During President Obama’s speech at the Islamic Society of Baltimore (ISB) mosque (Feb. 3), the President falsely presented Islam as the “religion of peace,” and ignored Islam’s history of piracy against America and Europe, enslavement of blacks and others, and forcible conversions and murders of persons of other faiths. The Saudi Arabia, Iraqi, and Palestinian Authority emblems have a sword or rifle on them.
For instance, Pres. Obama stated that: “For more than a thousand years, people have been drawn to Islam’s message of peace. And the very word itself, Islam, comes from salam — peace.” In fact, “Islam” means “submission” – not “peace.” And for thousands of years, beginning with Mohammed’s conquests of Arabia, followed by Muslim conquests of Syria, Egypt, Persia, the Maghreb and elsewhere, Islam was spread by the sword.
Moreover, to this day, Islam practices forced conversions. Last year, a Pakistani human rights organization reported that at least 1,000 Christian and Hindu Pakistani girls are forced into Muslim marriages and forced to convert to Islam each year, and that the numbers are believed to be significantly under-reported. Christian women recalled the horrors of their forced conversions to Islam, accompanied by forced female genital mutilation, in Indonesia.
The President also asserted during his ISB speech that “Starting in colonial times, many of the slaves brought here from Africa were Muslim.” Actually polytheistic African religions and Christianity were the predominant religions of African American slaves. The President also failed to mention Islamic slave traders’ centuries of enslaving and trading African black slaves. In Sudan today, Islamists reportedly are enslaving over 35,000 Christians and non-Muslims.
During his ISB mosque speech, President Obama did correctly state that Thomas Jefferson wrote that the Virginia Statute of Religions Freedom protected all faiths, including “the Mahometan” (as Muslims were called then). Yes, President Jefferson and America from the outset assured religious freedom for American Muslims.
However, President Obama failed to mention that President Jefferson had to go to war against the religiously-inspired Islamic terrorists of his day – the Barbary Coast pirates and states – Tripoli (Libya), Algiers and Tunisia. The Barbary state pirates repeatedly attacked American ships, seized the ships’ cargos, and murdered or held the American crews hostage for ransom in abject, life-threatening conditions.
Thomas Jefferson also knew the Barbary attacks on American vessels and seamen were based on Islamic jihadi doctrine – al-jihad fil-bahr, the holy war at sea.
In 1786, future U.S. presidents Thomas Jefferson (who was then U.S. ambassador to France) and John Adams (who was then U.S. ambassador to Britain) met in London with the Tripolitan ambassador to Britain, Sidi Haji Abdul Rahman Adja, to attempt to negotiate a peace treaty to protect the United States from Barbary piracy. Jefferson and Adams asked the Tripolitan ambassador why the Tripoli government was so hostile to the new American republic even though America had done nothing to provoke any such animosity.
Tripoli’s Ambassador Adja answered, as Jefferson and Adams reported to the Continental Congress, that the hostility to America “was founded on the Laws of their Prophet, that it was written in their Koran, that all nations who should not have acknowledged 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 Musselman [Muslim] who should be slain in Battle was sure to go to Paradise.”
See Victory in Tripoli: Lessons for the War on Terrorism, by Joshua E. London, Heritage Foundation Lecture, National Security and Defense, May 4, 2006. Also see Mr. London’s book, Victory in Tripoli: How America’s War with the Barbary Pirates Established the U.S. Navy and Shaped a Nation. Mr. London is now the co-director of ZOA’s Office of Government Relations.