It is true that there is a lot of anti-black racism in Britain, and sadly some churches and misguided Christians have at times allowed other people's anti-Black and anti-poor attitudes to mould them. The Bible, though, tells us to love the poor, the stranger, the foreigner and the defenceless. After all, the Lord Jesus Christ was Himself a child refugee in Africa (Matthew 1-2).
To equate Biblical Christianity with anti-Black racism is absurd. We must remember that Moses, the prophet, married an African, and God was angry at the racism of Moses' own sister Miriam. In fact, God punished her with leprosy for seven days (see Numbers 12). The God of the Bible hates racism.
Yet what puzzles me is how Black people in Britain are jumping so easily into what I believe is a real racist religion: Islam.
The question which I ask as a black man is why is white equated with goodness and black equated with evil? (see Yusuf Ali, footnote 432)
In North Africa we know that the whole Saharan region of Morocco, Libya, Algeria and Egypt to the Sudan and Ethiopia used to be Christian, before Islam came and destroyed the local churches. Why do we not hear about it in Muslim literature?
And consider this: Africa produced great thinkers like Augustine of Hippo (Algeria), Clement and Athanasius of Egypt, and Tertullian of Carthage (Tunis), while Ethiopia had the first African church totally independent of Europe (Acts 8). In fact, I find it most interesting that an African church was planted first before there was ever a church in Britain, Canada, the USA or Spain, or any other European state. So why do we not hear of this African church, and why do we not continue to see any remnants of it today?
Perhaps we need to go to the Qur'an again to find the clue. Consider this verse in Sura Tauba, 9:5:
It fits the pattern of Islam which fights against all those who choose to follow their own beliefs, an idea we find well expressed in Sura Imran, 3:28:
The history of the Sudan is a case in point. Before the Muslim invasion of 1275 A.D. by the Islamic Mamluks of Egypt, the Sudan had three mini-Christian states called:
These three Christian countries, from 300 A.D. to 1500 A.D. had their own written language, great centers of learning, international commerce with Egypt, Ethiopia and other Middle East states, and sent out missionaries to other African states (see K. Milhalowski,Faras, vol.2, Poland, 1965 for extensive archaeological and historical documentation on these states).
Even the Arab, ibn Selim al-Assuani, was impressed when he saw Soba, describing it as having, ...fine buildings, roomy houses, churches, and the land is more fruitful than Makuria...[and it has] much meat, and good horses.
But all this was destroyed by Muslim invaders in 1275 A.D., not European colonialists! The same type of massive destruction happened all over Africa, yet we never hear anyone holding the Muslims responsible! Why? Arab Muslim racism is just as obnoxious as that of the Europeans, so why is it allowed to continue?
For it is continuing. In the 1990's Sudan in north-east Africa has been suffering a Muslim jihad-war, whereby thousands of Christians and unbelievers have died, many by crucifixion, or have suffered by having their hands and feet on alternate sides cut off. Is it only coincidental that we find in the Qur'an, Sura 5 (the Table Spread) verse 33, the sanction for this very practice?
While this is going on, Muslim states have never once told off the Islamic government of Khartoum. Why the silence? Yet there has always been a lot of noise about the apartheid of the old South Africa. Why the double standard?
Let me set the record straight. While Europeans were involved with the slave trade for a few hundred years, the existence of the traffic of African slaves had been well established one-thousand years before.
The Muslim position which places the entire blame for the invention and practice of black slavery at the door of Christian Europe, is simply not historically tenable. Both the Grecian and Roman societies were slave states, yet most of their slaves were Caucasian. In fact, the word slave meant a person who was of Slavic origin. Robert Hughes, in his essay on The Fraying of America in the February 3, 1992 issue of Time magazine corrects this false impression when he says:
"The African slave trade as such, the black traffic, was an Arab invention, developed by traders with the enthusiastic collaboration of black African ones, institutionalized with the most unrelenting brutality, centuries before the white man appeared on the African continent, and continuing long after the slave market in North America was finally crushed... Nothing in the writings of the Prophet [Muhammad] forbids slavery, which is why it became such an Arab-dominated business. And the slave traffic could not have existed without the wholehearted cooperation of African tribal states, built on the supply of captives generated by their relentless wars. The image promulgated by pop-history fictions like Roots - of white slavers bursting with cutlass and musket into the settled lives of peaceful African villages - is very far from the historical truth. A marketing system had been in place for centuries, and its supply was controlled by Africans. Nor did it simply vanish with Abolition. Slave markets, supplying the Arab Emirates, were still operating in Djibouti in the 1950's; and since 1960, the slave trade has flourished in Mauritania and the Sudan. There are still reports of chattel slavery in northern Nigeria, Rwanda and Niger."
The argument by some Muslims that slavery was God's way of converting Africans to Islam, is much the same argument suggested by certain misguided Christians in the 19th century who said that, bringing Africans to America gave them the opportunity to hear the Gospel; an argument which holds no credibility in the Bible, and dishonours the character of God.
Unfortunately Islam still hasn't learned, as today the slavery of foreign nationals still exists in the heartland of Islam: Saudi Arabia. (UN Report on Slavery, 1994)
Furthermore, why are we required to read God's word and speak to Him only in Arabic? Does God only speak Arabic? Is He not capable of understanding my African language? Thank God that the Holy Bible is now in over 2,000 known languages around the world. Because I know my God is able to speak every language. It's not a problem for Him.
God has also used Africa for other purposes, such as allowing Egypt to be a refuge for the Jews at the time of Joseph (Genesis 39-50). And when God (Jesus) became incarnate as a man, He took refuge in Egypt, Africa, during part of His childhood. Ethiopia, another African state, has possessed the Bible in her own language for many centuries, even before Islam began.
In the future place of Heaven we are told many nations are there, including African ones (Revelation 21:24). The Bible, furthermore, tells us that we (all nations) are set free in the blood of Jesus, who died on the cross and was raised from the dead.
Unlike the God of the Qur'an, Jesus never ordered any Christians to kill for Him or to take (the captives) that your right hand possesses. Everyone was given the choice to choose Him or reject Him. Throughout the Bible we find God saving all that call upon His name (the name of Jesus). This included the Ethiopian of Jeremiah 38-40 and the Ethiopian in Acts 8, and it includes me and you today.
Now that I have asked my questions, you too ask yours. Who indeed has helped me as an African the most: Islam or Christianity? You need to choose wisely, because your life depends on it.
This pamphlet was compiled by an interdenominational group of evangelical Christians concerned with Muslim-Christian dialogue.