“Woven into the fabric of our country”? Islam in Early America

“Woven into the fabric of our country”? Islam in Early America March 3, 2015

President Obama created controversy in a recent speech when he asserted that “Islam has been woven into the fabric of our country since its founding.” He followed this statement with rather generic statements about Muslim immigrants coming to America and finding economic opportunity and freedom.

The point of the president’s comments is, of course, that millions of Muslims live and prosper in America, and that they, not ISIS, Al-Qaeda, or other jihadists, are representative Muslims. America, and the American government, welcomes these Muslims here as friends and fellow citizens. This, in my opinion, is correct, and is just the sort of thing that the president needs to emphasize over and over.

But what about the idea that Islam has been “woven into the fabric” of America since the founding? What role did Islam, and Muslims, play in colonial and Revolutionary America?

Part of the reason that the president gave few details about Islam and the founding era is that most of Islam’s role at that time was either in negative associations, or in real Muslim slaves. Neither gives much fodder, I’m afraid, for positive examples that the president might cite.

As I noted in a chapter on Islam which I contributed to Daniel Dreisbach and Mark David Hall’s book Faith and the Founders of the American Republic,

There were actual Muslims living in America during the Founding period, but the vast majority of them were toiling as slaves in the South. Of course, Muslim traders and sailors also passed through American ports on occasion, but most American Muslims were Africans forcibly imported to work on American plantations. The exact number of Muslims, of course, is hard to discern, but historian Michael Gomez has estimated that perhaps 200,000 slaves came from African regions with significant Muslim influences. This does not mean that all of these were Muslims, but it does suggest that hundreds of thousands of slaves may have been at least marginally familiar with Muslim beliefs.

But the typical Muslim appearing in Anglo-American writing during the Revolutionary period was not an African slave; more likely he would have been a Barbary pirate or a Middle Eastern despot. A close look at the uses of Islam in the Founding period and early republic shows reveals a well-established political and literary tradition: citing the similarities between an opponent’s views and the “beliefs” of Islam as a means to discredit one’s adversaries. Over the course of the eighteenth century, Americans’ uses of Islam became increasingly secularized. Early in the century, Islam was typically used for religious purposes in religious debates, while later commentators often implemented knowledge of despotic Islamic states to support political points. Real fears of Islam as a religion continued, however, appearing in episodes such as the ratification debates of the late 1780s, when the lack of a religious test in the Constitution theoretically opened a door to the election of Muslims to American political offices. Although one should hesitate to describe early Americans as conversant with Islam, they certainly conversed about Islam regularly.

Thus, African slaves were the most likely people in early America to have a Muslim background, but they did not shape most European-Americans’ views of Islam. These came from popular writings such as stories of people suffering captivity at the hands of the Barbary pirates, and biographies of the Prophet Muhammad (English-language biographies or translations that typically presented him as the epitome of a religious impostor).

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is seen here (left) during Congressman Ellison’s Swearing In Ceremony with Thomas Jefferson’s Qur’an (2007); Michaela McNichol, Library of Congress; Wikimedia Commons.

Perhaps the most furious public debate about Islam came during the ratification process, when many critics of the no-test oath clause of the Constitution said that it opened the door for atheists, or even “Mahometans” to serve in public office. Defenders of the ban on religious tests for national public service (evangelical Baptists were among the strongest advocates of the ban) argued that the government should play no role in policing people’s religious beliefs, and that if it came to pass that the American people wanted to elect a Muslim, then the will of the people should prevail.

It took quite a long time, but of course the ban on a test oath did ultimately lead to the election of Congress’s first Muslim, Keith Ellison, in 2006. Ellison swore his oath of office on Thomas Jefferson’s copy of the Qur’an (translations of which were also widely available at the time of the nation’s founding). Internet rumors about President Obama’s faith notwithstanding, we have yet to have a Muslim serve as president.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Leigh

    We always have to have a boogieman. Back then it was largely Catholics who were feared and jeered at. “Papists” as they were called. They were accused of everything from devil worship to witchcraft to being the bringer of plagues. Now, our boogiemen are Muslims. Same fears, different religion. Sadly, we seem to fear anyone who isn’t a WASP.

  • Yeah, but just because slaves were here who were muslim doesn’t mean that Islam “was woven in the fabric.” They had zero impact on the American culture. Obama’s argument was a huge stretch.

