Sunday, September 05, 2010

Jefferson, Adams, and Islam

Thomas Jefferson and John Adams dealt with Islamic fanatics in 1785:

But one cannot get around what Jefferson heard when he went with John Adams to wait upon Tripoli’s ambassador to London in March 1785. When they inquired by what right the Barbary states preyed upon American shipping, enslaving both crews and passengers, America’s two foremost envoys were informed that “it was written in the Koran, that all Nations who should not have acknowledged their authority were sinners, that it was their right and duty to make war upon whoever 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.”
(Jefferson Versus the Muslim Pirates, Christopher Hitchens)

When Jefferson became president fifteen years later, he sent the US Navy to attack the pirates in Tripoli, sending many of them to paradise.

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