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.