Keith Ellison attempts to rewrite American history
Detroit native Keith Ellison, the first Muslim Congressman, told the Free Press Friday that he used the Quran during his oath of office because the Islamic holy book helped influence the founding fathers of America.
Yeah, this is why America is based on JUDEO-CHRISTIAN values.
Now, suppose the founding fathers weren't sure which way to go, and after reading the Quran, they decided to go with Judeo-Christian values. What does it tell you about the Quran?
Ellison, a Minnesota Democrat, garnered international attention Thursday when he used a Quran once owned by Thomas Jefferson during his ceremonial swearing-in ceremony for the House of Representatives.
The Quran is "definitely an important historical document in our national history and demonstrates that Jefferson was a broad visionary thinker who not only possessed a Quran, but read it," Ellison said in an interview with the Free Press. "It would have been something that contributed to his own thinking." [...]
But Ellison said Friday that Jefferson's Quran "shows that from the earliest times of this republic, the Koran was in the consciousness of people who brought about democracy."
It appears that Ellison lies through his teeth trying to hide the real reason why Jefferson needed to buy a copy of the Quran, which is to study America's enemies.
Christopher Hitchens in his book Thomas Jefferson: Author of America (Eminent Lives) describes Jefferson's encounter with Tripoli's envoy in London concerning the numerous attacks on and enslavement of Europeans and Americans by the Barbary pirates (quoted at Barbary Wars):
America's two main diplomats at the time were John Adams in London and Jefferson in Paris. Together they called upon Ambassador Abdrahaman, the envoy of Tripoli in London, in March 1786. This dignitary mentioned a tariff of three payments-for the ransom of slaves and hostages, for cheap terms of temporary peace and for more costly terms of "perpetual peace". He did not forget to add his own commission as a percentage. Adams and Jefferson asked to know by what right he was exacting these levies. The U. S. had never menaced or quarreled with any of the Muslim powers. As Jefferson later reported to the State Department and Congress, "The Ambassador answered us that it 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".
This is why Jefferson needed the Quran.
The following excerpt from Wikipedia describes the ordeal of Americans captured and enslaved by Muslim Barbary pirates (the horrendous story of their life in captivity is shown in great details in the Dean King's book Skeletons on the Zahara: A True Story of Survival):
In 1783 the USA made peace with and was recognized by Britain, and in 1784 the first American ship was captured by pirates from Morocco. The stars and stripes was a new flag to them. After six months of negotiation, a treaty was signed, $60,000 cash was paid, and trade began. Morocco was the first independent nation to recognize the USA.
But Algeria was different. In 1784 two ships (the Maria of Boston and the Dauphine of Philadelphia) were captured, everything sold and their crews enslaved to build port fortifications. Christian slaves were preferred and forced to do degrading work and treated harshly so letters would be written home to prompt the payment of a bigger ransom.
American ships sailing in the Mediterranean chose to travel close to larger convoys of other European powers who had bribed the pirates. President Thomas Jefferson proposed a league of smaller nations to patrol the area, but the USA could not contribute. For the prisoners, Algeria wanted 60,000 dollars, America offered 4000. Jefferson said a million dollars would buy them off, but Congress would only appropriate 80,000. For eleven years Americans who lived in Algeria lived as slaves to Algerian Moors.
For a while, Portugal was patrolling the Straits of Gibraltar and preventing Barbary Pirates from entering the Atlantic. But they made a cash deal with the pirates, and they were again sailing into the Atlantic and engaging in piracy. By late 1793, a dozen American ships had been captured, goods stripped and everyone enslaved.
Portugal had offered some armed patrols, but American merchants needed an armed American presence to sail near Europe. After some serious debate, the United States Navy was born in March, 1794. Six frigates were authorized, and so began the construction of the United States, the Constellation, the Constitution and three more. A shipbuilder to match the Founding Fathers was chosen, Joshua Humphreys. And with his assistant Josiah Fox, they designed frigates for America with superior speed and handiness.
This new military presence helped to stiffen American resolve to resist the continuation of tribute payments, leading to a series of wars along the North African coast, starting in 1801. It was not until 1815 that naval victories ended tribute payments by the U.S., although some European nations continued annual payments until the 1830s.
The United States Marine Corps actions in these wars led to the line, "to the shores of Tripoli" in the opening of the Marine Hymn.
So, yes, you can say that the Quran did influence the founding fathers in their views of Islam and Muslims. Just not in the way Ellison wants to present it.
In 1815 Jefferson sold his Quran to Congress.
Crossposted at Eye On The World.