What Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and Benjamin Franklin Discovered About Islam That Changed the Course of American History

"After winning its independence from England," says Keith Farrell, "American vessels no longer enjoyed British protection. France, dismayed that the US would not aid it in its war against England, also ceased protection of American ships. The result led to American vessels being raided and plundered by Muslim pirates from the Barbary Coast.

"After agreeing to pay 10% of the new nation's dismal GDP in exchange for passage, attacks continued. Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and Benjamin Franklin were sent as representatives to mediate the problem. It was there that they discovered that the Islamic law the pirates followed made it their duty to attack non-Muslims.

"'The ambassador answered us that [the right] was founded on the Laws of the Prophet, that it was written in their Koran, that all nations who should not have answered 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 Mussulman who should be slain in battle was sure to go to Paradise,' Jefferson wrote to Secretary of State John Jay, explaining peace was not possible.

"Ben Franklin wrote of his experience: 'Nor can the Plundering of Infidels be in that sacred Book (the Qur’an) forbidden, since it is well known from it, that God has given the World, and all that it contains, to his faithful Mussulmen, who are to enjoy it of Right as fast as they conquer it.'

"John Adams, in his report to Jay, wrote of the Muslim prophet Muhammad, and called him a 'military fanatic' who 'denies that laws were made for him; he arrogates everything to himself by force of arms.'

"By the time Jefferson became president the Barbary coast was extorting 25% of US GDP and attacks were still occurring. Jefferson wasted no time in signing a war powers request which launched the US’s entire naval fleet to wage war on the Barbary pirates. Jefferson saw the fleet off, ordering the US sailors to chase the pirates all the way to Tripoli, giving rise to the famed verse from the US Marines’ anthem."

Read Keith Farrell's article in its entirety here: What The Founders Thought About Islam, In Their Own Words.

The Fascinating Relationship Between Nazis and the Islamic World During World War Two

In the prestigious magazine, The Wilson Quarterly, David Motadel, a Research Fellow in History at the University of Cambridge, wrote an article well worth reading entitled, The Swastika and the Crescent. You'll find some excerpts below. (The photograph here is Haj Amin al-Husseini, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, reviewing German troops in Berlin, where al-Husseini lived as Hitler's VIP guest from 1941 to 1945.)

Here are some excerpts from the article:

In 1941, with German troops fighting in North Africa and advancing toward the Middle East, policymakers in Berlin began considering the strategic role of Islam more systematically. In November, German diplomat Eberhard von Stohrer wrote a memo asserting that the Muslim world would soon become important to the overall war. After the defeat of France, he wrote, Germany had gained an “outstanding position” and won sympathy “in the eyes of the Muslims” by fighting Britain, “the suppressor of wide-reaching Islamic areas.” Convinced that Nazi ideology was aligned with “many Islamic principles,” Stohrer claimed that in the Muslim world, Hitler already held a “a pre-eminent position because of his fight against Judaism.” He suggested that there should be “an extensive Islam program,” including a statement about the “general attitude of the Third Reich toward Islam.”

In the following months, as more and more officials in Berlin became convinced of such a scheme, Nazi Germany made significant attempts to promote an alliance with the ‘Muslim world’ against their alleged common enemies: the British Empire, the Soviet Union, America, and the Jews. This policy was first targeted at the populations in North Africa and the Middle East, but was soon expanded toward Muslims in the Balkans and the Soviet Union. In the end, almost all parts of the regime, from the Foreign Office and the Propaganda Ministry to the Wehrmacht and the SS, became involved in the efforts to promote Germany’s as a patron and liberator of Islam.

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After inquiries from the Turkish embassy, which was concerned about legal discrimination against Turks and German citizens of Turkish descent, German authorities issued an internal decree: Turkey was part of Europe; other Middle Eastern countries, including Egypt and Iran, could not claim to be European. This statement soon leaked to the foreign press, and on June 14, 1936, Le Temps reported that Berlin had decided to exempt Turks from the Nuremberg laws, while Iranians, Egyptians, and Iraqis were considered “non-Aryan.” In the coming days, similar articles caused an uproar among Iranian and Egyptian officials.

At once, the German Foreign Office issued a press release stating that the reports were unfounded. The Egyptian and Iranian ambassadors were assured that the Nuremberg laws targeted only Jews. Whereas the Egyptian ambassador had merely requested clarification that Egyptians were not targeted by German racial laws, Tehran’s ambassador demanded a clear statement that Iranians were considered racially related to the Germans. A year earlier, Riza Shah had ordered that his country be called “Iran” instead of “Persia” in international affairs — the name “Iran” is a cognate of “Aryan” and refers to the “Land of the Aryans” — and Iranian officials made no secret that they believed this term useful given that “some countries pride themselves on being Aryan.”