  • charles k wainwright III

    I think it is safe to say Obama is as much Muslim as he is Christian. To wit most people never get completely beyond their childhood indoctrination, and it seems entirely possible he became Christian for political purposes. Maybe someday we will get clear definitive answers about his education and citizenship. Oh, and he also by his actions appears to give at least tacit support to Islamic nations and their jihad groups.

  • charles k wainwright III

    I thought most of the slave trade cam from central Africa. If that is true there would have been minimal Islamic influence in that region.

  • EqualTime

    My guess is that his reason has overcome his religious upbringing and he is a non-believer, but continues to accept Christianity on the outside. I have done the same. Where you come up with “tacit support to Islamic nations” after his efforts in Iraq, Afghanistan, bin Laden, drone attacks throughout the Middle East, esp. against Isis, is beyond me. He does not call out Islam for terrorism, because he wants to mitigate the chance of non-violent Islamists becoming violent, which I support, as do many rational people. We’ve played “whack a mole” with jihadist criminals since 9/11/01, and only made more of them. Calling out Islamist Terrorists might make Sean Hannity feel better, but it hurts the overall goal, which is to reduce their number.

  • MrBiggsEsq

    Yeah, how could people today ever get the idea that an Islam-based society could have problems to be feared?

  • charles k wainwright III

    So in other words you are saying a passive aggressive approach will work better against Islamic extremists than intimidation and outright aggression. I guess we will know when we see how long it will take Iran to develop a nuclear weapon.

  • They mostly came from the west coast and central Africa. As I researched it, just over 10 million slaves were brought to the new world in the 350+ years of the trans-Atlantic slave trade. If the article is right (I wouldn’t exactly bet on it) even with 200,000 muslims slaves is a pretty small percentage. This story is completely inflated.

  • Icepilot

    Absolutely. Remember the half-million crazed Americans gathered around the Washington monument protesting the Amish aggressions?

  • EqualTime

    Is the President holding back on identified criminals (I think “terrorists” gives them too much credit)? Are you suggesting we send our troops into Syria or back to Iraq? Maybe attack Iran? Easy to criticise, not so easy to offer viable alternatives. Thanks for the dialogue.

  • RustbeltRick

    If people never get beyond their childhood indoctrination, Jesus’ Great Commission sounds like a fools errand, and evangelicals have wasted a century or two on sending out missionaries. Did you mean to say something that foolish, or were you just looking for a way to crap on Obama’s admission that he indeed underwent a heartfelt conversion to Christianity?

  • Anonymous

    OK. Pick a non-Christian country you’d like to live in. i.e.,a country without a Judaeo-Christian religious/political basis. We would wait, but it’ll be a long time.

  • WeldonScott

    OK. Pick a country that doesn’t use Arabic numbers or al’gebra to live in. i.e., a country without an Islamic mathematics basis. We would wait, but it’ll be a long time.

  • charles k wainwright III

    Would that 10M figure include all of the Americas starting in the 16th century.

  • Morgan

    The evidence for an opposite thesis is more readily apparent, and it is simple and straightforward:

    Since 9/11/2001, America has had to be introduced to Islam, and only now is any real understanding of the ‘Religion of Peace’ beginning to occur. This would appear to be unnecessary if there had been any real presence of Islam in America since the 1700’s.

    It follows that Americans knew next to nothing about Islam until 9/11, and therefore Islam has had little or no influence on America as a whole.

  • I think so but not 100% sure.

  • charles k wainwright III

    One man’s garbage is another man’s gold. You may take it either way according to your personal mindset because clearly neither can be all right or all wrong.

  • Leigh

    I’d rather pick a country that doesn’t make all its decisions based on the supernatural. Of any kind.

  • Leigh

    How about a society based on rationality and sanity, without having to answer to anybody’s supernatural tales?

  • MrBiggsEsq

    Yes, officially atheistic societies are always spectacularly rational and halcyon places (see: Pol Pot, Maoist Revolutionary China, North Korea, Marxist hell-holes).

  • Touma

    Well, to be fair, most Americans are not that familiar with Catholicism, despite it being the second largest sect of Christianity in the country, and has had strong ties in the US since colonial times. Things get forgotten over time.

  • Touma

    Change it to “Any society will have problems to be feared” to be most accurate.

