The Official Blog Of Edward Cline

Poison Ivy: The Islamification of Thomas Jefferson

Modern academic “scholarship” is similar to kudzu, that uncontrollable weed
or vine that can grow from a single planting and eventually entwine every trunk
and branch within its reach, and link from shrub and hedge to form a canopy
over even a forest that will deny other plants sunlight and rain. Wild kudzu
suffocates and kills. Much like big government. Much like statism.
There has been an ongoing campaign over the decades to find
feet of clay in Thomas Jefferson, in order to discredit and obviate his
position on freedom (e.g., the whole Sally
Hemings
and Jefferson “affair,” the subject of books and movies),
or, failing that, to appropriate him and his reputation for un-Jeffersonian
purposes. The ivy-grown towers of modern academe are really bastions of kudzu. One
must ascend the dying trees with a machete and hack down the canopy, and then
descend again to uproot the killer weed. Vipers like cane snakes and rattlers
hide in the dense scholarly foliage, and even black widows and brown recluses,
ready to strike at anyone careless enough to step on or disturb them. However,
academic kudzu can be further contained and eliminated with the herbicide of
reason.
But, imagine Rudolph Evans’s magnificent statue of Jefferson
in the Jefferson Memorial smothered in kudzu. That’s what academia has been
doing to his life and reputation.
Earlier this month, a very odd and alarming book fell from the
dense foliage, Denise Spellberg’s Thomas
Jefferson’s Qur’an
: The Founders and Islam
.* It purports to prove, or
at least give the public the impression, that Jefferson smiled benevolently
upon Islam, that Islam played a role in the formation of his political
philosophy, that the wisdom to be found in the Koran somehow found its way into the Declaration of Independence.
This is as bizarre a thesis as one which would claim that
Mao’s Little Red Book, Marx’s Das Kapital, and Hitler’s Mein Kampf somehow contributed to the
corpus of literature upholding individual rights, laissez faire capitalism, and
limited government, and that in Mao’s, Hitler’s and Marx’s books can be can be
found the principles which moved Jefferson to compose the Declaration and the
Founders to create the Constitution of the United States.   
When I recently spotted the cover of Spellberg’s book in a bookstore,
the author’s name tickled my memory. Then I remembered: Denise Spellberg was in
the center of a controversy in 2008 about a novel, The
Jewel of Medina
, whose publication in this country was cancelled
because she recommended to the publisher, Random House, that
it not be published lest it offend Muslims and cause more riots and
demonstrations, riots and tumult such as followed the publication of the Danish
Mohammad cartoons. (The novel, whose literary merits or lack of them are not
discussed here, was eventually published by Beaufort Books.)
She recommended, in effect, that Random House self-censor itself by refraining
from publishing a book which Muslims might find offensive. It was
“soft-core pornography, and “ugly” and “stupid” and
was bound to become a “national security issue.”
I had already twice written in 2008 about Spellberg and her
role in that disgraceful episode of cowardice and dhimmitude, in The
Sensitivity Syndrome
and The
Sensitivity Syndrome II
. I did not expect to revisit her career in
2013. 
In 2008, Spellberg, an associate professor of history and
Middle Eastern studies at the University of Texas-Austin, where she teaches
courses on Islamic civilization and Islam in Europe and America,
[h]aving been sent an advance copy [or galley proofs] of The
Jewel of Medina
by Random House, in hopes of her writing a jacket blurb
endorsing the novel, Spellberg’s first action after reading it was to call a
Muslim and guest lecturer in Spellberg’s classes, Shahed Amanullah, to warn him
about the book because, she said, according to the WSJ article, the novel
“made fun of Muslims and their history” and that she found the novel
“incredibly offensive.” Amanullah subsequently emailed other Muslims
about the book, even though he had not read it and was taking her word for it.

The next day Spellberg called Random House/Knopf editor Jane Garrett with dire
warnings about the consequences of publishing the book, calling its scheduled
publication a “declaration of war,” a “national security
issue,” and claiming that the novel was “far more controversial than
[Salman Rushdie’s] The Satanic Verses and the Danish cartoons.”
How anyone could imagine that Jones’ novel could have been any
of those things is only a clue to the inflated importance Spellberg must place
on her role in “building bridges,” multiculturalist
“bridges” which she would not want to see burned in defense of
someone else’s freedom of speech. (And this is one example of how
multiculturalism is anti-Western and a destroyer.)
Denise Spellberg is a
“feminist” and a leftist, and, as with other leftists, has allied
herself with Islam because Islam is copasetic with the left’s totalitarian
mindset, in which all misogynic elements of the creed/ideology are forgiven. She
has appeared at seminars
and conferences over the years with known academic shills for Islam in this
country (e.g., John Esposito of Georgetown University, the director of the Prince
Alwaleed Center for Muslim–Christian Understanding
).  She also wrote Politics,
Gender, and the Islamic Past
: The Legacy of ‘A’isha bint Abi Bakr
, published by Columbia
University Press in 1996.