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A number of high-ranking Nazis expressed their sympathy for Islam. Perhaps most fascinated with the faith — and enthusiastic about what he believed to be an affinity between Nazism and Islam — was Heinrich Himmler. Recounting a meeting between Himmler and Hitler in Berlin in February 1943, Edmund Glaise von Horstenau, a Wehrmacht general, noted that Himmler had expressed his disdain for Christianity, while finding Islam “very admirable.” A few months later, Himmler would again “speak about the heroic character of the Mohammedan religion, while expressing his disdain for Christianity, and especially Catholicism,” wrote Horstenau.

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Himmler, who had left the Catholic Church in 1936, bemoaned that Christianity made no promises to soldiers who died in battle, no reward for bravery. Islam, by contrast, was “a religion of people’s soldiers,” a practical faith that provided believers with guidance for everyday life. Himmler, convinced that Muhammad was one of the greatest men in history, had apparently collected biographies of the Prophet, and hoped to visit Muslim countries and continue his studies after the war was won. In discussions with Haj Amin al-Husayni, the legendary Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, who sided with the Axis and moved to Berlin in 1941, from where he called for holy war against the Allies, Himmler lamented the failed invasions by Islamic forces in centuries past which, he said, “depriv[ed] Europe of the flourishing spiritual light and civilization of Islam.”

Hitler showed himself equally fascinated with Islam. After the war, Eva Braun’s sister, Ilse, remembered his frequent discussions on the topic, repeatedly comparing Islam with Christianity in order to devalue the latter. In contrast to Islam, which he saw as a strong and practical faith, he described Christianity as a soft, artificial, weak religion of suffering. Islam was a religion of the here and now, Hitler told his entourage, while Christianity was a religion of a kingdom yet to come — one that was deeply unattractive, compared to the paradise promised by Islam.

For Hitler, religion was a means of supporting human life on earth practically and not an end in itself. “The precepts ordering people to wash, to avoid certain drinks, to fast at appointed dates, to take exercise, to rise with the sun, to climb to the top of the minaret — all these were obligations invented by intelligent people,” he remarked in October 1941 in the presence of Himmler. “The exhortation to fight courageously is also self-explanatory. Observe, by the way, that, as a corollary, the Mussulman [sic] was promised a paradise peopled with houris, where wine flowed in streams — a real earthly paradise,” he enthused. “The Christians, on the other hand, declare themselves satisfied if after their death they are allowed to sing Hallelujahs!”

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Reflecting on history, he (Hitler) described the Islamic reign on the Iberian peninsula as the “most cultured, the most intellectual and in every way best and happiest epoch in Spanish history,” one that was “followed by the period of the persecutions with its unceasing atrocities.”

Hitler expressed this view repeatedly. After the war, Albert Speer remembered that Hitler had been much impressed by a historical interpretation he had learned from some distinguished Muslims:

When the Mohammedans attempted to penetrate beyond France into Central Europe during the eighth century, his visitors had told him [Hitler], they had been driven back at the Battle of Tours. Had the Arabs won this battle, the world would be Mohammedan today. For theirs was a religion that believed in spreading the faith by the sword and subjugating all nations to that faith. The Germanic peoples would have become heirs to that religion. Such a creed was perfectly suited to the Germanic temperament. Hitler said that the conquering Arabs, because of their racial inferiority, would in the long run have been unable to contend with the harsher climate and conditions of the country. They could not have kept down the more vigorous native, so that ultimately not Arabs but Islamized Germans could have stood at the head of this Mohammedan Empire.

While Hitler did not perceive Islam as a “Semitic” religion, the race of its followers remained a silent but persistent problem. To be sure, our knowledge of the ideas about Islam that circulated within the Nazi elite mostly comes from memoirs and postwar testimonies, which must be read with caution. Nonetheless, these accounts draw a remarkably coherent picture of the ideological notions prevalent among the higher echelons of the regime.

Throughout the war years, the Propaganda Ministry repeatedly instructed the press to promote a positive image of Islam. Urging journalists to give credit to the “Islamic world as a cultural factor,” Goebbels in autumn 1942 instructed magazines to discard negative images of Islam, which had been spread by church polemicists for centuries, and instead to promote an alliance with the Islamic world, which was described as both anti-Bolshevik and anti-Jewish. References to similarities between Jews and Muslims, as manifested in the ban of pork and the ritual circumcision, were to be avoided. In the coming months, the Propaganda Ministry decreed that magazines should depict the U.S. as “the enemies of Islam” and stress American and British hostility toward the Muslim religion.