  • Leigh

    I think the leaders/governments you just mentioned are just as bad as societies that based their decisions on what their deity told them to do, like go on murderous multiple Crusades, burn people at the stake, stone people to death, imprison people for life for blasphemy, etc. Actually, I think the latter are worse, and here’s why. Atheists do not kill in the name of atheism, but rather to hold and consolidate power. BUT…religious fanatics DO kill and have killed countless numbers over the centuries, in the name of their deity, all while claiming the “holy” mantle of morality and goodness.

  • mike3

    so where was all the ‘fear’ of islam pre-9/11. this didn’t just materialize because they aren’t white.
    the kid going on trial today could pass for a WASP. didn’t some of his high school classmates describe him as an angel? I guess they didn’t know he was muslim?

  • mike3

    lol. first of all ‘arabic numbers’ or at least the concept of zero was a hindu creation. they are just called Arabic because that is who brought them to the Europeans. it’s kind of like Columbus naming the natives in the western hemisphere Indians.

  • mike3

    i’ll take a secular country any day.

  • mike3

    I see muslims trying to stretch this narrative as far as they can. they like to mention that morocco was the first country to recognize America. jeffersons Koran, http://www.islamophobiatoday.com/2013/10/05/our-founding-fathers-included-islam/
    then some muslim ‘driver’ who fought in the war of 1812. even some guy who own land in Manhattan who they say may be related to the Vanderbilt’s. all very insignificant, plus are they saying if there weren’t muslims in America before, they shouldn’t be welcomed now? what difference does it make.

  • MrBiggsEsq

    But they do, Leigh, they do kill in ‘the name’ of atheism, in the real, de facto sense that since they are free to do whatever they want morally because there are no spiritual/karmic/eternal consequences (for their evil acts) in the atheistic paradigm. When Christians murder it is in direct contradiction to the ethos enjoined and lived by Christ Himself; Christians who do otherwise are ‘anti-Christian’ by definition, if not nominally. I will only speak for those in the Judeo-Christian tradition. Atheists haven’t violated any value system when they kill political ‘malcontents’ in those political situations I mentioned. People who bucked the system in Maoist times were only considered to be deserving of execution when they suffered it. The State was all; atheists (like yourself) only worship themselves, really, when it gets down to it. To atheists, people are only animated meat for a while, then reductions to nothingness. The spirit is denied. How disordered, and how truly, tragically, sad…..

  • Leigh

    So you think atheists all kill randomly, whenever they feel like it, they rob and rape and burn wantonly because they have no “moral code”. I am sure a great number of atheists would be vilely insulted by your viewpoint. I also think you do a number of Christians a great disservice because you infer that they do not kill, rob, rape and burn wantonly only because God will throw them in hell if they do, and that is the ONLY thing keeping them from doing these crimes. They want to fly around in heaven with the Lord, not burn for eternity in hell, so they behave themselves. This is what you are inferring.
    And because atheists do not believe in a glorious heaven or a hideous hell, they are free to kill, rob, rape and burn.

    I disagree.

    I repeat, atheists do not murder because their victims refuse to becomes atheists. They murder to hold and consolidate their power.

    It is religious groups, Christians included, who have murdered people because their victims refuse to convert to (whatever religion is doing the killing). And that to me is far worse because it is THEY who claim the “high moral road”.

  • MrBiggsEsq

    I hate to be personal, but you’re a crashing bore, and rather slow-witted, Leigh. Now you can go back to your Elizabeth Warren fund-raising activities…….

  • Kathy K-m

    Lmao. That America had to be RE-introduced to Islam, after 9/11, is the fault of the less-than-educated Americans.
    In fact, less than 50 years ago, some rather famous Americans like Malcolm X and Muhammad Ali were converting, as well as peaceniks, like Cat Stevens. (A Brit but famous in the U.S.)
    We all knew about it then. It was much discussed and pretty well understood, especially the ideological differences between traditional Islam and Elijah Muhammed and his Muslim Brotherhood. Trending big, as one might say.
    Just because YOU didn’t notice it (Yikes?!) doesn’t mean it wasn’t there.

  • Kathy K-m

    Pre 9/11, U.S citizens didn’t give much of a thought to geopolitics, and really, that’s what all this is about. A century’s worth of lousy foreign policy decisions.
    Post 9/11, it became much easier to STILL not concern themselves with such tricky concepts, but just blame the religion.
    There was no pre 9/11 fear of Islam. There should be none now.
    All that does is distract the focus off the real issues. (and there are many)

  • Kathy K-m

    You know, as you’re sitting in your bombed out home in Iraq, weeping over the bodies of your dead children, after living in 12 years of some Christian/Western nuts claiming to be bringing you freedom, you’re probably getting a little pissed. Quelle surprize.

