The biggest military operation by Muslims in the British Isles
Compiled By: Syed Ali Shahbaz
On June 20, 1631 AD, Baltimore in Ireland was attacked by a naval force of Algerians and Ottoman Turks, along with Dutch converts to Islam, in the biggest such operation by Muslims in the British Isles in retaliation for European Christian acts of piracy on the African coasts for abduction of black people and their selling as slaves in the Americas.
The Muslim naval force was led by Murad Ra’ees, a Dutch captain, who before conversion to Islam was named Jan Janszoon van Harlem. It is to be noted that most of the hundred-odd people captured and taken to North Africa were English settlers who were exploiting the local Irish people. Three of the captives who were found to be Irish were later released and returned to Ireland.
As for the rest, they started a new life in Algeria and in Istanbul in the palace of the Sultan, since Islam discourages slavery and considers the Mamluk as adopted persons entitled to all privileges as Muslims, including education and training in military, administrative affairs and various other vocations.
It is also worth noting that in the 17th and most of the 18th century, the Mediterranean Sea was a virtual Ottoman Lake with Turkish, Algerian, and Moroccan navigators, wrongly called Barbary Corsairs by the Europeans, operating in the Atlantic Ocean as far as the North Sea and the coasts of Iceland.