Phantom thread of Islam in the fabric of America, Part 2: Dubious debt to Islam
By Debra Rae
Religious tolerance is rooted deeply in the American psyche. Historically, Constitutional freedom of religion allows free exercise of the Christian faith while, at the same time, giving place to differing persuasions. In his 1791 autobiography, for example, Benjamin Franklin "did not disapprove" of a Pennsylvania meeting place designed to accommodate preachers of all religions. "Even if the Mufti of Constantinople were to send a missionary to preach Mohammedanism to us," Franklin opined, "he would find a pulpit at his service." The subjunctive mood of Franklin's comment occurs in a counterfactual dependent clause, used to express a state of unreality—i.e., a possibility or action that has not actually occurred. Clearly, Franklin perceived Islamic influence in America to be counterfactual and, therefore, unlikely.
If Muslims and their religious-political system of Islam were intrinsically involved in the founding, growth, and spectacular success of the United States, as some progressives contend, one would expect long term, high visibility to this day. However, even the Executive Director of Michigan's chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, Dawud Walid, admits how unusual it is that Hamtramck boasts a Muslim-majority city council, not to mention more mosques per capita than anywhere else in the country.
By fashioning stories that plant Muslim Americans squarely in the center of our nation's history and culture, the New Encyclopedia of Muslim-American History seeks to rectify indignities toward post-9/11 Muslim Americans who, we're led to believe, are misunderstood, unfairly maligned, and marginalized. With this mindset, President Obama commits to "fighting negative stereotypes against Islam wherever they appear."
Negative Stereotypes Under Fire
By definition, a stereotype is a fixed, but overly simplified viewpoint applied broadly as if it were empirically authenticated when, in fact, it's not. That "all Muslim Americans are terrorists" is a fallacious stereotype to be soundly rejected, as is the odious stereotype, "All Christians are hypocritical hatemongers."
Keep this in mind: Religious dictates are not stereotypes. They're doctrine. Whereas Christians are enjoined to turn the other cheek, and love their enemies, Muslims are charged with fighting, seizing, beleaguering, smiting, and slaying nonbelievers. Endorsed Islamic practices include female genital mutilation, underage/ forced marriage, polygamy, domestic abuse, honor killing, extortion, torture, and lying to achieve one's ends (called taqiyya). Muslim men freely scourge their disobedient wives and, for perceived misbehaviors, engage in honor killings. To quote the Qur'an, faithful devotees "instill terror into the hearts of the unbelievers," "smite them above their necks," and "smite all their finger-tips off them." Now we're talking doctrine (not stereotype), Qur'an (not Bible).
Freedom Under Fire
The philosophical importance of the American Revolution was liberty for all. As eloquently penned by Ralph Waldo Emerson, "Heroes dare to die and leave their children free." Minutemen fought to the death for freedom, not for the death of freedom in some lame attempt to avoid negative stereotypes. It's folly to subjugate "freedom for all" to combat "negative stereotypes for some." Yet heralded in The Muslim Discovery of America as the first permanent Arab Muslim settler in New York, an Egyptian Muslim, named Norsereddine, allegedly perpetrated North America's first Muslim "honor killing." To play the PC card on his behalf is to deny a victim (in this case, Mohawk Indian Princess Lotowana) both life and liberty at the most fundamental level.
One would expect that, if a double standard were applied in "the land of the free," it would favor the biblical principle of freedom. Indeed, in 1892 the U.S. Supreme Court established that "our laws and our institutions must necessarily be based upon the teachings of the Redeemer of Mankind. It is impossible that it should be otherwise; and in this sense and to this extent, our civilization and our institutions are emphatically Christian." Notwithstanding, the Council on Islamic Education, based in California, guides publishers in how to represent Islam favorably, if not accurately, in public school textbooks. Tinsel-Town executives follow similar protocol, as do all segments of politically correct society; yet selective application of the so-called "separation" principle more often than not denies this very courtesy to American Christians.
Our Debt to Islam
Fact is, there's no credible documentation for Muslims having arrived in the Americas five centuries ahead of Christopher Columbus. Still, Dr. Youssef Mroueh claims that Muslims preceded European explorers. To prove this, some assign bogus Arabic-Islamic roots to names of places with no known Muslim past. Allakaket in Alaska, for instance, is not derived from "Allah." It is a Koyukuk Indian name, meaning "mouth of the Alatna River."
Treaties established with the Barbary Kingdoms called for paying tribute to Muslim pirates in exchange for not raiding U.S. cargo ships. What President Obama identifies as the first iftar dinner in the White House was merely the venue for discussing Tunisia's piracy against American merchant ships. Thomas Jefferson's sharing a meal with the Muslim ambassador presumed no Islamic menu.
Legacy of Dishonor
In the 1930s, the Nation of Islam's founding augmented the Muslim American population among African Americans; and it brought Malcolm X, Muhammad Ali, and Louis Farrakhan to the public eye. However, their presumed-to-be "enormous influence on American life and politics" hardly qualifies as a legacy of honor. While portraying white people as "potential humans" who have yet to evolve, Farrakhan applauds Hitler as "a very great man." Claiming not to be anti-white, Malcolm X likewise insisted, "We don't have time for the white man."
Truth that sets free deems all men and women to be equal and endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights. Sadly, our nation fell short of the ideal with legal institution of human chattel. Cruelty toward slaves by some American plantation owners was no less egregious than treatment of Muslim traders who burned escaped slaves at the stake, impaled them on huge iron hooks, or had large wooden poles shoved up their rectums (Don Fredrick, July 2012).
Rather than ignore or reimage unsavory reality, it's far better to face historical facts head on with a mind to combat evil. To embrace America's self-evident, founding truths is to be blessed so as to bless others in turn. By way of example, a foreigner to Judea, the Moabite widow named Ruth, famously professed loyalty to her mother-in-law by embracing Naomi's people and God as her own. In willingly adopting the Hebrew culture and religion, Ruth eventually gained security for Naomi, as well as herself.
In following Ruth's example of assimilation, immigrants today share in the blessings of America's Bible-birthed, God-kissed culture at its best. Our charge as Christian Americans is to humble ourselves, seek God in prayer, and turn from our wicked ways. Then will we hear from heaven; God will forgive our sin, and He will heal our land. That's a promise but, even more, a command.
Debra Rae is a regular contributor to The Intellectual Conservative and this publication. © 2016