I always thought that here in America it was cotton that was the fabric of our lives.
Evidently, it was actually Islam.
As you might expect, this correction of my ignorance came from President Obama.
“Here in America,” Obama said during his seemingly endless ranting at the recent summit on violent extremism, “Islam has been woven into the fabric of our country since its founding.”
So it’s a foundation garment.
I’ve always been more of a lingerie fan myself, but then Michelle is a woman of considerable size, and Barry does prefer fantasy to reality.
But the president was apparently being serious, which is striking since he has denied the influence of Judeo-Christian culture on the United States repeatedly, even before he was elected.
“Whatever we once were, we are no longer a Christian nation,” he said back in 2006.
Yet he apparently thinks we are an Islamic nation.
We could go through key points in history and refute Obama’s notion of an Islamic influence one by one, but what would be the point? Reasonably intelligent people already know that Obama is full of it.
Historian David Barton spoke about the issue on Glenn Beck’s program and said, “In all the reading I’ve done, thousands of books, there’s nothing there. I mean, we know that Muslims were the folks who captured the slaves sent to America, largely out of Africa. … The Muslims did the slave hunting and the slave trading, etc. The first Muslims came to America as a result of the Muslims capturing them and sending them to the Dutch traders.”
To be fair, the slave trade was endemic to most societies in the past. The various Islamic kingdoms were exceptionally good at it, though. Not only is slavery legal under Islamic law, but it was vigorously practiced. Every conquest of a neighboring town or kingdom ended with forced conversions and enslavement of those the Muslims didn’t slaughter.
“O Prophet! We have made lawful to thee thy wives to whom thou hast paid their dowers; and those (slaves) whom thy right hand possesses out of the prisoners of war whom Allah has assigned to thee.” — Quran 33:50
Women and girls would be tasked with doing all the menial household chores when they weren’t being raped and sexually abused. Any boys or young men taken as slaves would typically be castrated and used as guards — when they weren’t being raped and sexually abused.
It’s still happening today. The most well-known slavers are ISIS and Boko Haram, but evidence suggests the human trafficking business is going strong all over the Muslim world.
Then there was that Barbary Pirate business, in which the newly forged United States fought its first foreign war against Muslims who — you guessed it — were raiding ships, holding some prisoners for ransom and selling off the rest as slaves.
I’ll even do Mr. Barton one better, since our president so wants us to see Islam as part of the fabric of America.
We do owe them thanks for one more thing, without which there might not have been a United States, at least in its familiar form. That thing is the conquest of Constantinople, the last major holdout of the once-mighty, and Christian, Byzantine Empire.
Leading up to that event in 1453, Prince Henry the Navigator of Portugal had already begun exploring sea trade routes that would let him avoid Muslim entanglements. Once Constantinople fell, the main land route to Asia was effectively closed because the Muslims who were now in charge had a habit of shaking down merchant caravans and exacting heavy tribute. And if they didn’t like what they got, the Muslim raiders would take hostages and — ta da — slaves.
This economic blow to Europe is what inspired many sea trade missions and finally led to Columbus’ voyage to the Americas.
So Islam’s main contribution to “the fabric” of America is its help with the slave trade. While I’m sure many African-Americans now enjoy living here and America is happy to count them among its citizens, I’m equally certain that many people’s ancestors would have preferred not to come here as slaves and that this country would have been better off from the beginning without the slave trade. Roughly 620,000 people died in the Civil War to get rid of it and keep the nation whole.
As far as the intellectual and spiritual foundation of this country, there’s no case to be made for Islamic contribution, unless it’s a negative one.
They didn’t mention it, but Islam could have been one of the religious tyrannies on the Founding Fathers’ minds when they came up with the First Amendment protection of religion and speech. And Islamic-style government might have influenced some of the other Amendments, like protection against unreasonable seizure of property — or the individual right to bear arms.
Whatever patch of fabric President Obama thinks was contributed by Islam to America is mighty threadbare.