  • Kathy K-m

    No, Leigh. There is no “far worse”. Even as a fellow atheist, murder is murder is murder. There has been no successful atheist political regime, and we need to own that.
    While, technically, those atheists did not kill others, in an attempt at conversion to atheism, they did kill the religious, for being religious (and those religious, could probably have saved their lives, if they had converted) so it amounts to the same thing.
    There “good” atheists and “bad” atheists, just as there are “good” and “bad” people of faith. We have no particular moral high ground, although many of us like to pretend otherwise.
    We atheists who have been around a while, didn’t get respect and acceptance, by denying reality. We addressed it. (and we sure as hell didn’t take up some anti-theist banner. That position is illogical, irrational and not based on facts.)

  • mike3

    you don’t think American didn’t give much thought to the 73 oil embargo? the 79 hostage crisis? the 83 bombing in Beirut? the disco bombing in berlin? Lockerbie? all the hijackings and kidnappings all through the 80s? the 93 WTC bombing?
    no I think 9/11 was the big straw.
    you don’t think the wahhabists/deobandi/salafists should be a concern?
    why is it you think there should be no fear/concern for the goal of islam? do you know anything about islam?

  • Kathy K-m

    Change it to “Any HUMAN society will have problems to be feared”. I think the bonobo’s are doing okay. 🙂

  • Kathy K-m

    Isn’t it funny how Obama is critiqued for this “tacit support” (because he’s a little reluctant to randomly bomb the crap out of places?), while the Bush family has been BFF’s with the Saud’s, for decades. And in case y’all missed it, most of those 9/11 hijackers, including BL, were Saudi’s. That’s not a coincidence.
    I do not envy Mr Obama. Trying to balance basic human compassion, with the very wise thinking of “We’re gonna end up “helping” these people to death”.
    America has never been successful at meddling in other countries affairs. Isn’t it time they stopped? Or stop wondering why everybody hates them?

  • mike3

    you should call 877-why-islam. they have a book called ‘towards understanding islam’ that they will send you. I don’t have it with me so I can’t quote it directly, but under the heading, ‘what does it mean to deny god’. they conclude with a paragraph that goes a little some thing like this:
    these people will not succeed in anything they do, their family and finances will be in shambles. they will bring failure an misery not only to them selves but those around them. the will shed blood with impunity. death and destruction will be sure to follow them. they will oppress everyone around them and something about treachery….
    it is so ironic it is nearly unbelievable. it is distributed by the Islamic Circle of North Americans. and it was even revised after 9/11 in 2005. the on the second to last page they talk about how islam is not racist. it then says one can not even today imagine a black man being president in America. and they sent it to me in like 2010 or 11.
    their arrogance is hilarious.

  • Kathy K-m

    There are, maybe, 20-25,000 ISIS troops. Iran is more than well-equipped to handle them, and THEY have a dog in this fight. Stop listening to Israel’s paranoid rantings. Iran doesn’t like the U.S. and there’s some really good reasons for that. (you started it, in the 1950’s. Google the rest) It’s time to put this crap to bed and start fresh. Iran can be a powerful ally, and “we” should stop keeping from the table, because Israel says so.

  • Kathy K-m

    Prophet Muhammed is on the SCOTUS building, whenever that was built. Clearly they had some influence or, at least, the religion was acknowledged and respected.

  • mike3

    yes, and so is Moses and so is Draco and Confucius. and there were two statues of Muhammad on courthouses in NY. taken down because UN ambassadors complained. and CAIR tried to get the one on the supreme court building removed but Rehnquist stood up to them.
    it is a frieze of 16 or 19 ancient law givers. that means nothing. that is like saying roman paganism is respected because the statue of liberty is a roman goddess. so Washington was a pharaoh?

  • MrBiggsEsq

    Kathy, clearly you’re an anti-Semitic bigot….’Free Palestine’…..if only you could be shipped over to the Middle East and be schooled by the men there on conduct becoming a woman, and then get back to us…..

  • Morgan

    You just made my point – the blog is about historical Islam (pre-1800), not modern Islam.

  • mike3

    how sad that you are only a moral person out of fear.

