What Jefferson and others really thought of Islam

Barack Obama made his first visit to a US mosque a few days ago and then scolded America for its concerns about Islam. He reminded the audience that Jefferson himself was once accused of being a Muslim.

“Look it up” dared obama. So I did.

Obama then went on to do what he always does- lie and mislead. Obama explained the derivation of the word “Islam.”

“The very word Islam comes from ‘Salam’ – peace,” he said. “The standard greeting is ‘As-Salaam-Alaikum’ – ‘Peace be upon you,’”

The word “Islam” actually means “submission.”

“Like so many faiths, Islam is rooted in a commitment to compassion and mercy and justice and charity.” said Obama.

In 1784 America had its first experience with North African Muslim terrorists:

Before the British Colonies became the United States, colonial merchant vessels were protected from pirates by British and French ships. But after winning its independence, the U.S. was on its own. America’s first loss to Islamic terrorism came in 1784, when Muslim pirates from North Africa seized the Betsey in Mediterranean waters. It was a practice that had been going on against European vessels since the sixteenth century. As coincidence would have it, 1784 was also the year that Thomas Jefferson took up his position as Minister of France, settled into his new European home, and began to negotiate a deal to stop these seizures.

The European solution to North African piracy was to pay a tribute to the sovereign of the Barbary (present-day Morocco, Algeria, Libya, and Tunisia). In return, they’d leave Europe’s shipping trade alone. But it was up to each country to settle its own treaties and payments, and if a country fell behind on a payment, it risked losing its ships to seizure. With no financial power to pay the tributes demanded by the Barbary, the Unites States found itself helpless. The only alternative was to wage war, but the young country didn’t have a navy yet.

Thomas Jefferson and John Adams met with Ambassador Abd al-Rahman to negotiate an end to the piracy and sent a letter to Secretary of Foreign Affairs John Jay, writing:

“the Ambassador answered us, that it was founded on the law of their great Profet: that it was written in the Koran, that all Nations who should not have acknowledged their Authority were sinners: that it was their right & duty to make war upon them whenever they could be found, & to make slaves of all they could take as prisoners; & that every Mussalman [Muslim] who should be slain in battle was sure to go to Paradise.”

The effort at diplomacy failed and in 1801 President Jefferson sent Marines “to the shores of Tripoli” to put an end to the piracy.

At Breitart, Charlie Spiering wrote:

Obama pointed out that the founding fathers also supported the religion of Islam.

Not exactly. They didn’t support Islam any more than any other religion. What they supported was the principle that no one’s civil rights out to be forfeit because of his religion:

[He] sais “neither Pagan nor Mahamedan [Muslim] nor Jew ought to be excluded from the civil rights of the Commonwealth because of his religion.”
 — Thomas Jefferson, quoting John Locke, 1776

It wasn’t an endorsement of Islam. It was a protection of the the civil rights of all.

Obama also said “Jefferson and John Adams had their own copies of the Koran,”

Yes they did, and here’s what John Adams had to say about Islam:

This book is a long conference of God, the angels, and Mahomet, which that false prophet very grossly invented; sometimes he introduceth God, who speaketh to him, and teacheth him his law, then an angel, among the prophets, and frequently maketh God to speak in the plural. … Thou wilt wonder that such absurdities have infected the best part of the world, and wilt avouch, that the knowledge of what is contained in this book, will render that law contemptible …

Jefferson bought a Quran in 1765. Later he concluded that Islam was “anti-science and anti-reason.” Jefferson also came to see “Christianity as one of the greatest blueprints for a moral code.”

Curiously, obama mentioned none of this.

In her Wapo article, Elahe Izadi wrote:

Muslims, who were also alluded to in those years as “Turks,” did live in this country at the time, Obama said. An estimated 20 percent of enslaved Africans were Muslim, but much of the citizenry at the time didn’t acknowledge that Muslims existed in America, according to several historians.

What she failed to include is that Muslims were in the slavery business long before America was:

Morocco began recognizing American colonists in 1625, as Governor William Bradford wrote of the fates of a Pilgrim ship sent back to England carrying dried fish and 800 pounds of beaver skins to trade for supplies: “They … were well within the England channel, almost in sight of Plymouth. But … there she was unhapply taken by a Turkish man-of-war and carried off to Morocco where the captain and crew were made slaves.”

Muslim pirates of Morocco raided European coasts and carried away over a million to the North African slave markets, where also tens of millions of Africans were sold into slavery.

In 1627, Algerian Muslim pirates, led by Murat Reis the Younger, raided Iceland, and carried 400 into slavery.

One captured girl, who had been made a slave concubine in Algeria, was rescued back by King Christian IV of Denmark.

On June 20, 1631, the entire village of Baltimore, Ireland, “The Stolen Village,” was captured by Muslim pirates. Only two ever returned.


Moroccan Sultan Moulay Ismail had 500 wives, mostly captured from Europe, and forced 25,000 white slaves to build his enormous palace at Meknes. He was witnessed killing an African slave just to try out a new hatchet he was given.

Obama didn’t mention that either.  Neither did he speak of the “sacred histories” of Islam, or the problem that Islam is both religion and government. Or the fact that the mosque has controversial ties. There was a lot obama neglected to mention.

The Founding Fathers weren’t singular in their observations of Islam. Mark Twain also examined Islam and wrote about it:

That is a simple rule, and easy to remember. When I, a thoughtful and unblessed Presbyterian, examine the Koran, I know that beyond any question every Mohammedan is insane; not in all things, but in religious matters.

So it does seem that Jefferson was once accused of being Muslim. However, Jefferson did not know the Islamic Call to Prayer by heart nor could he recite it with a perfect accent.

2 thoughts on “What Jefferson and others really thought of Islam

  1. The Islamic Evangelist, aka Comrade Obama, does it again: LIE and promote the lies of Islam! Well done, Barry Boy.

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