In September 1943, the Nazi Party explicitly stated that it accepted members who were “followers of Islam,” emphasizing that as the party accepted Christians as members, there was no reason to exclude Muslims.

As German troops marched into Muslim-populated war zones in North Africa, the Balkans, and the borderlands of the Soviet Union, German authorities on the ground frequently considered Islam to be of political importance. As early as 1941, the Wehrmacht distributed the military handbook Der Islam to train the troops to behave correctly towards Muslim populations. On the Eastern front, in the Caucasus and in the Crimea, the Germans ordered the rebuilding of mosques and madrasas previously dismantled by Moscow, and the re-establishment of religious rituals and celebrations, with the intention of undermining Soviet rule. German military officials also made extensive efforts to co-opt religious dignitaries in the Eastern territories, the Balkans, and North Africa. Nazi propagandists in these areas tried to use religious rhetoric, vocabulary, and iconography to mobilize Muslims against Germany’s enemies. Perhaps the most important part of this policy was the recruitment of Muslims into the German armies.

In the autumn of 1941, after the failure of Operation Barbarossa and Hitler’s blitzkrieg strategy in the East, Hitler’s military command was confronted with a drastic shortage of manpower. By the end of November 1941, Berlin had registered 743,112 men as dead, wounded, or missing in action — almost a quarter of their entire eastern army. German soldiers, it became clear, could not win the war alone.

In late 1941, the Wehrmacht began recruiting among prisoners of war and the civilian populations in its eastern occupied territories. Azerbaijanis, Turkestanis, Kalmyks, Ukrainians, Georgians, Armenians, and various others fought as part of the Wehrmacht’s so-called Eastern Troops. In mid-1943, the Eastern Troops numbered more than 300,000; a year later, that number had doubled, the vast majority were non-Slavic minorities from the southern fringes of the Soviet empire, and many thousands of them were Muslims from the Caucasus, the Crimea, the Volga-Ural region, and Central Asia. At the same time, Himmler began enlisting non-Germans into the Waffen-SS, first West and North Europeans and later non-Germanic peoples, among them Muslims from Bosnia, Herzegovina, Albania, and from the Soviet Union. It became one of the greatest mobilization campaigns of Muslims led by a non-Muslim power in history.

This recruitment campaign was not the result of long-term strategy, but a consequence of the shift toward short-term planning after the failure of the Barbarossa plan. Most of the recruits were driven by material interests. For many of the Muslim volunteers from the Soviet Union who were recruited in prisoner of war camps, a significant incentive was the prospect of pay and better provisions — fighting for the Germans was an attractive prospect compared to the appalling conditions of the camps. Others, most notably Muslim recruits from the civilian population in the Balkans and the Crimea, hoped to protect their families and villages from partisans. Some were driven into the German ranks by ideology, nationalism, religious hatred, and anti-Bolshevism. Under the banner of the swastika, the volunteers believed that they would be supporting the fight against Bolshevism or British imperialism and for the liberation of their countries from foreign rule. The Germans, for their part, did everything they could to play up the potential ideological motives of their foreign helpers.

In January 1944, Himmler greeted a group of Bosnian Muslim military commanders in Silesia. “What is there to separate the Muslims in Europe and around the world from us Germans? We have common aims. There is no more solid basis for cooperation than common aims and common ideals. For 200 years, Germany has not had the slightest conflict with Islam.” Germany had been friends with Islam, Himmler declared, not just for pragmatic reasons but out of conviction. God — “you say Allah, it is the same” — had sent the Führer, who would first free Europe and then the entire world of the Jews. The head of the SS then evoked alleged common enemies — “the Bolsheviks, England, America, all constantly driven by the Jew.”

German army officials granted their Muslim recruits a wide range of concessions, taking into account the Islamic calendar and religious laws such as ritual slaughter. A prominent role in the units was played by military imams, who were responsible not only for spiritual care but also for political indoctrination. They were educated at special imam courses, which the Wehrmacht and the SS established in Potsdam, Göttingen, Guben, and Dresden.

Initiated primarily to save German blood and balance the drastic shortage of manpower, the commands of the Wehrmacht and the SS also saw a propagandistic value of non-German units, which they hoped would damage the morale in the enemy’s armies and hinterland. German officials insisted that once these units were deployed, they would win over broader Islamic support — showing, in the words of one internal SS report, the “entire Mohammedan world” that the Third Reich was ready to confront the “common enemies of National Socialism and Islam.” This misconception — this notion that Islam was a monolith that need only be activated — dominated the views of the Nazi leadership.