    “Atheists haven’t violated any value system when they kill political ‘malcontents'” of course they have violated a value system, a human system that has taken shape often despite of religion.

  • Darren

    “The point of the president’s comments is, of course, that millions of Muslims live and prosper in America, and that they, not ISIS, Al-Qaeda, or other jihadists, are representative Muslims. America, and the American government, welcomes these Muslims here as friends and fellow citizens. This, in my opinion, is correct, and is just the sort of thing that the president needs to emphasize over and over.”
    What needs to be emphasized, over and over again is that we are a Christian nation and *as such* have welcomed Muslims into our country as equals.

  • charles k wainwright III

    You are right they could be a powerful ally or they could be a powerful enemy. I think which one is above your and my pay grade. However, based on the Koran I don’t think I would ever trust an Islamic state. To believe they could be an ally would be the antithesis of their religion. You are right, even disregarding their religion that we are infidels, they do have historical reasons to hate us. But I guess anything is possible. I simply fear Obama and Kerry are going to be like the frog in water on the stove — they won’t realize how hot it is getting until it is too late and can’t survive. It is a command in the Koran to be patient and deceive infidels until the Muslims can prevail. Christians of course ignore, thankfully in many instances, much of the Bible, but it is hard to tell which Muslims adhere to which parts of the Koran.

  • WeldonScott

    Don’t forget, evangelistic salvation cults are Greco-pagan concepts, long before the Christian™ label was slapped on.

    […] they perform their ritual, and persuade not only individuals, but whole cities, that expiations and atonements for sin may be made by sacrifices and amusements which fill a vacant hour, and are equally at the service of the living and the dead; the latter sort they call mysteries, and they redeem us from the pains of hell, but if we neglect them no one knows what awaits us.

    Plato (4th century BCE) The Republic. Book II.
    classics.mit.edu/Plato/republic.html

  • Guthrum

    The Muslims, Catholics, or the Orthodox Jews are not the power. While they are large, well organized, and influential to a certain extent, one needs to look at the powerful history and dominance of the Masons – Knights Templar. Watch a History Channel.program: “Masons- the Beginning”. This is fascinating and very educational.
    In these times it is very important that support for Israel not waiver. This is not meant as some slam or put down of Islam. See the video by Pastor Hagee: “Israel In Prophesy”; also his excellent book “Four Blood Moons: Something Is About to Change”
    If our government ever stops support and alliance with Israel, God will no longer bless this great nation.

  • WeldonScott
  • Guthrum

    Look at the founding fathers of this country. All were Christians.Many were pastors. They sought to found a country that was free from the Catholic church, which had gotten away from Biblical authority and was under papal authority.
    The influence and power of the Masons – Knights Templar cannot be ignored. Look at the layout of Washington, D.C. Many of the buildings were designed and constructed by the Masons. Our founding documents have Masonic codes throughout them. Look at our currency with its Masonic symbology.
    Columbus was on a holy mission to find the promised land ! He thought that he had found it. This would be the holy place for God’s people. Now he is reviled as some sort of violent criminal !
    Israel by Biblical definition is not a place. It is a nation of God’s people. Think about that. Christians are Israel !
    You won’t see this kind of information on the propaganda network news stations. There is an account in the Bible about a king who let the ruler of another country in. The ruler was able to see the defensive layouts of the city, the weapons, and number of soldiers, their water and food storage locations. They took this information (today we call it intelligence) and in a short time attacked and defeated that country. Our leaders would do wise about letting just anyone into this country and stay, whether they are loyal or not. Now there terrorist cells set up. And our government admits they have no idea where they are at or their strength.

  • Guthrum

    So now we will sit back and watch Iran take over. Iran with nuclear weapons.

  • Guthrum

    What you are talking about is the Catholic church of the middle ages. It was so corrupted that God spoke to a monk named Luther and told him to reform His church to Biblical authority. With few, very few exceptions involving misguided individuals who later admitted their grave errors (Salem), the Christian church of the Reformation did not kill or torture. Cromwell’s acts were of a political cause, not religious.

  • TheSquirrel

    “To atheists, people are only animated meat for a while, then reductions to nothingness.”
    Another non atheist telling us atheists what we think. Priceless. People are more than animated meat to me. They are friends, family, co-workers, human beings with the same comprehension and empathy that I have.

