While this month marks the 104th anniversary of the passenger cruise ship Titanic’s sinking, her demise was set in motion 3,000 years before her fateful voyage.
Some time around 1,000 BCE, snow began falling on Greenland’s western coast, compacting into “firn” which, over decades, compressed into dense glacier ice as newer snow piled upon it. This glacier was slowly forced towards the Arctic Ocean. There, tides began lapping at its edges, breaking off chunks of ice—a process known as “calving”—by which glaciers birth icebergs.
Titanic’s fateful iceberg possibly calved two to three years before its path and the ship’s converged on April 14, 1912.
Thus, Titanic’s fate was cast several millennium before the ship was even a gleam in some marine architect’s eye.
Ironically, America’s demise is playing out in similar fashion. We are on a collision course with an ideological iceberg that calved 1,400 years ago, long before democracy was a gleam in our Founding Fathers’ collective eye.
More than a millennium before America won her independence in 1783, fate had doomed us to fight our first two wars against the same ideology that has caused us to fight our last two: Islam.
American shipping had enjoyed British protection against the Barbary Coast’s Muslim pirates but, with independence, American sailors were left defenseless against the sharp end of the Muslim scepter.
Long before becoming our third president, Thomas Jefferson—disturbed by a long Muslim history of unprovoked, government-sanctioned attacks upon European ships and coastal towns—sought to understand by what authority such violence was justified. To do so, he did something to understand that authority yet to be done by any 2016 U.S. presidential candidate—Jefferson read the Koran.
What the future U.S. president read would be repeated verbally to him years later by a Barbary States’ ambassador during negotiations in 1786 to end the attacks against America. Jefferson, then U.S. ambassador to France, was told such Muslim authority:
“was founded on the Laws of their Prophet, that it was written in their Koran, that all nations who should not have acknowledged 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 [Muslim] who should be slain in Battle was sure to go to Paradise.”
Lacking a U.S. navy, Jefferson had no choice but to agree to pay tribute to the Muslim states. But to emphasize the need for a future navy, he made sure the Muslim ambassador’s message was reported to the Continental Congress which, ultimately, would fund one.
Jefferson’s push for a navy was tied to a link President Barack Obama refuses to make today—Islam sanctions violence and terrorism against Americans, making any peace a temporary one. Jefferson proved right as America fought its first two wars against a Muslim mindset steeped in the religious belief it possessed an inalienable right to do violence to non-Muslims.
Despite Islam’s violent historic track record, Obama keeps asserting it to be a peaceful religion, ignoring any linkage to its violent dark side. Yet, Obama has never been pressed into explaining why he asserts this when history fails to support it.
Because we have a U.S. president who deceives us about the existence of Islamic violence, we need expose links to it he cannot hide.
In 2009, Obama chose Cairo, Egypt, as the site for his “A New Beginning” speech, focusing on America’s relationship with Muslim communities around the world. It was co-hosted both by Cairo University and al-Azhar University. Of the latter, Obama said, “For over a thousand years, al-Azhar has stood as a beacon of Islamic learning.” It is recognized as the oldest and most prestigious school of Islamic jurisprudence in the world.
In this Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2011 file photo, anti-government protesters gathered in Tahrir (Liberation) Square, watch a screen showing U.S. President Barack Obama live on a TV broadcast from Washington, speaking about the situation in Egypt. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
Thus, Obama’s comment would lead us to believe al-Azhar teaches peace and tolerance. That brings us to one of those time-honored Islamic teachings.
In March 2014, Islamic State forces occupying the Syrian town of Raqqa gave Christian residents three choices: convert to Islam; remain Christian but pay a tax (“jizya”); or be put to death. The choices have long been taught as another inalienable right Muslims can demand of non-Muslims.
Efforts have been made to distance this teaching from Islam, including Obama’s CIA Director John Brennan declaring it to be “a perverse and very corrupt interpretation of the Koran [that has] hijacked [Islam and] really distorted the teachings of Muhammad.”
Yet, these draconian choices—known as the “Conditions of Omar”—have their roots in Islam’s holy book. They were memorialized soon after Prophet Muhammad’s death by Caliph Omar bin al-Khattab after successfully invading a Christian community. Omar based them on Koran 9:29’s demand non-Muslims be fought “until they pay the jizya with willing submission and feel themselves subdued.”
The Conditions of Omar do not just represent past thinking. They were re-published in “The Reliance of the Traveller”—a 1991 book on Islamic law to which al-Azhar certified approval of its contents.
Even more disturbing is a leading Egyptian Islamic law scholar and al-Azhar graduate’s explanation why the university refuses to denounce Islamic State as un-Islamic. In November 2015, Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah Nasr said:
“The Islamic State is a byproduct of al-Azhar's programs. So can al-Azhar denounce itself as un-Islamic? Al-Azhar says there must be a caliphate and that it is an obligation for the Muslim world. Al-Azhar teaches the law of apostasy and killing the apostate. Al-Azhar is hostile towards religious minorities, and teaches things like not building churches, etc. Al-Azhar upholds the institution of jizya [extracting tribute from religious minorities]. Al-Azhar teaches stoning people. So can Al-Azhar denounce itself as un-Islamic?”
Like Titanic, an iceberg—this one ideological—calved long ago has been set into motion. It has now entered the path of a democratic ship-of-state, the captain of which, one can only conclude, seeks its ultimate destruction.
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