• Tag: omar ibn said

  • The Scholar Slave


    At a time when the abolitionist cause was in its infancy in New England, Islam was used as a parable — a moral instruction that seeks at once to enlighten, and perhaps to embarrass its audience. Not only should slaves be freed, this story suggests, they should be paid reparations. Fifty-five years before some freed slaves were granted “forty acres and a mule” in the last days of the Civil War, it was unheard—of for even the staunchest abolitionists to call openly for such a plan. Yet couched in a story of another place and another faith, such dangerous notions could be put before the conscience of the public. If a Muslim Caliph could heed his supposedly lesser religion’s call to free slaves and improve their lives, how could Christians, even if they held the religion of Muhammad in con­tempt, not be moved to do likewise? That this was the intended message of the New Hampshire Patriot is reinforced by the newspaper’s slogan, a well­-chosen line from James Madison: “Indulging no passion which trespass on the rights of others, it shall be our true glory to cultivate peace by observing justice