A Washington Post editorial, “Random
Error
,” of August 22nd, 2008, castigated both Random House
and speech-interventionist Spellberg:
“LIBERTY LIES in the hearts of men and women,” the
great federal judge Learned Hand once wrote. “When it dies there, no
constitution, no law, no court, can save it.” And he was right: Free
societies survive not only because of good government; they also survive
because citizens assert their rights, even when government, or a mob, may
object. Alas, the spirit of liberty needs reinforcement at one distinguished
American book publisher. Random House has canceled publication of “The
Jewel of Medina,” American writer Sherry Jones’s romance novel about the
prophet Muhammad and his wife Aisha. The publisher says it feared a repeat of
the death threats from Iran that greeted Salman Rushdie’s book “The
Satanic Verses” — or riots such as those that broke out in the Muslim
world after a Danish publication printed cartoons of Muhammad.
Lorraine Adams, in her New York Times story about the
capitulation of Random House to Spellberg’s Halloween-like trick on the
publisher (“Thinly
Veiled
,” December 12th 2008), quoted a stung Spellberg from
an August 2008 Wall Street Journal 
article by Asra Nomani (link unavailable unless you pay for it):
The most authoritative contemporary English-language account
of A’isha — “Politics, Gender, and the Islamic Past: The Legacy of A’isha Bint
Abi Bakr” [by Spellberg] — is not listed as one of Jones’s sources. But its
author, Denise Spellberg, played a role in Random House’s decision to abandon
the book. According to a Wall Street Journal op-ed essay last August, “You Still Can’t Write About Muhammad,” Spellberg received
an advance copy, usually sent to solicit a blurb, and responded instead with a
warning that Jones’s novel could incite violence from Muslim extremists. An
associate professor of Islamic history at the University of Texas,
Austin, Spellberg also emphasized that she supported freedom of expression. “I
walked through a metal detector to see ‘Last Temptation of Christ,’ ” she told
the [Wall Street Journal] essay’s author, Asra Q. Nomani. “I don’t have a
problem with historical fiction. I do have a problem with the deliberate
misinterpretation of history. You can’t play with a sacred history and turn it
into soft-core pornography.”
One wants so ask her: Well, darling, which do you really
support? Freedom of speech, or self-censorship in the name of violence
deterrence and not offending Muslims who weren’t likely to read Jones’s book
anyway? You seem to have shouted “Fire!” in a theater when there was
no fire. Is your standing in academia so poor that you felt compelled to
manufacture a crisis, and instill terror in a publisher, in order to draw
attention to yourself?
Interestingly, one jacket blurb on Spellberg’s Thomas Jefferson’s Qur’an was written by
Ali Asani, professor
and director of the Prince
Alwaleed bin Talal Islamic Studies Program at Harvard University
and is also
on the board of directors of Esposito’s “princely” Georgetown Center.
Both entities were founded with Saudi money.
Spellberg’s new book is replete with “maybe’s” and
“perhaps’s” and “it is not known that Jefferson thought this or
that, but…’s” and similar unsubstantiated conjectural statements and
qualifiers about Jefferson and the Koran.
That is, it is a volume of bilious “scholarly” gas that seeks to
sanction Islam by inferring and insinuating, without a scrap of hard evidence,
that Jefferson was friendly to Islam. Which he certainly wasn’t.
Conjectural statements and “imaginings” are the
stuff of fiction, fantasy, and “alternate” histories in the way of Harry Turtledove. But
those, in a nutshell, are what comprise Spellberg’s book. It is a collection of
such statements posing as “scholarship,” the numerous notes and
impressive bibliography to the contrary notwithstanding. They are intended to
pass as evidence, couched in the language of fact, that Islam was a very
special interest of Jefferson’s, and even on the minds of other Founders, so
much so that they went out of their way to ensure that Islam was included in
any legislation that guaranteed religious freedom.
Let us take a look at a few instances. They can represent
others throughout her book.
In the Introduction of Spellberg’s book, “Imagining the
Muslim as Citizen at the Founding of the United States,” she quotes
Jefferson quoting English political philosopher John Locke’s A Letter Concerning Toleration (1689).
[He] said “neither Pagan nor Mahamedan [Muslim] nor Jew ought
to be excluded from the civil rights of the Commonwealth because of his
religion.”
—Thomas Jefferson, quoting John Locke, 1776