  • MrBiggsEsq

    Obviously, ‘animated meat’ doesn’t imply here that I think people aren’t valued and valuable, as ‘friends’, and so on. It means that when we die, nothing remains, no spirit, no eternal life, no differently than when a piece of paper disintegrates or a flower wilts. I will pray for you, friend….

  • MrBiggsEsq

    Yeah, my comment never says or implies what you said it does. Atheists, again–get it straight–are responsible for far, far, far more mayhem/murder in the 20th C than religiously-informed people. Since you reject religiosity because of what you call ‘religion-based’ violence, why can’t I reject atheism because of observed atheistic violence using the same deductions? Own it, Leigh…..

  • MrBiggsEsq

    Lots of religious persons have been murdered by atheists who demand that they reject their religiosity (see: Communism, Marxism, North Korea)

  • TheSquirrel

    If you want to think about me that’s fine, but it’s hardly necessary. There are only so many hours in a day, save your prayers for those that need the intervention of an all powerful being, on the off chance it does any good.
    There is no reason to think souls or an afterlife exists. If you want to believe such because it makes you happy or whatever that’s fine. But let’s not go making fun at people who decide not to believe things that have no evidence. Such a position is simply rational, and rationality is something this world could use more of.

  • mike3

    I won’t forget. much of our culture is based on Hellenistic philosophy. but see, that is why islam is not woven into the fabric of America. they widely reject Hellenism, and even the idea of a republic. see al-ghazali and his book: “the incoherence of philosophers” written during the ‘golden age’ of islam.
    we can keep their numbers (thank you hindus) and algebra (thank you muslims for your confusing inheritance laws that lead to the creation of algebra) and several other things while rejecting their form of governance, especially sharia with it’s hadd punishments and now outdated inheritance laws and the khalif.
    but if anonymous whats to take you up on that challenge, s/he could move to the rainforest and try to track down that tribe that doesn’t count past 3.

  • Nemo

    Japan, for starters. South Korea.
    Furthermore, many European countries have abandoned the Bible as a basis for law, and their main problem comes from Islam, a religion, rather than the sort of anarchy that dominionists like to fearmonger about.

  • Nemo

    When Arnaud Amauric told his men “slay them all, the Lord will know his own”, he was borrowing from the words of Jesus who frequently advocated the destruction of entire cultures (bear in mind, Jesus claimed to be the same deity of the Torah, so if you take that claim seriously, then it was Jesus who said to keep the little girls for yourself ;)). He clearly believed in a deity who would torture nonworshippers for all eternity, and would reward those who did believe. Not once did Jesus denounce any of the violence advocated by the Torah. He occasionally changed the topic when it was brought up, and even kinda implied that the Pharisees were making it up at one point*, but never denounced it.
    * Oddly enough, the scholarly consensus for the Book of Leviticus is that it was written by the priests of the Second Temple.

  • MrBiggsEsq

    I never made fun of you. And there is every reason to believe. Perhaps your perceptions will change one day. It could happen. I once played a short scene from a Mozart opera to a class, after much front-loading, and virtually all were bored and judged it to be a waste of time and ‘wack.’ Later a single student came to like it and much later still said he had discovered a new world in music since. If you had asked those students, Mozartians were only deluded, misguided losers incomprehensibly enthralled by crap. Who was right?

  • MrBiggsEsq

    You are the kind of atheist I can respect. Well done….

  • MrBiggsEsq

    Even if this commentary were true, it doesn’t change my processing of atheism as culpable for great injustices…..

  • TheSquirrel

    I have already changed perception. I used to believe in spirits, but I don’t any longer. Developing a taste for a type of music is hardly the same thing as finding objective reasons to believe in spirits.
    Every reason to believe, you say. Care to expand on that?

  • TheSquirrel

    I got the impression you were looking down on those who don’t believe in spirits, not actually a jab at me as much. If that is not the case I do apologize. Misunderstandings do occur on the internet.

  • charles k wainwright III

    Sorry for the delay in responding weather being what it is. Without crapping on his “heartfelt conversion”, it is hard to know what to believe or not believe about what Obama says. Clearly his track record for verbal veracity makes his verbiage suspect.

  • JP

    Islam isn’t a race. Good grief.

  • JP

    You know, the other day I was thinking of all of those Islamic democracies that open Jews and Christians with open arms giving them equal rights and safe place to live.

  • MrBiggsEsq

    I’m sorry my exemplum is lost on you. It’s not just about liking new music….. Good luck for now….

