Thoughts on the military and military activities of a diverse nature. Free-ranging and eclectic.

Friday, March 16, 2007


This is coolbert:

Keith Ellison, the first Muslim elected to Congress [during the most recent election], took his oath of office with his hand on a Koran that at one time was owned by Thomas Jefferson.

A Koran that had been part of Jefferson’s private library. A library that at the time [late 1700’s], was the largest collection of books in North America.

That Jefferson even POSSESSED a Koran came as a mild surprise to some people.

Islam has always been a minor blip on the American radar screen. Even more so during the time of Jefferson. Almost a total unknown, and NOT of any interest.

It is undeniable that Jefferson was an intellectual of the highest caliber. ONE OF THE GREATEST THINKERS OF ALL TIME??!! Had an insatiable curiosity about all things. To me, it would not be surprising that Jefferson would have had sacred scriptures from world religions in his own personal library. The Bible in several versions, the Koran, the Bhagavad-Gita, etc.

It may also be that this Koran belonging to Jefferson was a valuable tool and reference to be consulted by President Jefferson during an “international crisis” that developed during his time of office.

[the same crisis also occurred during the Presidency of John Adams!]

An “international crisis” involving an Islamic “power”, the Barbary Pirates. Corsairs who attacked “European” shipping in the Mediterranean Sea. Capturing ships, booty, crew and passengers. The latter to be held for ransom or SOLD as slaves!! Corsairs who were being faithful to their Islamic religion.

Corsairs that began to attack American ships which also began to ply Mediterranean waters. [this of course in the aftermath of the American Revolutionary War.]

To BOTH Adams and Jefferson, that the Barbary Pirates of Algiers and Tripoli would attack American shipping was a puzzle to them.

Why was this happening?

The question was posed to the Ambassador [??] of Tripoli in London, “why do you attack us [American ships]? We have done nothing to you!!”

To which this Ambassador had a quick and ready and true answer:

"Ambassador Adja answered them, as they reported to the Continental Congress, 'that it was founded on the Laws of their Prophet, that it was written in their Koran, 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 who should be slain in Battle was sure to go to Paradise.'"

Did President Jefferson use his personal library copy of the Koran for this purpose? To better “understand” the mind-set of the Muslim. I just cannot say. But it would not have been out of the ordinary for persons during that period to refer to scripture as a means of “understanding” something. Southern apologists for slavery as practiced in the United States WERE able to quote you chapter and verse regarding the legality and “justification” for a master and slave relationship, taken in a Biblical context!!

[Consider this also. During the take-over of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, 1979, it is reputed that President Carter began a serious reading of the Koran, in an attempt to better “understand” the motivations of the Iranian hostage takers.]

Now, again, I am going to go back to the “Rampage at Cassino”. The goum running amok and perpetrating murder, rape, pillage. Islamic soldiers behaving true to THEIR culture and scriptural legalism as they perceive it?? The goum, victorious in the Cassino campaign, acting in accordance to their cultural mores in wartime? Booty and the enemy women being fair game for the victor??

I cannot say. Would anyone have a definitive answer to this question? I doubt it.



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