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I am a Muslim from a country called Kazakhstan. Instead of basing my opinion on individual and subjective experiences I have had with Arabs, let me give you a historic overview of the relationship between ‘my people’ (insofar as ‘my people’ are a real thing) and the Arabs. For simplicity sake, let us just use the term ‘Turco-Mongol nomads of Eurasia’ to define ‘my people’. I will look at each major interaction, and my opinion about the Arabs based on each.
The first time ‘we’ (the Gokturk Empire) came into contact with Arabs was when our asses were being beaten by the Chinese Tang dynasty. ‘We’ were on the verge of becoming another one of the Tang vassals. So ‘we’ asked help from ‘them’ (the Abbasid Caliphate) to help us. They helped us and defeated the Tang dynasty, freeing the Gokturks from the Tang. This is the first time we came into contact with Islam and started converting (which was not forced).
Opinion: obviously this was a good first impression. Kudos to the Arabs for helping us out.
‘They’ (the Abbasid Caliphate) needed a regular, loyal standing army. So they started buying ‘our’ (Kipchak Turkic) slaves off the market.
I don’t blame them for our brethren becoming slaves; the Arabs did not enslave the Turks, rather the Turks became slaves by the hands of other Turks during tribal conflicts. The captured Turks would then be sold off to the Silk Road and end up in the hands of the Arabs through trade.
Anyways, after the Arabs bought ‘our’ young boys (who were naturally inclined to be good cavalrymen, due to the Turkic nomadic culture), ‘they’ gave the boys education and training. They grew up to become an elite cast of military slaves called the Mamlukes (mount&blade fans? no? ok…). Anyways, the Mamlukes were not persecuted slaves, they were actually quite respected and had a high role in Arab society. They participated in many battles against the Crusaders and Mongols, the Battle of Ayn Jalut being the most notorious of them (i can imagine the Arabs are happy for that)
Opinion: Now, unlike black people in America who are absolutely (and understandably) pissed at white people for slavery, I am actually proud of the Mamlukes, and actually thankful to the Arabs for creating a system where Mamlukes could be so successful and dignified.
this is the statue of Sultan Baibars, probably the most famous of the Bahri Mamlukes.
This is the part where ‘we’ (the Seljuk Turks) love Islam and the Arabs (Abbasid Caliphate), but they hate us. Well, I can’t blame them; we invaded their lands and made a puppet of the Caliph. Who wouldn’t hate us? I would hate us!
Now this is where things get a little shaky. Now obviously ‘we’ (the Mongols) had a devastating effect on the Arab world. The Arabs still ‘curse’ us to this day because we sacked Baghdad and killed the Caliph.
But hey, look on the bright side: 3 of the four Mongol Successor states converted to Islam! (the Ilkhanate, the Golden Horde, and the Ulus of Chagatai).
And…It was the Mamlukes who stopped the Ilkhanate!
Sorry for the massacres though….
For the Rest
After the Mongol Empire, a majority of the Muslim world was dominated by Turko-Mongol states (Ottomans, Mamlukes, Safavids, Mughals, Tamerlane, Golden Horde, etc.). At this point, I actually feel somewhat sorry for the Arabs; they would not get their independence until the Sykes-Picot agreement….which basically divides the Arabs along imperialist lines and gives the mandate of Palestine to the Jews. Ouch….
In any case, my opinion on Arabs is largely positive. This is just a brief historical outlook on Arabs from the Turko-Mongol perspective.
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