Wed 14 Mar, 2007 07:47 am
-By Ted Sampley
U.S. Veteran Dispatch
Democrat Keith Ellison is now officially the first Muslim United
States congressman. True to his pledge, he placed his hand on the Quran, the
Muslim book of jihad and pledged his allegiance to the United States during
his ceremonial swearing-in.
Capitol Hill staff said Ellison's swearing-in photo opportunity
drew more media than they had ever seen in the history of the U.S. House.
Ellison represents the 5th Congressional District of Minnesota.
The Quran Ellison used was no ordinary book. It once belonged to
Thomas Jefferson, third president of the United States and one of America's
founding fathers. Ellison borrowed it from the Rare Book Section of the
Library of Congress. It was one of the 6,500 Jefferson books archived in the
Ellison, who was born in Detroit and converted to Islam while in
college, said he chose to use Jefferson's Quran because it showed that "a
visionary like Jefferson" believed that wisdom could be gleaned from many
There is no doubt Ellison was right about Jefferson believing
wisdom could be "gleaned" from the Muslim Quran. At the time Jefferson owned
the book, he needed to know everything possible about Muslims because he was
about to advocate war against the Islamic "Barbary" states of Morocco,
Algeria, Tunisia and Tripoli.
Ellison's use of Jefferson's Quran as a prop illuminates a subject
once well-known in the history of the United States, but, which today, is
mostly forgotten - the Muslim pirate slavers who over many centuries
enslaved millions of Africans and tens of thousands of Christian Europeans
and Americans in the Islamic "Barbary" states.
Over the course of 10 centuries, Muslim pirates cruised the
African and Mediterranean coastline, pillaging villages and seizing slaves.
The taking of slaves in pre-dawn raids on unsuspecting coastal
villages had a high casualty rate. It was typical of Muslim raiders to kill
off as many of the "non-Muslim" older men and women as possible so the
preferred "booty" of only young women and children could be collected.
Young non-Muslim women were targeted because of their value as
concubines in Islamic markets. Islamic law provides for the sexual interests
of Muslim men by allowing them to take as many as four wives at one time and
to have as many concubines as their fortunes allow.
Boys, as young as 9 or 10 years old, were often mutilated to
create eunuchs who would bring higher prices in the slave markets of the
Middle East. Muslim slave traders created "eunuch stations" along major
African slave routes so the necessary surgery could be performed. It was
estimated that only a small number of the boys subjected to the mutilation
survived after the surgery.
When American colonists rebelled against British rule in 1776,
American merchant ships lost Royal Navy protection. With no American Navy
for protection, American ships were attacked and their Christian crews
enslaved by Muslim pirates operating under the control of the "Dey of
Algiers"--an Islamist warlord ruling Algeria.
Because American commerce in the Mediterranean was being destroyed by the
pirates, the Continental Congress agreed in 1784 to negotiate treaties with
the four Barbary States. Congress appointed a special commission consisting
of John Adams, Thomas Jefferson,
and Benjamin Franklin, to oversee the negotiations.
Lacking the ability to protect its merchant ships in the
Mediterranean, the new America government tried to appease the Muslim
slavers by agreeing to pay tribute and ransoms in order to retrieve seized
American ships and buy the freedom of enslaved sailors.
Adams argued in favor of paying tribute as the cheapest way to get
American commerce in the Mediterranean moving again. Jefferson was opposed.
He believed there would be no end to the demands for tribute and wanted
matters settled "through the medium of war." He proposed a league of trading
nations to force an end to Muslim piracy.
In 1786, Jefferson, then the American ambassador to France, and
Adams, then the American ambassador to Britain, met in London with Sidi Haji
Abdul Rahman Adja, the "Dey of Algiers" ambassador to Britain.
The Americans wanted to negotiate a peace treaty based on
Congress' vote to appease.
During the meeting Jefferson and Adams asked the Dey's ambassador
why Muslims held so much hostility towards America, a nation with which they
had no previous contacts.
In a later meeting with the American Congress, the two future
presidents reported that Ambassador Sidi Haji Abdul Rahman Adja had answered
that Islam "was founded on the Laws of their Prophet, that it was written in
their Quran, 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 (Muslim) who should be slain in
Battle was sure to go to Paradise."
For the following 15 years, the American government paid the
Muslims millions of dollars for the safe passage of American ships or the
return of American hostages. The payments in ransom and tribute amounted to
20 percent of United States government annual revenues in 1800.
Not long after Jefferson's inauguration as president in 1801, he
dispatched a group of frigates to defend American interests in the
Mediterranean, and informed Congress.
Declaring that America was going to spend "millions for defense
but not one cent for tribute," Jefferson pressed the issue by deploying
American Marines and many of America's best warships to the Muslim Barbary
The USS Constitution, USS Constellation, USS Philadelphia, USS
Chesapeake, USS Argus, USS Syren and USS Intrepid all saw action.
In 1805, American Marines marched across the dessert from Egypt
into Tripolitania, forcing the surrender of Tripoli and the freeing of all
During the Jefferson administration, the Muslim Barbary States,
crumbling as a result of intense American naval bombardment and on shore
raids by Marines, finally officially agreed to abandon slavery
Jefferson's victory over the Muslims lives on today in the Marine
Hymn, with the line, "From the halls of Montezuma to the shores of Tripoli,
We will fight our country's battles on the land as on the sea."
It wasn't until 1815 that the problem was fully settled by the
total defeat of all the Muslim slave trading pirates.
Jefferson had been right. The "medium of war" was the only way to
put and end to the Muslim problem. Mr. Ellison was right about Jefferson. He
was a "visionary" wise enough to read and learn about the enemy from their
own Muslim book of Jihad.