As one Amazon reader points out, the pivotal quotation Jefferson noted from
John Locke may be found in Chapter 3, p.106, note 183. The reference is
directly to the Papers of Thomas
Jefferson
, Volume 1, p. 548. To prove that Jefferson considered Muslim
civil rights, Spellberg includes an illustration of Jefferson’s actual
handwritten reference to Muslims from John Locke reproduced on p. 107.
It passes for Spellberg’s trumpeted insinuation that Jefferson
was obsessed with Islam. It is the core premise of her book. Her book is top-heavy
with insinuations. But Jefferson’s reference to Locke in no way supports the
contention that Jefferson was an early Islamophile looking out for the civil
rights of Muslims, and also anticipating the “Islamophobia” that
would exist in the 21st century. She goes on with her
“imaginings,” writing about Jefferson and other Founders:
They did so, however, not for the sake of actual Muslims,
because none were known at the time to live in America. Instead, Jefferson and
others defended Muslim rights for the sake of “imagined Muslims,” the promotion
of whose theoretical citizenship would prove the true universality of American
rights. Indeed, this defense of imagined Muslims would also create political
room to consider the rights of other despised minorities whose numbers in
America, though small, were quite real, namely Jews and Catholics. Although it
was Muslims who embodied the ideal of inclusion, Jews and Catholics were often
linked to them in early American debates, as Jefferson and others fought for the
rights of all non-Protestants.

