeeding Muslim rulers often were the sons of slave women, many of whom were foreign. Such parentage ceased to be either an obstacle or a stigma.
Growth of the Slave Trade
Quite possibly, the maintenance of slavery and the social acceptance of slaves were important drawing cards for Islam as it penetrated Africa. Without a knowledge of history, many Africans may be unaware of the fact that Islamic traders carried on a steady slave trade from East African ports for many centuries. Records are available which contain the lists of goods involved in trade with the rest of the world.
Muslim merchants traveled to India, Ceylon, the East Indies, and China, over sea and land, bringing back silks, spices, aromatics, woods, tin, and many other items. Records mention ‘slave girls’ from the Byzantine Empire along with gold and silver, marble workers, and eunuchs. Surprisingly, Muslim traders went as far away as Scandinavia, and especially Sweden, where scores of Muslim coins have been found with inscriptions from the seventh and eleventh centuries. On the long lists of goods which Muslim traders imported from Scandinavia, are found ‘Slavonic slaves, sheep, and cattle’ (cited by Lewis in The Arabs in History). An early ninth century geographer, Ibn Kurradadhbeh, describes Jewish merchants from the south of France ‘who speak Arabic, Persian, Greek, Frankish, Spanish, and Slavonic. They travel from west to east and east to west, by land and sea. From the west they bring eunuchs, slave girls and boys, brocade, beaver skins, sable and other furs, and swords’.
Though some slaves attained an honored class, doing either domestic work or military service, they were exceptions. ‘Generally, slaves were employed for manual labor on a number of large scale enterprises, in mines, in the fleets, in the drainage of marshes, etc.. They were herded together in settlements, often thousands belonging to a single landowner. Slaves of this kind were mainly black, obtained more especially from East Africa by capture, purchase, or in the form of tribute from vassal states. Such were the slaves in the salt flats east of Basra, where unprecedented numbers were employed by the wealthy men of that city in draining the salt marshes in order to prepare the ground for agriculture and to extract the salt for sale. They worked in gangs from five hundred to five thousand. Their conditions were extremely bad. Their labor was hard and exacting, and they received only a bare and inadequate keep consisting, according to the Arabic sources, of flour, semolina and dates. Many knew little or no Arabic. Eventually a leader arose among them and led a great uprising which aimed, not at ending slavery, but at securing better living conditions.
A Recent Study
Another book by Bernard Lewis entitled Race and Slavery in the Middle East: An Historical Enquiry, published in 1990 by Oxford University Press, features color plate illustrations dating back to 1237 and the 1500′s with 80 pages of notes to back up its contents. These intriguing paintings were discovered in famous libraries in London, Paris, and Istanbul. They depict the variety of slaves and their livelihoods.
In his book, Lewis describes how the Muslim world reacted when cries for abolition of slavery resounded around the world in the 19th century
‘The revulsion against slavery, which gave rise to a strong abolitionist movement in England, and later in other Western countries, began to affect the Islamic lands. What was involved was not, initially, the abolition of the institution of slavery but its alleviation, and in particular, the restriction and ultimately the elimination of the slave trade. Islamic law, in contrast to the ancient and colonial systems, accords the slave a certain legal status and assigns obligations as well as rights to the slave owner.
The manumission of slaves, though recommended as a meritorious act, is not required, and the institution of slavery not only is recognized but is elaborately regulated by Sharia law. Perhaps for this very reason the position of the domestic slave in Muslim society was in most respects better than in either classical antiquity or the nineteenth-century Americas. While, however, the life of the slave in Muslim society was no worse, and in some ways was better, than that of the free poor, the processes of acquisition and transportation often imposed appalling hardships. It was these which drew the main attention of European opponents of slavery, and it was to the elimination of this traffic, particularly in Africa, that their main efforts were directed.
The abolition of slavery itself would hardly have been possible. From a Muslim point of view, to forbid what God permits is almost as great an offense as to permit what God forbids — and slavery was authorized and regulated by the holy law. More specifically, it formed part of the law of personal status, the central core of social usage, which remained intact and effective even when other sections of the holy law, dealing with civil, criminal, and similar matters, were tactically or even openly modified and replaced by modern codes. It was from conservative religious quarters and notably from the holy cities of Mecca and Medina that the strongest resistance to the proposed reform came.
