Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Obama, Jefferson And The Koran



You know, it is completely nauseating how the White House, Obama in particular, spins things to their desire and to score some sort of twisted political points.

I came across this little article about the recent Iftar dinner that Obama hosted in which he trotted out Thomas Jefferson's copy of the Koran:
Obama hosted the Ramadan dinner at the White House after sundown, serving garden salad, thyme-roasted natural chicken, farmstand vegetable ratatouille, and vanilla peach sesame halvah crunch to guests who had been fasting all day.

Attendees includes the two Muslim members of Congress, Reps. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) and Andre Carson (D-Ind.). Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.), whose district includes part of Dearborn, Mich., also came.

Dozens of ambassadors ranging from Nigeria to Yemen were also on the guest list.

Thomas Jefferson once held a sunset dinner here with an envoy from Tunisia — perhaps the first Iftar at the White House — more than 200 years ago,” Obama said. President Clinton officially began the Iftar dinners, which were continued by George W. Bush.

And some of you, as you arrived tonight, may have seen our special display, courtesy of our friends at the Library of Congress — the Koran that belonged to Thomas Jefferson. And that’s a reminder, along with the generations of patriotic Muslims in America, that Islam — like so many faiths — is part of our national story.

The president continued to talk about the values of Islam, including “you know that the Koran teaches, ‘Be it man or woman, each of you is equal to the other.’”

“They are entrepreneurs and lawyers, community leaders, members of our military, and Muslim American women serving with distinction in government,” Obama said. “And that includes a good friend, Huma Abedin, who has worked tirelessly in the White House, in the U.S. Senate, and most exhaustingly, at the State Department, where she has been nothing less than extraordinary in representing our country and the democratic values that we hold dear.”

“The American people owe her a debt of gratitude — because Huma is an American patriot, and an example of what we need in this country — more public servants with her sense of decency, her grace and her generosity of spirit,” he continued. “So, on behalf of all Americans, we thank you so much.”
Ok - the REAL story:
A) "Jefferson had invited that envoy for discussions at which a meal would be served. But it was during Ramadan, so the envoy requested that the meal be delayed until after sundown. Jefferson acceded to the request. That didn’t make it an Iftar dinner. It might have been Iftar to the envoy; to Jefferson it was just … dinner." (a commenter on the linked article above wrote this)

B) Jefferson had a Koran (translated copy of that time) because he used it in his study of religion and law. Also, in 1786 he was the U.S. Ambassador to France and the Muslim pirates kept taking over our ships, enslaving the ship's crew and murdering others on board. That was start of  the Barbary Wars... remember?
The four Barbary States of North Africa - Morocco, Algiers, Tunis, and Tripoli - had plundered seaborne commerce for centuries. Surviving by blackmail, they received great sums of money, ships, and arms yearly from foreign powers in return for allowing the foreigners to trade in African ports and sail unmolested through the Barbary waters. They demanded tribute money, seized ships, and held crews for ransom or sold them into slavery. ... By the end of the 18th Century the effectiveness of Tripoli's corsairs had long since deteriorated, but their reputation alone was enough to prompt European maritime states to pay the tribute extorted by the pasha to ensure safe passage of their shipping through Tripolitanian waters. American merchant ships, no longer covered by British protection, were seized by Barbary pirates in the years after United States independence, and American crews were enslaved. In 1799 the United States agreed to pay $18,000 a year in return for a promise that Tripoli-based corsairs would not molest American ships. Similar agreements were made at the time with the rulers of Morocco, Algiers, and Tunis.
So you see, the American Congress at that time had no idea how to deal with this piracy mess other than to succumb to bribery! (Some things never change in that department!) The problem continued, because even though Congress paid tribute.. and that is what led to the Barbary Wars and the creation of our Navy.  Jefferson realized that paying tribute was an unsustainable deal, and the U.S. continued to lose ships and men to the Pirates. The United States sent naval squadrons into the Mediterranean under the slogan of "Millions for defense, but not one cent for tribute!" ... and this is what happened regarding Jefferson and his Koran:
Thomas Jefferson and John Adams had been commissioned by the United States government to meet and possibly arrange a treaty with Abdrahaman, envoy of the sultan of Tripoli. The Ambassador explained that the conduct of the Barbary Coast pirates "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 who should be slain in battle was sure to go to Paradise" (The Papers of Thomas Jefferson - Papers 9: 358). ... The encounter with the Tripoline ambassador gave Jefferson an object lesson regarding the profound danger that could come from relying on a single text without recourse to supplementary texts and alternative interpretations. Surely, if a religious text seemed to sanction war, its readers ought to research how others interpreted the text as a means of achieving some clarity before rushing into battle. Abdrahaman and the Muslim pirates whose behavior he sanctioned saw no need to consult other texts to justify their behavior. Everything they needed to know was in the Qur'an, and what was not in the Qur'an they did not feel a need to know. (excerpt taken from this essay by Kevin Hayes)

So really....Jefferson read the Koran (a translated copy...but he also learned Arabic) in order to better understand his enemies behavior... just as Winston Churchill had a copy of Hitler's "Mein Kampf".

So much for Obama's touting the "values of Islam" as being "part of our national story".
Those "values" were part of our "national story" all right... but not in a good way.
As usual... Obama talks a load of rubbish.
Talk about revisionist history!





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