Islam Appears in Africa
Islam was first introduced to Africa in Somalia in the early seventh century by Muslims Arabs fleeing persecution from the pagan Quraysh tribe on the Arab Peninsula. Later, it was ingrained with the Arab Islamic military invasion of Africa in 647 C.E., during the third reign of Caliph Uthman ibn Affan, ruler of Mecca, according to Islamonline.
In sub-Saharan Africa, people often converted to Islam to keep trade open and to avoid being sold into slavery. Africans believed Islamic conversion would create mutual respect but since slavery is justified in the Quran, there was no guarantee of avoiding bondage.
Islamic Slave Trade
According to an arabslavetrade.com article, “Denials of Islamic Slavery,” the slave trade in Africa lasted 14 centuries and has continued to the present day in Mauritania, Niger, Sudan and in isolated incidents across the continent.
The cultural practice of slave ownership in Niger was not banned until 2005. In Mauritania, an estimated 600,000 people are described as “modern-day slaves,” in debt bondage, forced marriage and victims of human trafficking.
In a 2014 theinternational.org article, writer Rachael Hancock reported that in the four years since slavery has been criminalized in Mauritania, only two cases have been investigated and just one person convicted.