In the end, Muslim units were employed in Stalingrad, Warsaw, and Milan, and in the defense of Berlin.

Read the whole article here: The Swastika and the Crescent.

Why the .45 Caliber 1911 Was Invented

Moro warriors
The .45 caliber 1911 semiautomatic pistol was created to stop Islamic warriors. From 1902 until 1913, the United States fought a war with the "Moro Warriors" in the Philippines. These Islamic warriors were named "Moros" by the Spanish. Their unstoppability was legendary. "In one instance," writes Robert Boatman, "a Moro warrior received 14 bullet wounds in five minutes, three of which penetrated his brain, and yet he fought on."

At the time, the U.S. soldiers were using .38 caliber pistols, which were unable to stop the Moros, so in 1906, they began testing different handguns to find something better.

In 1911, they chose the .45 caliber semiautomatic pistol. It had enough stopping power to kill even a Moro warrior with one shot.

Read more about this interesting piece of history here, here and here.

Why Does the Great Pyramid of Giza Look Unfinished?

The Great Pyramid of Giza was once covered by a smooth, beautifully polished layer of white stone. This outer layer was removed after Egypt was conquered by Islamic armies. The new Muslim inhabitants used the white stone to build mosques and palaces, leaving the ancient pyramids with their somewhat unfinished appearance.

The physicist, John Zajac, wrote: "This protective covering was made up of...hard, white limestone, similar to marble but superior in hardness and in durability against the elements...The casing stones, 144,000 in all, were so brilliant that they could literally be seen from the mountains of Israel hundreds of miles away...The people of the area had viewed the pyramid and its polished stones with awe for centuries. But when a 13th century earthquake loosened some of these casing stones, the Arabs recognized a great quarry of pre-cut stones that could be used to finish off palaces and mosques. For instance, the casing stones were used to rebuild the new city of El Kaherah plus Cairo mosques and palaces, including the Mosque of Sultan Hasan."

Historically, this is standard Islamic operating procedure. Wherever Islam has established itself throughout the world, it has destroyed or defaced monuments that represented the previous (conquered) culture and replaced it with Islamic structures and mosques. Afghanistan used to be Buddhist. Turkey used to be Christian. Pakistan used to be Hindu. The former cultures and any symbols of them were annihilated and replaced by Islamic culture.

Why the New World Was Discovered

Christopher Columbus ran into the American continent while he was looking for a new trade route to China and India. But why was he looking for a trade route?

During Islam's Second Jihad, Muslim forces invaded Central Asia and defeated Constantinople in 1453, cutting off the overland route for Europeans. Islamic armies continued their jihad northward, and conquered much of what is now Eastern Europe, until they were stopped at the gates of Vienna in 1683.

Europe had been trading with the Far East for centuries, and their old overland route now went through territory that was hostile and dangerous to anybody but Muslims. The economy of Europe was threatened with ruin.

So, in 1492 (the year the Moors were defeated, ending the 780-year Muslim occupation of Spain) Columbus set off to find a passage to the Far East (financed by Spain) by boldly sailing West into the unknown. Desperate times call for desperate measures.

What he discovered changed the world.

America's First Foreign War

From the 1500s to the 1800s, the Barbary Coast pirates were raiding oceangoing ships along the North African Mediterranean coastline, taking slaves, capturing people to hold for ransom, and demanding "protection money" from any governments who didn't want their ships to be raided.

Any ships that wanted to do business in the Mediterranean were at risk. Many European countries did the easy thing and paid the protection money to the pirates to avoid being raided, which, of course, helped fund the pirates' operations against anyone who wasn't paying.

The U.S. didn't have the military resources to protect its ships, so it paid the protection money too. This really bothered Thomas Jefferson.

Before he was president, when he was an ambassador to France, Jefferson had a chance to meet with an ambassador from Tripoli (one of the Barbary Coast countries), and he asked why Tripoli attacked U.S. ships. After all, the U.S. had never done anything against Tripoli. The ambassador explained that it was written in the Koran that faithful Muslims must make war on non-believers and it was a religious duty for them to plunder and enslave the non-believers.

Thomas Jefferson was shocked by this, but skeptical. So he bought himself a Koran and read it. He discovered that the Tripoli ambassador had told him the truth.

When he became president in 1801, he knew what he needed to do: He expanded the puny United States Navy so it could protect American ships from piracy in the Mediterranean, and then he sent Marines to the shores of Tripoli and soundly defeated them. America never again paid the pirates protection money.

This was the first foreign war fought by the United States. America's victory was the beginning of the end of the Barbary Coast Pirates.