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Saturday, September 26, 2015

Islam's Significant Contribution to America

Historian David Barton did in an interview with Glenn Beck in response to President Obama's claims that Muslims have made a significant contribution to America.

Upon hearing the president’s claims, Barton set out to find any contributions Muslims made in America’s history — the first of which took place in 1856, 80 years after the founding, when Secretary of War Jefferson Davis hired a Muslim to help train camels in Arizona.

Even if the plan to combat Native Americans from camel back hadn’t fallen apart, this contribution could hardly be classified as significant.

However, Barton did discover an area in which Muslims had a considerable influence on America, though it comes in the form of an enemy instead of ally.

Franklin, Jefferson, Adams
After the United States won its independence from England in 1776,  American vessels were no longer protected overseas by Britain and France. This opened up U.S. ships to countless raids by Muslims pirates hailing from the Barbary Coast.

Attacks continued even after the United States agreed to pay for safe passage, forcing America to send founding fathers Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams as representatives to negotiate a deal. There they discovered the real reason the Muslim pirates plundered their ships.

Motivated by more than treasure, power or greed, these pirates were duty-bound by Islamic law to attack non-Mulsims.

Each of the American representatives wrote of their experience, conveying harsh realities of Islam that are still apparent today.

“The ambassador answered us that (the right to attack shipping) was founded on the Laws of the Prophet, that it was written in their Koran, that all nations who should not have answered their authority were sinners, that it was their right and duty to make war upon them wherever they could be found, and to make slaves of all they could take as prisoners, and that every Mussulman who should be slain in battle was sure to go to Paradise,” Jefferson wrote to Secretary of State John Jay, calling peace an impossibility.

Franklin echoed Jefferson’s sentiments saying, “Nor can the Plundering of Infidels be in that sacred Book (the Quran) forbidden, since it is well known from it, that God has given the World, and all that it contains, to his faithful Mussulmen, who are to enjoy it of Right as fast as they conquer it.”

Lastly, Adams reported back to Jay that the Muslim Prophet Muhammad was a “military fanatic” who “denies that laws were made for him; he arrogates everything by force of arms.”

It seems little has changed in Islam in the past 240 years.

By the time Jefferson was voted into office, the Muslims pirates were charging even more money for passage and the attacks still continued. Jefferson took swift action and launched the U.S. Navy against the Barbary pirates, chasing them all the way to Tripoli and giving birth to the United States Marine Corps (H/T The Federalist Papers Project).

Obama may not be far off in saying Muslims played a role in shaping America; he’s just a little fuzzy on the details.