Here is a fascinating account of our nation’s first conflict with radical Islam: When the Founding Fathers Faced Islamists. When the Barbary states captured American ships and made slaves of American citizens, both John Adams and Thomas Jefferson negotiated for their release. The pasha demanded a tribute of around $1 million, a tenth of the entire budget of the fledgling nation, but Adams and Jefferson continued to negotiate until the pasha informed them of this fact, described in Adams’ words:
“It was… written in the Koran, that all Nations who should not have acknowledged [the Muslims’] authority were sinners, that it was their right and duty to make war upon wheoever they could find 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.”
When the Americans heard this, it was war–Stephen Decatur, the Marines on the shores of Tripoli, and America’s first splash on the world stage.