The emergence of the holy men and the holy places as the last ditch defenders of slavery against reform is only an apparent paradox. They were upholding an institution sanctified by scripture, law, and tradition and one which in their eyes was necessary to the maintenance of the social structure of Muslim life’.
Slaves of all colors and creeds – in accordance with Sharia
Further on, Lewis mentions how the overwhelming majority of white slaves came from the Caucasian lands. This was in the days of the Ottoman empire and it was not until 1854 that orders against the traffic in white slaves from Georgia and Circassia were issued and put into effect.
Arabia was another major center for the slave trade. The flow of slaves from Africa into Arabia and through the Gulf into Iran continued for a long time. The extension of British, French, and Italian control around the Horn of Africa (the area of Somalia and Kenya today) deprived the slave traders of their main ports of embarkation.
As far as Islam was concerned, the horrors of the abduction and transportation of slaves were the worst part. But once the slaves were settled in Islamic culture they had genuine opportunities to realize their potential. Many of them became merchants in Mecca, Jedda, and elsewhere.
A Puzzling Question
A puzzling question comes to mind, however. If this is so, why does the Arab world have no corresponding Black population as is found in the New World? Lewis provides an answer, ‘One reason is obviously the high population of eunuchs among Black males entering the Islamic lands. Another is the high death rate and low birth rate among Black slaves in North Africa and the Middle East. In about 1810, Louis Frank observed in Tunisia that most Black children died in infancy and that infinitesimally few reached the age of manhood. A British observer in Egypt, some thirty years later, found conditions even worse. He said, ‘I have heard it estimated that five or six years are sufficient to carry off a generation of slaves, at the end of which time the whole has to be replenished’.
The Abolition of Slavery
The institution of slavery regretably existed both in the old, classical Christian and Islamic civilizations. Yet it is to the credit of Christianity that the abolition movement took root in Great Britain, Western Europe, and the United States and brought an end to this buying and selling of human beings.
The way in which slavery was practiced in Islamic countries had both bright and dark sides. What is regretable now is that this practice among Muslims is seldom openly discussed — as if slavery was exclusively a Western phenomenon. This deliberate silence enables Islamic propagandists in America to represent Muslims as liberators of the people of African origin, contrary to historical fact.…
I want to thank the organizers of this conference, The Perils of Global Intolerance.
It is a great honor for me and it is a privilege really to be among today’s distinguished speakers.
I came here as a friend of the State of Israel and the Jewish people. I came to protest this Durban conference which is based on a set of lies. It is organized by nations who are themselves are guilty of the worst kinds of oppression.
It will not help the victims of racism. It will only isolate and target the Jewish state. It is a tool of the enemies of Israel. The UN has itself become a tool against Israel. For over 50 years, 82% of the UN General Assembly emergency meetings have been about condemning one state, Israel and Hitler couldn’t have been made happier.
The Durban Conference is an outrage. All decent people will know that.
But friends, I come here today with a radical idea. I come to tell you that there are peoples who suffer from the UN’s anti-Israelism even more than the Israelis. I belong to one of those people.
Please hear me out.
By exaggerating Palestinian suffering, and by blaming the Jews for it, the UN has muffled the cries of those who suffer on a far larger scale.
For over fifty years the indigenous black population of Sudan, Christians and Muslims alike, has been the victim of the brutal, racist Arab Muslim regimes in Khartoum.
In South Sudan, my homeland, about 4 million innocent men, women and children were slaughtered from 1955 to 2005. Seven million were ethnically cleansed and they became the largest refugee group since World War II.
The UN is concerned about the so-called Palestinian refugees. They dedicated a separate agency for them. and they are treated with a special privilege.
Meanwhile, my people, ethnically cleansed, murdered and enslaved, are relatively ignored. The UN refuses to tell the world the truth about the real causes of Sudan’s conflicts.
Who knows really what is happening in Darfur?
It is not a "tribal conflict".
It is a conflict rooted in Arab colonialism well-known in north Africa.
In Darfur, a region in the Western Sudan, everybody is Muslim. Everybody is Muslim because the Arabs invaded the North of Africa and converted the indigenous people to Islam.
In the eyes of the Islamists in Khartoum, the Darfuris are not Muslim enough. And the Darfuris do not want to be Arabized. They love their own African languages and dress and customs.
The Arab response is genocide!
But nobody at the UN tells the truth about Darfur.
In the Nuba Mountains, another region of Sudan, genocide is taking place as I speak.
