In 2001, Al Sharpton paid a visit to Sudan, where he met with black Christians who had been held as slaves by Muslim Arabs. Most of these slaves had been captured during raids on their villages in which the male population was slaughtered and women and children sold into servitude. Sharpton, notorious for aggravating racial tensions in the U.S. and provoking two murderous outbreaks of anti-Jewish violence in New York City, pledged to take up their cause and for a brief time spoke about it publicly. But he soon abandoned the issue, as Charles Jacobs explains:
When Sharpton returned from Sudan he met with senior members of Louis Farrakhan’s Nation of Islam. Farrakhan had been vigorously denying that Arabs were enslaving blacks. His mission is to convince American blacks that Islam is the path to authentic freedom; it would be damaged by living and breathing proof that blacks are enslaved and slaughtered in African countries like Sudan where Islam dominates.
In 2017, after ignoring Africa’s slaves for many years, Sharpton returned to the issue. The occasion was a CNN report on Arabs in Libya capturing and selling Africans as slaves which featured a video of an auction where a man was sold for $400. . . . For whatever reason, Sharpton never actually went to Libya, but he did meet with Libya’s UN ambassador Elmahdi Elmajerbi to discuss the problem—and made sure to get the photo-op. Just as with his trip to Sudan, however, Sharpton’s ire quickly faded and once again the slaves went down the memory hole.
Today, in five Arab and Muslim African countries—Sudan, Mauritania, Libya, Nigeria, and Algeria—blacks are enslaved. These are known realities, easily documented. Sharpton and Farrakhan ignored or denied the current-day plight of black people who are taken as slaves. They do so for two primary reasons; first, so as not to denigrate Islam, and secondly, to keep “America’s racism” a singular and unique focus, the benefits of which would be lost to them if blacks here knew that today, sadly, in some parts of the Islamic world, African men, women, and children are still in bondage, captured, bought, and sold as chattel.
Al Sharpton heard the groans of enslaved black Africans, saw their tears, and then, seeing the way the wind was blowing, ran away.