Later in her book she contradicts herself by claiming that possibly – just possibly – some of the African
slaves brought to North America may have been Muslims, and that perhaps George Washington knew that some
of his slaves were Muslims.
In another instance, under the subtitle, “The First American
Muslims: Race, Slavery, and the Limits of Jefferson’s ‘Universal’ Legislation,”
Spellberg subtly upbraids Jefferson and qualifies her esteem for his Bill for
Establishing Religious Freedom (p. 115). She notes that
While his bill would retain enormous importance for future American
Muslim citizens in the nineteenth, twentieth, and twenty-first centuries, his universal
vision never included the first American Muslims, who in the seventeenth and
eighteenth centuries were West African slaves transported to North America against
their will. Considered by Jefferson to be property rather than citizens, a view
his hero [John] Locke endorsed, these Muslims of African descent enjoyed no
freedoms of any kind. (p. 120)
Jefferson, like other slave-owning Founders, was in the mercantilist
colonial period locked into the role of slavery and even indentured servitude
by British and colonial laws, whether or not he approved of the institution. Other
than by a last will and testament (and this occurred after the U.S. has secured
its independence), in Virginia at least, a slave-owner could manumit or free a single
slave solely by having a bill introduced into the colonial legislature, where
it may or may not have been debated, and, if passed, it was sent to the
Governor’s Council, where it stood the same risk. Then it depended on the veto
or signature of the royally appointed Governor. Slaves could not be freed en masse. Quakers could buy a slave and
free him, but such a former slave had to carry a paper on his person proving he
was a freedman. And he would likely migrate to the north.
Anyway, to return to the issue of slaves and their religion,
Spellberg goes on:
There were certainly more Muslim slaves in eighteenth-century America
than Jews, and possibly more than the twenty-five thousand Catholics in the
United States at its inception. How many Muslim slaves? Their numbers while significant
remain difficult to specify exactly. The historian Michael Gomez observed that
“53 percent of all those imported to North America” were taken from
four areas of West Africa in which “Islam was of varying
consequence.” Of the estimated 481,000 West Africans “imported into British
North America…nearly 255,000 came from areas influenced by Islam.” (p.
121)
I was not familiar with Michael Gomez. I looked up Spellberg’s
citation, and saw that she got her figures from Gomez’s book, Black
Crescent
: The Experience and Legacy of African Muslims in the Americas
.
Then I looked up Gomez,
and was startled to learn that he is a professor of history, ensconced in the Middle
East and Islamic Studies department at New York University. What is his special
interest? Professor Gomez
…continues with the study of the African diaspora by looking
at the ways in which African Muslims negotiated their bondage and freedom
throughout the Americas, but in a way that allows for significant integration
of Islamic Africa. Primarily a cultural and social historian of both Africa and
its diaspora, Gomez is currently in the writing stages of a book on the history
of early and medieval West Africa, with a focus on imperial Songhay. Upon its
completion, he plans to write a comprehensive study of the African diaspora,
within which he will address all attendant arguments and debates. Throughout,
he will remain connected to the Arabic manuscript project underway in Mali,
arguably one of the most important endeavors to develop in the twentieth and
twenty-first centuries.
I looked up his other titles. His work falls under the aegis
of Louis Farrakhan’s racist and super-bigoted Nation of Islam. I suppose his oeuvre
justifies the label “Black Studies.” See here,
here,
here,
and here,
and draw your own conclusions. Could Spellberg not find a more reputable source
for her numbers than a writer vested in a collectivist racist victimhood identity?
On that same page, Spellberg writes:
In contrast, at Mount Vernon plantation, where Jefferson’s
Virginian neighbor George Washington owned more than three hundred slaves, at
least two and possibly four names register a distinct Islamic identity. These include
a mother and daughter, named ‘Fatimer’ and ‘Little Fatimer,’ after the
Prophet’s daughter….
This does not prove that the mother and daughter were wrested from
their Islamic homeland. It was the common practice among slave-brokers or
sellers and also slave-holders to name their slaves for their own convenience.
And Jefferson and Washington were hardly
“neighbors.” The distance between Monticello and Mount Vernon is about
105 miles, as the crow flies, or a two-hour drive. In their time, it might have
taken two-to-three days to travel from one plantation to the other, barring bad
weather and bad roads.
Spellberg devotes time to the negotiations between John Adams,
Jefferson, and the ambassador from Tripoli, Abd al-Rahman, to reach a
settlement concerning Muslim pirates and the status of American seamen captured
by those pirates and put to work as slaves. Here she had a chance to highlight
the treatment of Jews in Western and Islamic nations:
Jews were a significant group in North Africa [they might have
been then; today they are a nearly extinct group on that continent], especially
after their expulsion from Spain in 1492 and from Portugal in 1496. Estimates suggest
that almost two hundred thousand settled in Ottoman territories, encouraged by Muslim
sultans. In contrast to their medieval and early modern persecution throughout
most of Catholic and Protestant Europe, Jews in Islamic lands were defined as
People of the Book according to the Qur’an,
and allowed to practice their faith, often rising to positions of influence at Muslim
courts, whether in medicine, commerce, or diplomacy….(p. 142)
This, of course, has nothing to do with Jefferson. And the
catch, not noted by Spellberg, is that whenever Jews did rise to positions of prominence
in Islamic régimes, it was a status conditional on their knowing their place
and not presuming to see themselves as equals of any Muslim. That rule also
applied to Christians.
The Tripoli ambassador gave Adams and Jefferson an education
in the workings of the Koran and of
the term jihad. From the Papers of Thomas Jefferson, she quotes:
“Tripoli’s bellicosity toward the United States, he allowed,
was founded on the Laws of the 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
Musselman who should be slain in battle was sure to go to Paradise.” (p.
147)
Spellberg notes that
In fact, all of the ambassador’s references to the Qur’an were
accurate, including the precedents for preemptive war against People of the