The Islamist regime in Khartoum is targeting the black Africans, Muslims and Christians.
Nobody at the UN has told the truth about the Nuba Mountains.
Do you hear the UN condemn Arab racism against blacks?
What you find on the pages of the New York Times, or in the record of the UN condemnations is "Israeli crimes" and "Palestinian suffering".
My people have been driven off the front pages because of the exaggerations about Palestinian suffering.
What Israel does is portrayed as a Western sin.
But the truth is that the real sin happens when the West abandons us: the victims of Arab/Islamic apartheid.
Chattel slavery was practiced for centuries in Sudan. It was revived as a tool of war in the early 90s.
Khartoum declared jihad against my people and this legitimized taking slaves as war booty.
Arab militias were sent to destroy Southern villages and were encouraged to take African women and children as slaves.
We believe that up to 200,000 were kidnapped, brought to the North and sold into slavery.
I am a living proof of this crime against humanity.
I don’t like talking about my experience as a slave, but I do it because it is important for the world to know that slavery exists even today.
I was only nine years old when an Arab neighbor named Abdullahi tricked me into following him to a boat.
The boat wound up in Northern Sudan where he gave me as a gift to his family.
For three and a half years I was their slave going through something that no child should ever go through: brutal beatings and humiliations; working around the clock; sleeping on the ground with animals; eating the family’s left-overs.
During those three years I was unable to say the word "no". All I could say was "yes", "yes", "yes".
The United Nations knew about the enslavement of South Sudanese by the Arabs.
Their own staff reported it.
It took UNICEF, under pressure from the Jewish led American Anti-Slavery Group sixteen years to acknowledge what was happening.
I want to publicly thank my friend Dr. Charles Jacobs for leading the anti-slavery fight.
But the Sudanese government and the Arab League pressured UNICEF, and UNICEF backtracked, and started to criticize those who worked to liberate Sudanese slaves.
In 1998, Dr. Gaspar Biro, the courageous UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Sudan who reported on slavery, resigned in protest of the UN’s actions.
My friends, today, tens of thousands of black South Sudanese still serve their masters in the North and the UN is silent about that.
It would offend the OIC and the Arab League.
As a former slave and a victim of the worst sort of racism, allow me to explain why I think calling Israel a racist state is absolutely absurd and immoral.
I have been to Israel five times visiting the Sudanese refugees.
Let me tell you how they ended up there.
These are Sudanese who fled Arab racism, hoping to find shelter in Egypt.
They were wrong.
When Egyptian security forces slaughtered twenty-six black refugees in Cairo who were protesting Egyptian racism, the Sudanese realized that the Arab racism is the same in Khartoum or Cairo.
They needed shelter and they found it in Israel.
Dodging the bullets of the Egyptian border patrols and walking for very long distances, the refugees’ only hope was to reach Israel’s side of the fence, where they knew they would be safe.
Black Muslims from Darfur chose Israel above all the other Arab-Muslim states of the area.
Do you know what this means!!!??
And the Arabs say Israel is racist!!!?
In Israel, black Sudanese, Christian and Muslim were welcomed and treated like human beings.
Just go and ask them, like I have done.
They told me that compared to the situation in Egypt, Israel is "heaven".
Is Israel a racist state?
To my people, the people who know racism, the answer is absolutely not.
Israel is a state of people who are the colors of the rainbow.
Jews themselves come in all colors, even black.
I met with Ethiopian Jews in Israel. Beautiful black Jews.
So, yes, I came here today to tell you that the people who suffer most from the UN anti-Israel policy are not the Israelis but all those people who the UN ignores in order to tell its big lie against Israel: we, the victims of Arab/Muslim abuse: women, ethnic minorities, religious minorities, homosexuals, in the Arab/Muslim world. These are the biggest victims of UN Israel hatred.
Look at the situation of the Copts in Egypt, the Christians in Iraq, and Nigeria, and Iran, the Hindus and Bahais who suffer from Islamic oppression. The Sikhs.
We, a rainbow coalition of victims and targets of Jihadis, all suffer.
We are ignored, we are abandoned.
So that the big lie against the Jews can go forward.
In 2005, I visited one of the refugee camps in South Sudan. I met a twelve-year-old girl who told me about her dream. In a dream she wanted to go to school to become a doctor. And then, she wanted to visit Israel.
I was shocked.
How could this refugee girl who spent most of her life in the North know about Israel?