  • TheSquirrel

    It’s not lost on me. It’s a bad analogy and anecdotal besides.

  • Kathy K-m

    Thank you for proving my point, I guess. You still can’t manage to see beyond “religion” to geopolitics. The U.S. overthrew the democratically elected government of Iran, and installed & supported that oppressive bastard, the Shah. When he was run out, the U.S. refused to extradite him. You think THAT is religiously motivation? (we won’t even get into the U.S. selling WMD’s to Iraq, in the 80’s, knowing full well who they’d be used on)
    Let me ask you this….Would you consider WW1, WWll, Korea, Vietnam “religious wars”? I mean, using your “logic” most of the people fighting in them WERE Christians. We should probably then fear Christianity, shouldn’t we?
    I most certainly DO know Islam, and they aren’t kidding when they call it “the religion of peace”. Of course, they called Christ the “prince of peace” and look at all the awful stuff carried out in his name. (past & present)
    I don’t fear Islam BECAUSE I know it. I know it’s 1.4 BILLION adherents are peaceful, compassionate, loving people, or at least, like most Christians, they’re trying to be. They are as appalled by how their faith is being perverted, and speak out about it, loudly and constantly. (more than I can say about Christians, over abortion clinic bombings, doctor shootings or the situation in Uganda)
    I know the teachings do not support forced conversion, and they sure as hell don’t support what’s taking place now. They don’t have a “take over the world” goal, except in the mind of some loons.
    I don’t fear Islam. I fear the American mindset that refuses to self-reflect and/or admit they were ever, EVER wrong. The mindset that allows them oppress and support oppressors, then cry “victim”, when the oppressed actually fight back. The mindset that simply doesn’t see the pretty obvious connections between unjustifiably invading a country in 2003, and what’s happening right now.
    Poor Mr Obama is between a rock and hard place, right now. He’s reaching out to repair the 60 years of bad blood between Iran/U.S., and he’s getting a hard time for it. The truth is, Iran could take care of ISIS, in no time, and it’s THEIR neck of the woods. Why wouldn’t you let them?
    No. I don’t fear Islam. I fear the “world police” attitude of the U.S, and the fact they don’t even seem to be aware they’re doing it.

  • mike3

    yes, Christians should be feared, especially the Dominionists. yes we are all well aware of the shah. yeah, cater should have sent him back. instead he called him a great man like a week before the revolution. so under that logic central america should be producing the same type of terrorists.

    right, no forced conversations, 2:256, just an attempt to humiliate and tax people into conversation. http://islamqa.info/en/43087

    or you can go back to the ‘book of jihad’ by ibn nuhaas. you ever read that? so the muslims invaded Egypt in the 7th century because of America foreign policy? took down the Persian and the Byzantines? invaded spain and india? the caliphate timur beheaded 70,000 Christians in Tikrit and 90.000 in Bagdad in the 15th century. history seems to be repeating itself. the Sikh massacres of 1764 and 66? so they blow up 5,000 year old buddhas and enslave yazidis because of American foreign policy? they smash a 9th century BC Assyrian winged bull because of American foreign policy? sure you don’t want to mention british colonialism and sykes-picot? come on.

  • Kathy K-m

    Okay. You’re gonna ignore what happened less than a hundred years ago, and focus on what happened in the 7th & 15th century’s? Lmao. Typical. (and don’t get me started on those Sikhs. Remember when THEY were the “terrorists” that everyone feared, back in the 80’s-90’s? Blew a damned passenger plane out of the sky! Were trying for 2, if I’m not mistaken.)
    And I don’t think there’s any denying that British/European colonialism is catching up to them, as this house of cards collapses. Quelle surprize. Muslims have long been treated as second-class citizens in Europe, except the ones with money. “We” will overlook any cruel regime, if it keeps the oil flowing.
    As for Central/South America? Again, lmfao. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but you ain’t exactly the belle of the ball, in these parts. (I’m in SA, at the moment, so I”m quite aware of the attitude towards the U.S.) Was it Argentina or Venezuela who made Bush & Cheney persona-non-grata this week? And changed the visa requirements for U.S. citizens.
    They’ve had their revolutions, and once the U.S. pulled back their support of the lousy, corrupt, brutal right-wing regimes, it was a fair fight.
    Because of “oil interests” and that yammering whiner, Israel, you’ve never really done that in the Middle East.
    You should try it. Let sovereign nations run their own affairs. Don’t invade them…not even for a few minutes, to kill somebody you really, really don’t like.
    If you don’t like their politics/religion, tough shit. It’s not like one can look at the U.S. way of doing things and say “Wow…that’s working out sooooo well, I wanna copy that.”.
    Btw, I am not, in anyway justifying destruction of artworks or killing people. Neither does Islam. (and please, don’t send me your cherry-picked, out of context verses, from some anti-Islam website. Do you know how many Bible verses can be used to justify violence, in the wrong hands? Where they have ended up, on more than a few occasions.)

