Jihad Watch: Obama’s revisionist iftar speech

Hugh Fitzgerald at Jihad Watch today posted an excellent analysis of President Obama’s iftar speech delivered Friday August 13 at the White House. To whet your appetite, here are the opening few paragraphs. The entire article is well worth the read for an understanding of how our administration, and the major media outlets, are determined to rewrite American history.

“The first Muslim ambassador to the United States, from Tunisia, was hosted by President Jefferson, who arranged a sunset dinner for his guest because it was Ramadan — making it the first known iftar at the White House, more than 200 years ago.” — Barack Obama, speaking on August 14, 2010, at the “Annual Iftar Dinner” at the White House

Really? Is that what happened? Was there a “first known iftar at the White House” given by none other than President Thomas Jefferson for the “first Muslim ambassador to the United States”? That’s what Barack Obama and his dutiful speechwriters told the Muslims in attendance at the 2010 “Annual Iftar Dinner,” knowing full well that the remarks would be published for all to see. Apparently Obama, and those who wrote this speech for him, and others who vetted it, find nothing wrong with attempting to convince Americans, as part of their policy of trying to win Muslim hearts and Muslim minds, that American history itself can be rewritten. A little insidious nunc pro tunc backdating, to rewrite American history. And that rewrite of American history has the goal of convincing Americans, in order to please Muslims, that the United States and Islam, that Americans and Muslims, go way back.

As Obama so unforgettably put it in his Cairo Speech (possibly the most inaccurate, the most cavalier about historical truth, of any speech by any President in American history):

As a student of history, I also know civilization’s debt to Islam. It was Islam — at places like Al-Azhar — that carried the light of learning through so many centuries, paving the way for Europe’s Renaissance and Enlightenment. It was innovation in Muslim communities — (applause) — it was innovation in Muslim communities that developed the order of algebra; our magnetic compass and tools of navigation; our mastery of pens and printing; our understanding of how disease spreads and how it can be healed. Islamic culture has given us majestic arches and soaring spires; timeless poetry and cherished music; elegant calligraphy and places of peaceful contemplation. And throughout history, Islam has demonstrated through words and deeds the possibilities of religious tolerance and racial equality. (Applause.)

I also know that Islam has always been a part of America’s story. The first nation to recognize my country was Morocco. In signing the Treaty of Tripoli in 1796, our second President, John Adams, wrote, “The United States has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion or tranquility of Muslims.” And since our founding, American Muslims have enriched the United States. They have fought in our wars, they have served in our government, they have stood for civil rights, they have started businesses, they have taught at our universities, they’ve excelled in our sports arenas, they’ve won Nobel Prizes, built our tallest building, and lit the Olympic Torch. And when the first Muslim American was recently elected to Congress, he took the oath to defend our Constitution using the same Holy Koran that one of our Founding Fathers — Thomas Jefferson — kept in his personal library. (Applause.)

We could go through those two appalling paragraphs with such historians and keen students of history as Gibbon, John Quincy Adams, Tocqueville, Jacob Burckhardt, and Winston Churchill, but that is for another occasion. We could point out that the highly selective quotation – for example from John Adams, whose views on Islam are falsely implied by quoting such a statement as “the United States has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion or tranquility of Muslims” which was mere pleasing rhetoric, and that phrase “in itself” left open the possibility of other reasons for enmity, including Muslim hostility. Not John Adams himself but his son John Quincy Adams (our most learned President), who was far more knowledgeable about Islam, was to write about that:

The precept of the koran is, perpetual war against all who deny, that Mahomet is the prophet of God. The vanquished may purchase their lives, by the payment of tribute; the victorious may be appeased by a false and delusive promise of peace; and the faithful follower of the prophet, may submit to the imperious necessities of defeat: but the command to propagate the Moslem creed by the sword is always obligatory, when it can be made effective. The commands of the prophet may be performed alike, by fraud, or by force.

But John Adams himself drew conclusions about Muslims and Islam that were far from favorable. John Adams’ unfavorable view of Islam was obscured and turned on its head by Obama, in quoting that single phrase that was part of negotiations-cum-treaty designed to free American ships and seaman from the ever-present threat of attack by Muslim pirates in North Africa (known to history as the Barbary Pirates). John Adams’ unfavorable view of Islam was shared by all those who, in the young Republic, had any dealings at all with Muslim envoys. Thomas Jefferson had a copy of the Qur’an in his library not because he was an admirer of that book, or the faith of Islam, but because he was both curious and cultivated. Muslim Congressman Keith Ellison used Jefferson’s own copy of the Qur’an. Yet that copy, since it was translated into English by George Sale, has for most devout Muslims no validity whatsoever, for the Qur’an must be read and understood in Arabic. A Qur’an in a language other than Arabic cannot even be called the “Holy Qur’an,” though apparently Obama, and his speechwriters, did not know this, in their fulsome description of Jefferson’s copy of the Sale translation that was appropriated by Representative Ellison for his own crude and transparent political ploy. Obama wrongly refers to Sales’ version as the “Holy Qur’an,” and every Muslim at that dinner knew such a book could not possibly be called that. A small mistake, but then there are so many mistakes, and Obama and his speechwriters are so eager to please, and yet so ignorant withal, that these mistakes add up.

Read the rest of the article here.

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