When I asked why she wanted to visit Israel, she said: "This is our people". I was never able to find an answer to my question.
On January 9 of 2011 South Sudan became an independent state.
For South Sudanese, that means continuation of oppression, brutalization, demonization, Islamization, Arabization and enslavement.
In a similar manner, the Arabs continue denying Jews their right for sovereignty in their homeland and the Durban III conference continues denying Israel’s legitimacy.
As a friend of Israel, I bring you the news that my President, the President of the Republic of South Sudan, Salva Kiir, publicly stated that the South Sudan embassy in Israel will be built, not in Tel Aviv, but in Jerusalem, the eternal capital of the Jewish people.
I also want to assure you that my own new nation, and all of its peoples, will oppose racist forums like the Durban III.
We will oppose it by simply telling the truth. Our truth.
My Jewish friends taught me something I now want to say with you.
AM Y’ISRAEL CHAI!
The people of Israel lives!
Caliph) surrounded for protection by chains (slave) on a background of red (blood)
ON the 16th of July, 1212, was fought the great battle which broke the Moorish power in Spain. During the two centuries before fresh streams of invasion had flowed in from Africa to yield new life to the Moslem power. From time to time in the Mohammedan world reforms have sprung up, and been carried far and wide by fanaticism and the sword. One such body of reformers, the Almoravides, invaded Spain in the eleventh century and carried all before it. It was with these that the Cid Campeador had to deal. A century later a new reformer, calling himself El Mandi, appeared in Africa, and set going a movement which overflowed the African states and made its way into Spain, where it subdued the Moslem kingdoms and threatened the Christian states. These invaders were known as the Almohades. They were pure Moors. The Arab movement had lost its strength, and from that time forward the Moslem dominions in Spain were peopled chiefly by Moors.
Spain was threatened now as France had been threatened centuries before when Charles Martel crushed the Arab hordes on the plains of Tours. All Christendom felt the danger and Pope Innocent III. preached a crusade for the defence of Spain against the infidel. In response, thousands of armed crusaders flocked into Spain, coming in corps, in bands, and as individuals, and gathered about Toledo, the capital of Alfonso VIII., King of Castile. From all the surrounding nations they came, and camped in the rich country about the capital, a host which Alfonso had much ado to feed.
Mohammed An Nassir, the emperor of the Almohades, responded to the effort of the Pope by organizing a crusade in Moslem Africa. He proclaimed an Algihed, or Holy War, ordered a massacre of all the Christians in his dominions, and then led the fanatical murderers to Spain to join the forces there in arms. Christian Europe was pitted against Moslem Africa in a holy war, Spain the prize of victory, and the plains of Andalusia the arena of the coming desperate strife.
The decisive moment was at hand. Mohammed left Morocco and reached Seville in June. His new levies were pouring into Spain in hosts. On the 21st of June Alfonso began his advance, leading southward a splendid array. In the van marched a mighty force of fifty thousand men under Don Diego Lopez de Haro, ten thousand of them being cavalry. After them came the troops of the kings of Aragon and Castile, each a distinct army. Next came the knights of St. John of Calatrava and the knights of Santiago, their grand-masters leading, and after them many other bodies, including troops from Italy and Germany. Such a gallant host Spain had rarely seen. It was needed, for the peril was great. While one hundred thousand marched under the Christian banners, the green standard of the prophet, if we may credit the historians, rose before an army nearly four times as large.
Without dwelling on the events of the march, we may hasten forward to the 12th of July, when the host of Alfonso reached the vicinity of the Moorish army, and the Navas de Tolosa, the destined field of battle, lay near at hand. The word navas means "plains." Here, on a sloping spur of the Sierra Morena, in the upper valley of the Guadalquiver, about seventy miles east of Cordova, lies an extended table-land, a grand plateau whose somewhat sloping surface gave ample space for the vast hosts which met there on that far-off July day.
To reach the plateau was the problem before Alfonso. The Moslems held the ground, and occupied in force the pass of Losa, nature's highway to the plain. What was to be done? The pass could be won, if at all, only at great cost in life. No other pass was known. To retire would be to inspirit the enemy and dispirit the Christian host. No easy way out of the quandary at first appeared, but a way was found,—by miracle, the writers of that time say; but it hardly seems a miracle that a shepherd of the region knew of another mountain-pass.
