Today on a segment of the Glenn Beck Show*, David Barton was asked if Salon was correct that Thomas Jefferson owned a Quran 16 years before he wrote the Declaration of Independence or is what Glenn Beck always heard (from Barton actually) true that Jefferson got a Quran after he became ambassador to Tripoli because he wanted to know his enemy. Here is what Barton said today (start at 3:54 for the question):
Beck asked “which is true?” Barton replied, “Some of both.” However, that is not what Barton told Beck in 2011. The reason Glenn Beck thought Jefferson got a copy of the Quran in the 178os was because David Barton told him that. I don’t feel sorry for you Mr. Beck, Jay Richards tried to warn you. Watch (see especially the segment from 8:49 on):
Barton also told a similar story in this video:
In this Glenn Beck appearance, Beck and Barton agreed Jefferson bought the Quran to see what they believed as a consequence of the war against Muslim nations. Barton said he got it in 1806.
Again, it was Barton who revised history.
It was nice of Beck to help Barton try to extract himself from the false narrative he told audiences in the past, including Beck’s. As you will see if you watch these clips, Barton claimed that Jefferson purchased a Quran in the 1780s to help him understand his Barbary enemies. However, Jefferson first purchased a Quran when he was studying to be a lawyer in 1765. His interest was academic most likely, in that he wanted to understand other traditions of law. Barton says he purchased it “from an apologetics standpoint,” however, I know of no evidence to that effect.
*Beck began the show discussing Barack Obama’s claim that Islam has been woven into the fabric of the nation since the founding. That claim is unfounded as well. There were Muslims here but “woven into the fabric?” Jefferson and other founders were interested in Islam and Jefferson in particular believed that religious liberty included all religions included Islam. However to say that Islam was “woven into the fabric” is not supported anything I have seen.
Another problem with this segment is Barton’s claim that the Atlantic slave trade was due to Muslim slavers. While Muslims were involved in the trans-Saharan slave trade and sold slaves to European traders, it is ridiculous to insinuate that American slavery was primarily due to Muslims. Europeans also captured slaves and there would have been no slave trade if not for the demand in North and South America.
All those who criticize President Obama for his inaccurate statements regarding Islam need to be consistent and hold David Barton and Glenn Beck to the same standard.