Much has said about Obama’s unrelenting submission to Islam, including his most recent speech last Thursday at a summit on violent extremism in which he famously stated that “Here in America, Islam has been woven into the fabric of our country since its founding.”
Not so fast, Mr. President. While there were Muslim African slaves (who were forced to convert to Christianity) in America’s beginning, Islam played absolutely no role in the ideas and principles which forged our nation. In fact, the Founding Fathers held nothing but contempt for Islam.
Many of them were quite familiar with Muslims through their experiences with the Barbary Pirates, which roamed the Mediterranean, seizing ships and an estimated 1 million European slaves between the 16th and 19th centuries. Once America won its freedom from England, it no longer enjoyed the protection of the French navy under the Treaty of Alliance. Northwest African Berber Muslim states, known collectively as the Barbary States, soon began attacks on American ships and enslaving crews for high ransom. In March 1785, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams went to London to negotiate with Tripoli’s envoy, Ambassador Sidi Haji Abdrahaman, at which point they were informed:
“It was written in their Koran, that all nations which had not acknowledged the Prophet were sinners, whom it was the right and duty of the faithful to plunder and enslave; and that every mussulman who was slain in this warfare was sure to go to paradise. He said, also, that the man who was the first to board a vessel had one slave over and above his share, and that when they sprang to the deck of an enemy’s ship, every sailor held a dagger in each hand and a third in his mouth; which usually struck such terror into the foe that they cried out for quarter at once.”
The ransom demands eventually became so great, equaling one-sixth of the US budget, that ultimately this led to the formation of the United States Department of the Navy, founded in 1798 to prevent further attacks upon American shipping and to end the extremely large demands for tribute from the Barbary States.
The First Barbary War became the first military conflict authorized by Congress that the United States fought on foreign land and seas, with the turning point occurring when a small force of U.S. Marines and 500 mercenaries marched across the desert from Egypt to capture the Tripolitan city of Derna. This was the first time in history the United States flag was raised in victory on foreign soil. The action is memorialized in a line of the Marines’ Hymn—”the shores of Tripoli”.
The United States won its first battle on foreign soil against Islamic States, and the Navy and Marines became a permanent part of the American government and history. That, President Obama, is Islam’s sole connection to the founding years of our country; as our vanquished enemy.
After President Barack Obama said this week that “Islam has been woven into the fabric of our country since its founding,” Glenn Beck asked historian David Barton to come on his radio program and share some examples of what the president meant.
“In all the reading I’ve done, thousands of books, there’s nothing there,” Barton said on Friday. “I mean, we know that Muslims were the folks who captured the slaves sent to America, largely out of Africa… The Muslims did the slave hunting and the slave trading, et cetera. The first Muslims came to America as a result of the Muslims capturing them and sending them to the Dutch traders.”
Barton said that beyond their heavy involvement in the slave trade, America was at war with the Barbary pirates shortly after the founding of the country, but those were “the two biggest contributions.”
“This is the fabric,” Beck said with heavy sarcasm. “I mean, it’s practically the whole blanket.”
Barton added that there were a number of Muslims whose activities were recorded in the 1800′s, but it might be a stretch to say they are part of the “fabric of the country.” One such Muslim helped the American military raise camels, he said.
“In 1856 the American military is engaged in all sorts of Indian wars in western lands,” Barton explained. “The secretary of war at that time was Jefferson Davis. Five years later, he would become part of the secession and the president of the Confederacy. But at that time, he’s secretary of war. What they did was they hired a Muslim to raise camels in Arizona because the cavalry said, ‘You know, instead of using horses across the desert, let’s try these camels.’”
“It was a short-lived experiment, but I have to credit their technology,” Barton added. “If you’re going to be in the desert chasing folks, why not use the animals that will go for several days, rather than several hours? But they were just so slow, they couldn’t keep up with the Indians.”
Beck emphasized that the founding fathers preached tolerance for all religions, and Thomas Jefferson defended the rights of Muslims overseas. But he feels the president is “changing our history” by saying Islam has been “woven into the fabric of our country since its founding.”
“David, thank you very much for enlightening me on this,” Beck concluded. “If the president wants to extol those who were selling people into slavery… so be it.”