In 1796, U.S. Vowed Friendliness With Islam

i_love_my_bff.gif luv my bff image by 14jocelyn_2008

Wait. The Founding Fathers befriended... Muslims? What?! Why, the very idea! Aren't we supposed to sneer at them and persecute them and insult them and burn their books and stuff?

Has the United States ever engaged in a crusade against Islam? No, never. And, what's more, one of the country's earliest diplomatic documents rejects this very idea.

Exactly 210 years ago this week, toward the end of George Washington's second presidential administration, a document was signed with the first of two Barbary Pirate states. Awkwardly titled the "Treaty of Peace and Friendship, signed at Tripoli November 4, 1796 (3 Ramada I, A. H. 1211), and at Algiers January 3, 1797 (4 Rajab, A. H. 1211)," it contains an extraordinary statement of peaceful intent toward Islam.

The agreement's 11th article (out of twelve) reads: As the government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion, - as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion or tranquility of Musselmen, - and as the said States never have entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mahomitan nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries."

In June 1797, the Senate unanimously ratified this treaty, which President John Adams immediately signed into law, making it an authoritative expression of American policy.

Yes, it's true. The United States would have friended the Muslims on Facebook, had it existed back then.

There's a whole lot more where that came from, but here's one more tidbit:

This antique treaty implicitly supports my argument that the United States is not fighting Islam the religion but radical Islam, a totalitarian ideology that did not even exist in 1796.


H/t: Gr8RDH

  • Quentin Daniels

    However, the reverse is not true. Islam IS fighting the United States, and every other country, in which the government is secular, and the people are allowed rights to believe and worship as they please. The tenets of Islam demand that ultimately all men shall acknowledge that there is NO GOD but ALLAH, and that Mohammad is His prophet. The idea of secular government under Islam is, while practiced in Turkey and a few other states - against the teaching of Mohammad and the will of Allah.

    Read the Koran - learn for yourself.

  • YJoseph

    From Wikipedia on Separation of Church and State:

    Given the wide diversity of opinion on Christian theological matters in the newly independent American States, the Constitutional Convention believed a government sanctioned (established) religion would disrupt rather than bind the newly formed union together. George Washington wrote in 1790 to the country's first Jewish congregation, the Touro Synagogue in Newport, Rhode Island to state:

    All possess alike liberty of conscience and immunities of citizenship. It is now no more that toleration is spoken of, as if it were by the indulgence of one class of people, that another enjoyed the exercise of their inherent natural rights. For happily the Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens, in giving it on all occasions their effectual support.

    There were also opponents to the support of any established church even at the state level. In 1773, Isaac Backus, a prominent Baptist minister in New England, observed that when "church and state are separate, the effects are happy, and they do not at all interfere with each other: but where they have been confounded together, no tongue nor pen can fully describe the mischiefs that have ensued." Thomas Jefferson's influential Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom was enacted in 1786, five years before the Bill of Rights.

    In 1789 the Georgia Constitution was amended as follows: "Article IV. Section 10. No person within this state shall, upon any pretense, be deprived of the inestimable privilege of worshipping God in any manner agreeable to his own conscience, nor be compelled to attend any place of worship contrary to his own faith and judgment; nor shall he ever be obliged to pay tithes, taxes, or any other rate, for the building or repairing any place of worship, or for the maintenance of any minister or ministry, contrary to what he believes to be right, or hath voluntarily engaged. To do. No one religious society shall ever be established in this state, in preference to another; nor shall any person be denied the enjoyment of any civil right merely on account of his religious principles."

    From 1780 Massachusetts had a system which required every man to belong to a church, and permitted each church to tax its members, but forbade any law requiring that it be of any particular denomination. This was objected to, as in practice establishing the Congregational Church, the majority denomination, and was abolished in 1833.

  • Guest

    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

    - The Bill of Rights

    While the concept of separation of church and state might be implied by the First Amendment which states that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof....", it says nothing about the "separation of church and state." And, even if you accept the principle of the separation of church and state being implied by the First Amendment, it's implication is not there to protect Americans from religion, it is there to protect religious Americans from the government.

    "It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded, not by religionists but by Christians, not on religions, but on the gospel of Jesus Christ." - Patrick Henry

    "Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers and it is the duty as well as the privilege and interest of a Christian nation to select and prefer Christians for their rulers." - U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice, John Jay

  • Walt

    Well this little bit of factual history won't stop the right wingers from rewriting history. Look how they have slandered the true history of the original "tea party" and exploited it for their own means... with the help from corporate rulers like the Koch brothers of inherited wealth.

  • MrDak

    I keep trying to point this out to folks here that claim our founding fathers and constitution require freedom of religion for Christianity (and sometimes Judaism, depending on the person making the claim) only. In mulitiple writings regarding our freedom of religion (also the "no religious test" in the bit about qualifications for political office) our founding fathers (Jefferson, Madison, Adams, etc.) implicitly included Islam (or "Mahomitan" as you have written in this article), as well as Hindu and others, including Atheism! Anyone denying these freedoms or even implying that our President SHOULDN'T be a Muslim, or anything other than Christian, is, quite frankly, UNAMERICAN! Damn it!

  • Marnie

    Good Get.