This man, Martin Halaja, had grazed his flocks in that vicinity for years. He told the king of a pass unknown to the enemy, by which the army might reach the table-land, and to prove his words led Lopez de Haro and another through this little-known mountain by-way. It was difficult but passable, the army was put in motion and traversed it all night long, and on the morning of the 14th of July the astonished eyes of the Mohammedans gazed on the Christian host, holding in force the borders of the plateau, and momentarily increasing in numbers and strength.
Ten miles before the eyes of Alfonso and his men stretched the plain, level in the centre, in the distance rising in gentle slopes to its border of hills, like a vast natural amphitheatre. The soldiers, filled with hope and enthusiasm, spread through their ranks the story that the shepherd who had led them was an angel, sent by the Almighty to lead his people to victory over the infidel.
Mohammed and his men had been told on the previous day by their scouts that the camp of the Christians was breaking up, and rejoiced in what seemed a victory without a blow. But when they saw these same Christians defiling in thousands before them on the plain, ranged in battle array under their various standards, their joy was changed to rage and consternation. Against the embattled front their wild riders rode, threatening the steady troops with brandished lances and taunting them with cowardice. But Alfonso held his mail-clad battalions firm, and the light-armed Moorish horsemen hesitated to attack. Word was brought to Mohammed that the Christians would not fight, and in hasty gratulation he sent off letters to cities in the rear to that effect. He little dreamed that he was soon to follow his messengers in swifter speed.
It was a splendid array upon which the Christians gazed,—one well calculated to make them tremble for the result,—for the hosts of Mohammed covered the hill-sides and plain like "countless swarms of locusts." On an eminence which gave an outlook over the whole broad space stood the emperor's tent, of three-ply crimson velvet flecked with gold, strings of pearls depending from its purple fringes.
To guard it from assault rows of iron chains were stretched, before which stood three thousand camels in line. In front of these ten thousand chained negro slave warriors formed a living wall, their front bristling with the steel of their lances, whose butts were planted firmly in the sand. In the centre of this powerful guard stood the emperor, wearing the green dress and turban of his ancestral line. Grasping in one hand his scimitar, in the other he held a Koran, from which he read those passages of inspiration to the Moslems which promised the delights of Paradise to those who should fall in a holy war and the torments of hell to the coward who should desert his ranks.
The next day was Sunday. The Moslems, eager for battle, stood all day in line, but the Christians declined to fight, occupying themselves in arranging their different corps. Night descended without a skirmish. But this could not continue with the two armies so closely face to face. One side or the other must surely attack on the following day. At midnight heralds called the Christians to mass and prayer. Everywhere priests were busy confessing and shriving the soldiers. The sound of the furbishing of arms mingled with the strains of religious service. At the dawn of the next day both hosts were drawn up in battle array. The great struggle was about to begin.
The army of the Moors, said to contain three hundred thousand regular troops and seventy-five thousand irregulars, was drawn up in crescent shape in front of the imperial tent,—in the centre the vast host of the Almohades, the tribes of the desert on the wings, in advance the light-armed troops. The Christian host was formed in four legions, King Alfonso occupying the centre, his banner bearing an effigy of the Virgin. With him were Rodrigo Ximenes, the archbishop of Toledo, and many other prelates. The force was less than one hundred thousand strong, some of the crusaders having left it in the march.
The sun was not high when the loud sound of the Christian trumpets and the Moorish atabals gave signal for the fray, and the two hosts surged forward to meet in fierce assault. Sternly and fiercely the battle went on, the struggling multitudes swaying in the ardor of the fight,—now the Christians, now the Moslems surging forward or driven back. With difficulty the thin ranks of the Christians bore the onsets of their densely grouped foes, and at length King Alfonso, in fear for the result, turned to the prelate Rodrigo and exclaimed,— "Archbishop, you and I must die here." "Not so," cried the bold churchman. "Here we must triumph over our enemies." "Then let us to the van, where we are sorely needed, for, indeed, our lines are being bitterly pressed." Nothing backward, the archbishop followed the king. Fernan Garcia, one of the king's cavaliers, urged him to wait for aid, but Alfonso, commending himself to God and the Virgin, spurred forward and plunged into the thick of the fight. And ever as he rode, by his side rode the archbishop, wearing his chasuble and bearing aloft the cross. The Moorish troops, who had been jeering at the king and the cross-bearing prelate, drew back before this impetuous assault, which was given force by the troops who crowded in to the rescue of the king. The Moors soon yielded to the desperate onset, and were driven back in wild disarray.
