It is common knowledge that, for over a thousand years, Arab and Muslim slavers took enormous numbers of men, women and children from sub-Saharan Africa. What is not so well known is that they took equally large numbers of people from Europe. As with Africa, Arab slave-taking in Europe began in the seventh century – shortly after the rise of Islam – and continued virtually without interruption into the modern epoch.
Modern Western culture, with its Anglo-centric world-view, has an almost obsessive preoccupation with the European trade in African slaves, a trade which commenced in the late fifteenth century and ended in the mid-nineteenth, but seems to have little knowledge of or interest in the equally intense Muslim trade in European slaves during the same epoch. This is a strange state of affairs, given the fact that, in general, the Europeans enslaved by the Muslims between the fifteenth and nineteenth centuries, were treated appallingly, and the trade had a long-term and devastating impact upon large areas of the continent.