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History: America and Islam (A History Lesson for Ron Paul)


US-founding-fathersAugust, 2011; America’s favorite “Crazy Uncle” of the Republican Party was at it again; in an interview with the Des Moines Register, Candidate Paul had this to say about Radical Islam and 9/11:

“I don’t see Islam as our enemy,” Paul said. “I see that motivation is occupation and those who hate us and would like to kill us, they are motivated by our invasion of their land, the support of their dictators that they hate.” Regarding 9/11, Paul said that attacks against the U.S. from Middle Eastern groups at home and abroad can be traced to the foreign presence of U.S. troops, as well as America’s relationships with dictator regimes. Paul referred to a military base in Saudi Arabia, the birthplace of Islam, as a key motivator in the Sept. 11th attacks. Osama bin Laden viewed it as an American desecration of holy land. “After 9/11, (people said) ‘Oh yeah, it’s those very bad people who hate us,’ but 15 of (the hijackers) came from Saudi Arabia,” said Paul. “One of the reasons they attacked us, is we propped up this Sharia government and the fundamentalists hated us for it.” (1)

To borrow a phrase from Ronald Reagan; Mr. Paul, “there you go again!” It was obvious from the most recent Republican debate that Ron Paul has no clue why radical Islam hates us, but it is even clearer from this interview that he has absolutely no understanding of this issue at all. The interesting thing is that Ron Paul loves to dwell upon the United States history of intervention, particularly the U.S. base in Saudi Arabia and the Coup in Iran (of which he conveniently forgets the context) and yet it seems that Mr. Paul needs to revisit his American history again, especially that of the Founding Fathers; if he would do so, he would realize that America has been at war with Islam since the late 1700’s, and it’s not due to intervention. So Mr. Paul, here is a little history lesson for you:

In 1784 American ships started to be attacked by the “Barbary Pirates”, now these were no ordinary pirates, these were Muslim pirates; on top of that, these were not the pirates of Peter Pan and Pirates of the Caribbean, those rapscallions who are free from allegiance. On the contrary these pirates were under allegiance to the Barbary States, whose rulers demanded that the United States pay tribute to them immediately, and annually.

Now before taking military action, the United States tried Mr. Paul’s favorite solution to everything, diplomacy; and what the ambassadors (Thomas Jefferson and John Adams) found was pretty revealing. When Jefferson and Adams asked the ambassador from Tripoli what gave the Pirates the right to attack American ships, killing and taking hostage its occupants, they were told:

“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.” (2) Jefferson argued to his fellow founders that if they paid, all it would do is incentivize the Barbary States to make more demands (not to mention that the tribute would encompass 10% of the United States budget). When debating the construction of the U.S. Constitution, many of the congressional delegates understood the threat that these known Islamic pirates posed towards the colonies and argued that only a “strong federal union” could defend against this threat.

“In The Federalist No. 24, Alexander Hamilton argued that without a “federal navy … of respectable weight … the genius of American Merchants and Navigators would be stifled and lost.” In No. 41, James Madison insisted that only union could guard America’s maritime capacity from “the rapacious demands of pirates and barbarians.” John Jay, in his letters, took a “bring-it-on” approach; he believed that “Algerian Corsairs and the Pirates of Tunis and Tripoli” would compel the feeble American states to unite, since “the more we are ill-treated abroad the more we shall unite and consolidate at home.” (2) When Jefferson became President (1801) he refused to pay the tribute, and instead, sent the U.S. navy after the Pirates, (3) and what followed is known as the Tripolitan War. What must be understood here is that this wasn’t just a conflict; this was an all out legitimate war, one where the United States invaded the land of the sovereign Ottoman Empire and captured the city of Derma (By the way Mr. Paul, this war was never “officially declared”). (4)

Our simple history is that Islam attacked us, and we responded, sound familiar? Another one of America’s early Presidents, John Quincy Adams, had a remarkable insight into Islam and War (Jihad) and he showed it when he said: “…he [Muhammad] declared undistinguishing and exterminating war, as a part of his religion, against all the rest of mankind…The precept of the Koran is, perpetual war against all who deny, that Mahomet is the prophet of God.” (5)

Islamic scholar (the late) Professor Majid Khadduri backed up Adams’ interpretation of Islam in 1955, writing: Thus the jihad may be regarded as Islam’s instrument for carrying out its ultimate objective by turning all people into believers, if not in the prophethood of Muhammad (as in the case of the dhimmis), at least in the belief of God. …The universality of Islam, in its all embracing creed, is imposed on the believers as a continuous process of warfare, psychological and political if not strictly military.” (5)

What we see from this little history lesson is that not only has the United States been at war with Islam since the early days of its existence, but this war was initiated by the Islamists doing what their religion tells them to do. Their hatred of the United States (and the west) was not (and is not) due to intervention into their personal affairs, but rather is the command of their god. That is their reason, and that quite frankly Mr. Paul, will never change.

Selected Sources:

1.    Des Moines Register:

2.   City Journal:

3.   Political Islam:

4.   Heritage Foundation:

5.   Front Page Magazine:

6.  Islam Watch:

7.  Library of Congress:             


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