This was the beginning of the end. Treason in the Moorish ranks came to the Christian aid. Some of Mohammed's force, who hated him for having cruelly slain their chief, turned and fled. The breaking of their centre opened a way for the Spaniards to the living fortress which guarded the imperial tent, and on this dense line of sable lancers the Christian cavalry madly charged.
In vain they sought to break that serried line of steel. Some even turned their horses and tried to back them in, but without avail. Many fell in the attempt. The Moslem ranks seemed impervious. In the end one man did what a host had failed to perform. A single cavalier, Alvar Nuñez de Lara, stole in between the negroes and the camels, in some way passed the chains, and with a cheer of triumph raised his banner in the interior of the line. A second and a third followed in his track. The gap between the camels and the guard widened. Dozens, hundreds rushed to join their daring leader. The camels were loosened and dispersed; the negroes, attacked front and rear, perished or fled; the living wall that guarded the emperor was gone, and his sacred person was in peril.
Mohammed was dazed. His lips still repeated from the Koran, "God alone is true, and Satan is a betrayer," but terror was beginning to stir the roots of his hair. An Arab rode up on a swift mare, and, springing to the ground, cried,— "Mount and flee, O king. Not thy steed but my mare. She comes of the noblest breed, and knows not how to fail her rider in his need. All is lost! Mount and flee!" All was lost, indeed. Mohammed scrambled up and set off at the best speed of the Arabian steed, followed by his troops in a panic of terror. The rout was complete. While day continued the Christian horsemen followed and struck, until the bodies of slain Moors lay so thick upon the plain that there was scarce room for man or horse to pass. Then Archbishop Rodrigo, who had done so much towards the victory, stood before Mohammed's tent and in a loud voice intoned the Te Deum laudamus, the soldiers uniting in the sacred chant of victory.
The archbishop, who became the historian of this decisive battle, speaks of two hundred thousand Moslem slain. We cannot believe it so many, despite the historian's statement. Twenty-five Christians alone fell. This is as much too small as the other estimate is too large. But, whatever the losses, it was a great and glorious victory, and the spoils of war that fell to the victors were immense. Gold and silver were there in abundance; horses, camels, and wagons in profusion; arms of all kinds, commissary stores in quantities. So vast was the number of lances strewn on the ground that the conquering army used only these for firewood in their camp, and did not burn the half of them.
King Alfonso, with a wise and prudent liberality, divided the spoil among his troops and allies, keeping only the glory of the victory for himself. Mohammed's splendid tent was taken to Rome to adorn St. Peter's, and the captured banners were sent to the cities of Spain as evidences of the great victory. For himself, the king reserved a fine emerald, which he placed in the centre of his shield.
Most Western societies are based on Secular Democracy, which itself is based on the concept that the open marketplace of ideas leads to the optimum government. Whilst that model has been very successful, it has defects. The 4 Freedoms address 4 of the principal vulnerabilities, and gives corrections to them.
At the moment, one of the main actors exploiting these defects, is Islam, so this site pays particular attention to that threat.
Islam, operating at the micro and macro levels, is unstoppable by individuals, hence: "It takes a nation to protect the nation". There is not enough time to fight all its attacks, nor to read them nor even to record them. So the members of 4F try to curate a representative subset of these events.
We hope that free nations will wake up to stop the threat, and force the separation of (Islamic) Church and State. This will also allow moderate Muslims to escape from their totalitarian political system.
The 4 Freedoms
These 4 freedoms are designed to close 4 vulnerabilities in Secular Democracy, by making them SP or Self-Protecting (see Hobbes's first law of nature). But Democracy also requires - in addition to the standard divisions of Executive, Legislature & Judiciary - a fourth body, Protector of the Open Society (POS), to monitor all its vulnerabilities (see also Popper). 1. SP Freedom of Speech Any speech is allowed - except that advocating the end of these freedoms 2. SP Freedom of Election Any party is allowed - except one advocating the end of these freedoms 3. SP Freedom of Movement The government can import new voters - except where that changes the political demographics (i.e. electoral fraud by means of immigration) 4. SP Freedom from Over-spending
People should not be charged for government systems which they reject, and which give them no benefit. For example, the government cannot pass a debt burden across generations (25 years).
An additional Freedom from Religion is be deducible by equal application of law: "Religious and cultural activities are exempt from legal oversight - except where they intrude into the public sphere (Res Publica)"