Harvard prof on Islamic State sex slavery: Remember — the US had slavery once
In a piece which otherwise condemns ISIS’s brutal (sex) slavery practices, Harvard’s Noah Feldman, a constitutional and international law professor, warns readers: Remember, “slavery in the U.S. isn’t a distant relic.”
He says the United States is not “light years ahead of [the] Islamic State — more like a century and a half.”
An obviously hyperbolic comparison measured against an actual time-frame? As if 150 years could not be considered “light years” in our contemporary technologically breakneck society.
Slavery in the U.S. isn’t a distant relic. We’re still dealing with its aftereffects, in the form of persistent racial inequality and long-lived symbols of the Confederacy.
And we would do well not to forget that American slavery, particularly in its last half-century before abolition, was one of the most brutal slave systems in recorded human history. In comparison, the history of Islamic slavery is relatively mild.
Slaves of African descent were not only tortured to increase cotton yields, but also, in the case of the women, subjected to systematic and lawful rape.
Robert Spencer says Feldman’s comparison is “fundamentally dishonest”:
The U.S. Constitution is a human construct, whereas those who believe in Islamic law believe it not to be a human invention able to be amended and revised, but divine law that is perfect and unchangeable.
Mainstream Muslims would no more revise the Sharia than Jews or Christians would revise the Ten Commandments. “Progressive” Muslims in the U.S. who depart from normative Sharia interpretations don’t have any appreciable influence in the Islamic world.