  • mike3

    yes air Canada? flight 181?

    “You’re gonna ignore what happened less than a hundred years ago, and focus on what happened in the 7th & 15th century’s? Lmao” no I’m not ignoring anything. if islam is a ‘religion of peace’ it shouldn’t have a violent history, or a violent present. you seem to be the one ignoring things?

    is SA south Africa? or do you mean Saudi Arabia or south America?

    “Let sovereign nations run their own affairs” I’m all for it.

    “Neither does Islam.” now I’m lmao. Muhammad destroyed 360 pagan idols when conquering mecca. I think your knowledge of islam is lacking?

    “anti-Islam website.” what anti-muslim website have I ever sent you. islamqa.info/en is a website run by an Islamic scholar.

  • Leigh

    Again, atheists do not kill in the name of atheism. Religious fanatics DO kill in the name of their deity.
    Owned.

  • Leigh

    The Christian church of the Reformation did not kill or torture? Maybe you should read Martin Luther’s “The Jews and Their Lies”, written in 1543. Luther had hoped to convert the Jews to his “pure Christianity”. When he could not, he turned against them, referring to the as “the Devil’s People”, and “Christ-killers”. He was one of the religious leaders that had a big influence on the virulent anti-Semitism of Hitler and others.

    Protestantism is by no means sacred and pure, my friend.

  • Leigh

    Many of the Founding Father were not Christians, but Deists, as well as Freemasons. And many Christians consider Freemasons to be Satanic.

  • Leigh

    Murdering in the name of a deity that supposedly stands for peace, indeed is referred to as “the Prince of Peace”, isn’t worse than a faithless greedy tyrant murdering because he wants to hold on to his power? Seriously? You don’t see the ugly hypocrisy in the former?

  • MrBiggsEsq

    again, you don’t understand the story at all and I’m not going to explain….you obviously don’t have a subtle mind….that’s why God eludes you….

  • TheSquirrel

    Ah. Now you insult me. Very well. Don’t explain. Don’t provide the reasons you claim exist to believe in spirits, either. No explanation is necessary, as I said, I understand perfectly. You are using the change in a preference of music to illustrate a change of opinion on the existence of spirits, the first of which is a subjective opinion and the second of which is a question of objective fact and requires reason. You say there are reasons and in the same breath refuse to give them. It is my experience that this is because you do not actually have reasons to give.
    As I said, if you choose to believe in spirits because it makes you feel better that’s fine. But you betray your feelings of contempt when you refuse to provide evidence which you claim exists and then insult me for not believing you.
    Have a good day.

  • Neither are Catholics

  • KoreanKat

    We are supposed to be a secular country. I don’t want any religion “woven” into it.

    Most these defenses of Islam are just attempts by people on the left to keep religion in politics for the sake a grand ‘big tent’ strategy, a fact underscored by the sheer venom directed at atheist/non-believers who rock the boat.

  • KoreanKat

    Just so you know when you meet criticism of Islam by changing the subject to Christianity, you are just admitting how bad Islam is that defending it in and of itself is impossible.

  • WeldonScott

    Islam is as morally reprehensible as any other Abrahamic religion.
    awkwardmomentsbible.com/slipperyslope/

  • KoreanKat

    I agree, but the point is rather than just say that flat out, there is a reflex driven by political sensitivities to mention or draw an equivalency with Christianity. It is a pet peeve of mine.

    I actually thought the cartoon was pretty funny, but would be better dropped on some Christian blowhard going on about how Jesus was the Prince of Peace.

  • WeldonScott

    Islam needs what happened to Christianity: an Enlightenment era.

  • Yes, however Muslims tend to be racialized as a group, as were European Catholics- eugenicists were horrified by the idea of Italians, Irish and Slavs and Jews “polluting” the “white race” i.e. upper class Anglo Protestants