A protest against slavery in Libya in front of the Libyan Embassy in Paris, 2017

Alain Apaydin/Abaca/Sipa USA (Sipa via AP Images)

Navigate to News section

Arab Enslavement and Slaughter of Black Africans Must Stop

The same jihad that targeted Jews on Oct. 7 has been targeting Black Africans for decades

Charles Jacobs
Ben Poser
December 11, 2023
A protest against slavery in Libya in front of the Libyan Embassy in Paris, 2017

Alain Apaydin/Abaca/Sipa USA (Sipa via AP Images)

The Oct. 7 massacre which killed at least 1,200 Jews in Israel is being compared to the mass murders of the Holocaust. But, unlike the Nazis, who hid their crimes and perfected impersonal and mechanized slaughter, Hamas jihadists affixed GoPro cameras to their helmets so they could broadcast themselves exulting in their gory murder of Jewish families, some of whom they decapitated and burned alive.

For those in the Christian world who know about the decadeslong mass slaughter and enslavement of Black Christians in Sudan, which they call the “hidden Holocaust,” the scenes out of Israel were shockingly familiar. As part of a self-declared jihad which lasted from 1983 to 2005, northern Sudanese Arabs sought to subjugate and enslave the Black Sudanese of the mostly Christian south. The onslaught cost the lives of perhaps 2.5 million Black Sudanese, and the freedom of an estimated 200,000 more. The Arab Muslim government’s jihad utilized kidnapping as its terror weapon of choice, not to mention casual gang rape and mutilation.

One little known but highly detailed report of an Arab Muslim pogrom against Black tribesmen and Christians in Africa during that period shows how eerily similar the anti-Black African jihad raids are to Hamas’ pogrom against Jews. According to the report, just after dawn on March 28, 1987, Arabs from the Rizeigat tribe set upon their Black neighbors in the town of El-Daein, storming their village with axes, gasoline, guns, knives, spears, sticks, and swords, looking to murder people who sought whatever shelter they could. The night before, the raiders had attacked Black members of the Dinka tribe at the local church. Many of the hunted took refuge near the local police station.

Why are these horrors of real-world slavery, with women raped and men kept in chains, based on the color of their skin or their religion, not better understood and publicized in the West?

The next day, government officials and police organized a train to evacuate the Dinka people north, but, like many Israeli safe rooms, the train station and the police barracks became death traps. In Israel, Hamas burned Jewish homes to force people out of rocket shelters so they could be slaughtered; in Sudan, the terrorists set fire to the train cars and the police station, and then shot, stabbed, and beat to death those who tried to escape. And as Hamas terrorists did in southern Israel, Rizeigat Arabs grabbed and kidnapped their victims’ children, even toddlers; one Arab, according to the report, stabbed a Dinka woman, stole her money, and snatched her 4-month-old baby.

The historical persecution of Black Africans, based on skin color, ethnic identity or religion, continues to this day. Just two weeks before Hamas’ massacre of Israeli Jews, jihadist gunmen on motorcycles shot their way into the Nigerian Christian communities of Magami and Kabasa and kidnapped 60 people, mostly women and children. Boko Haram, an ISIS affiliate, has been waging jihad for decades against largely Christian communities in Nigeria, killing adults and kidnapping children, mostly young girls.

Many Americans were first alerted to terrorist attacks on Nigerian villages in 2014 by Michelle Obama who, in response to one of these raids, briefly led—and then abandoned—the well-advertised “#BringBackOurGirls” campaign. In April of that year, 276 Nigerian, mostly Christian, girls were captured by jihadists who stormed the village of Chibok, where the girls were at the school taking exams. The U.S. State Department’s official estimate for the number of captives is “unknown,” though it could be “more than 2,000.”

Since Arabs first invaded Africa in the seventh century, murderous raids targeting innocent civilians have been a common feature of the spread of Islam in Africa. Today, in Mauritania, Black Mauritanians whose ancestors were taken into captivity centuries ago and whose status as chattel has been passed down through the generations, live in bondage, serving as slaves to their Arab Berber masters. Even though indigenous Africans in Mauritania were converted to Islam after the Arab conquest, race has trumped religion, and the Arab Berber rulers have treated the Black Mauritanians as they would infidels.

Modern-day Mauritania is essentially a racist caste system ruled by the 30% Arab Berber minority, called beydanes (“whites”). The Arab-controlled government has “banned” slavery five times since independence from France—in 1961, 1980, 1981, 2007, and 2015—yet today, absurdly, denies that it exists. According to the Global Slavery Index, approximately 149,000 Black Mauritanians still live there as slaves. These slaves remain in chains. They’re bred and are known to have been horrifically tortured in ways that rival and may even surpass Hamas’ torments. Yet these Black Muslim slaves who are passed down like the family furniture from the masters to their sons have no serious champions in the West.

Sudan’s western Darfur province is yet another scene of contemporary Arab-on-Black slaughter. Recently, a multiday militia attack left more than 800 people of the non-Arab Masalit tribe dead, and, in another, women and young girls were taken captive in chains, with widespread rapes reported. After an infamous genocide which killed as many as 400,000 non-Arabs between 2003 and 2005 alone, government-backed jihadists have resumed raiding, killing, and enslaving the Masalit. Darfur is a mostly Muslim region, but—as in Mauritania—the Arab-dominated government’s keen racial animosity outweighs any kind of religious brotherhood.

Why are these horrors of real-world slavery, with women raped and men kept in chains, based on the color of their skin or their religion, not better understood and publicized in the West? Because the reigning progressive ideology taught in almost all American educational institutions divides the world into “oppressors” and “oppressed,” bestowing on the latter protected status. With the Arab and Muslim communities in America having been granted this new form of immunity, casting light on evil conduct committed by Arab colonial conquerers who enslave and murder Black Africans, is simply not allowed.

Meanwhile, on account of their “intersectional” dogma—which makes Jews “white” and Muslims “oppressed”—the Western human rights industry, media, and campus left activists are ideologically determined to mostly ignore some of the most hideous crimes on the planet. This sectarian outlook can even be found in Congress. In 2021, Nigerian Americans protested in front of Somalian-born “Squad” member Ilhan Omar’s office in Minneapolis, asking her to speak out on behalf of Nigerian Christians made captive by her co-religionists. They received no response.

This is a horrific betrayal on the part of the West—as well as by any Black American leaders who choose to leave Black Africans in chains and abused as actual slaves, sold across the Middle East and North Africa, rather than buck the victim hierarchies that demand they show solidarity with Arab slavemasters.

During the civil rights movement, Jews and Blacks fought together against oppression and for freedom. Many Jews now feel abandoned by the West. They should learn that they share that betrayal with today’s Black African captives.

Charles Jacobs is president of the American Anti-Slavery Group. In 2000, he received Boston’s Freedom Award from Coretta Scott King for his work in helping to liberate thousands of Black slaves in Sudan. He holds a doctorate in Education from Harvard University.

Ben Poser is executive editor of White Rose Magazine, executive director of the American Anti-Slavery Group, and research director for the Jewish Leadership Project. He holds a degree in Classical Archaeology and Ancient History from Brandeis University.

Become a Member of Tablet

Get access to exclusive conversations, our custom app, and special perks from our favorite Jewish artists, creators, and businesses. You’ll not only join our community of editors, writers, and friends—you’ll be helping us rebuild this broken world.