Emir Abd Elkader is probably unknown to most people in the west. He was a Muslim scholar, warrior and leader who earned the respect and praise of high figures of his time (1807-1883) such as Abraham Lincoln, the Pope, Napoleon Bonaparte III, Victor Hugo and Lord Londonderry. In 1846 Timothy Davis, John Thompson and Chester Sage were so impressed by his fight against French colonial power that they named their new settlement after him. The town of Elkader still bears the name of the emir and is located in Clayton County, Iowa.
Abd Elkader was born on September 6, 1808 to a devout Muslim family in Mascara, Algeria. When he was 22 years old, France invaded and occupied Algeria. The Algerians who were no match to the French Army, fought back ferociously. Two years into the occupation Abdelkader was chosen by the Algerian fighters to lead their armed resistance against the French.
To subdue the Algerian people the French commited countless atrocities. They were mutilating Algerian prisoners, severing heads and displaying them as trophies of war, wiping out entire villages, burning men, women, and children alive.
In the book "La chasse a l'homme" the French Count de Crisson writes "We would bring back a barrel full of ears harvested, pair by pair, from prisoners, friends or foes,". In 1883 a French Government Inquiry Commission said: "We massacred people carrying [French] passes. On a suspicion we slit the throats of entire populations who were later on proven to be innocent; we tried men famous for their holiness in the land, venerated men, because they had enough courage to come and meet our rage in order to intercede on behalf of their unfortunate fellow countrymen."