Book, meaning Christians and Jews (Qur’an 9:29); the taking of captives (Qur’an
47:4); and the heavenly rewards for slain Muslim warriors (Qur’an 2:154). (pp.
146-147)
She then discusses the term jihad:
Variants of the word “jihad” occur in thirty-six
verses of the Qur’an, covering various forms of religious exertion, but there
are only ten explicitly on warfare. Traditionally, jihad is not considered in reference to warfare and killing, the
justification of which was limited to righting wrongs or self-defense. (p. 147)
However, the term “jihad” can be interpreted any way
a Muslim cleric of jihadi wishes to
interpret it. To Hamas, to Hezbollah, to the Muslim Brotherhood, to any number
of “extremist” Islamic gangs, “righting a wrong” means
waging continuous warfare against Israel (which “wrongly occupies”
Palestine, a nation that never existed), and against Jews and infidels
everywhere. And if jihadist clerics and “warriors” (aka terrorists)
wish to adopt the mantra of “self-defense,” they can claim that Islam
is under attack and they are resisting or fighting back.
Spellberg has a sister
feminist
and sister Islamophile at the
College of William and Mary, in Williamsburg, Virginia, Alexandra Méav Jerome. Jerome posted her 2012 paper, “The
Jefferson Qur’an,” on the Oxford
Islamic Studies Online site
. It, too, is full of speculation passing for
scholarship that would be the envy of Mr. Puff, of Richard Brinsley Sheridan’s
comic play, The Critic. Mr. Puff
instructed his auditors with his armory of fraudulent flummery and disingenuous
dissimulations: the puff collusive, the puff oblique, the puff by implication, the
puff direct, the puff preliminary, and the puff collateral. Both Spellberg and
Jerome make generous use of that whole war chest. Footnotes and the like fill
the spaces like distracting kudzu.  
She ends it with more
“we may never know’s” and “may well have’s” and “imaginings”
of her own (Italics are mine):
Thomas Jefferson rarely spoke on the topic of religion and did
not leave us any written record of his opinion of Islam. But, based on how he
used the Qur’an politically, we can
conjecture
about his attitudes toward what his colleague George Washington
called “the children of the Stock of Abraham.” He was certainly
sympathetic to Islam and to those in the borderlands of the Christian West, but
he was also keenly aware of the effect of scripture, whether Biblical or Qu’ranic,
on the politics, motivations, and aspirations of nations and empires. At the
same time, Jefferson was perhaps
influenced
by the moral, humanitarian elements of the Qur’an and, as
mentioned above, the Constitution of Medina, which may have accompanied his study of Islam. We may never truly know what Jefferson thought about Islam, but
what we do know is that the Qur’an served not simply as an exotic book
occupying the shelves of Jefferson’s Monticello….
If we excavate the volumes of documents authored by Jefferson
and his contemporaries in the early days of the new republic, we find moments
wherein Jefferson’s Qur’an may well have
even influenced the founding
, shaping, and sustenance of a newly sovereign
nation.
Bottom of Form
And then there’s the contradiction in that closing paragraph:
Jefferson “did not leave us any written record of his opinion of
Islam” vs. “He was certainly sympathetic to Islam.” Well, how
does Jerome know that he was, if Jefferson left no record? Go figure.
As for Spellberg, to reprise, she sputtered in rebuttal to the
Wall Street Journal critique of her actions: “I don’t have a problem with
historical fiction. I do have a problem with the deliberate misinterpretation
of history. You can’t play with a sacred history and turn it into soft-core
pornography.”
But apparently she has no problem with ascribing to Thomas
Jefferson and the Founders an over-concern about the civil rights of Muslims,
and fabricating an elaborate, footnote-laden narrative about how Islam
contributed to the creation of the republic.
The truth is that Jefferson’s inclusion of Muslims as
deserving of civil rights protection, together with Jews, Hindus, and
dissenting sects of Christianity, was wholly incidental. He did not think
Muslims deserved any special attention. At least, there apparently is no record
that he thought so. So there is no reason to “imagine” that Jefferson
bit his nails raw over the treatment and future “perceptions” of
Islam and Muslims, which is the impression one gets in Spellberg’s book. According
to her and Jerome’s own notes (once one has brushed aside the kudzu), Jefferson
paid Islam and Muslims no more attention than he paid to the flora and fauna of
Virginia. In fact, far, far less attention.
Both Spellberg and Jerome highlight the fact that Jefferson
held the first iftar in the White
House in 1805. But that was a matter of discretion and diplomacy on Jefferson’s
part. It was not an act of submission (Islam)
nor even necessarily an act of “respect.”
Forgive me while I indulge in a bit of “imagining”
myself. Picture Jefferson confounded by the record of Islam as we know it
today. How was he going to reconcile the violent verses in the Koran, which abrogated the
“peaceful” ones
? How was he going to account for the estimated
1.5 million Europeans abducted from Western coastal towns by Muslim raiders and
who disappeared into the maw of Islamic slavery from the 16th
through the 19th centuries, never mind all those America seamen?
What conclusions would he reach once he grasped that Islam is
at root a totalitarian ideology strutting about in the vestments of religion,
and demanding that Western nations accommodate Islam Sharia law at the price of
subverting and suborning Western jurisprudence and freedom of speech? How would
he explain Syria, and Egypt, and Libya, Indonesia, and Malaysia, and Kenya, and
all the murders, beheadings, stonings, amputations, massacres, rapes, honor
killings, female genital mutilations, the marriages of pubescent girls, and
destruction committed in Allah’s name, not only in the Mideast, but in Europe,
as well?
How would he view Mohammad the “prophet” when he
learned that his actual existence is in dispute, and that anyway, if he did
exist, he was an illiterate, rapacious, murdering brigand and warlord given to
“hearing” voices, and hardly the sagacious “lawgiver” on a
par with Solon? What would he think when he read contemporary accounts of
Mohammad’s conquest of the Arabian Peninsula, accounts that portrayed him as a
kind of Al Capone of his time?
Perhaps a fairer “imagining” would be to put
Spellberg and Jerome in Jefferson’s shoes, without the benefit of the camouflage
of scholarly kudzu.
*Thomas Jefferson’s Qur’an: Islam and the Founders, by Denise
A. Spellberg. New York: Knopf, 2013. 416 pp.

Previous

Just Like a Tyrant: Obama’s Executive Extortion

Next

John Locke and Liberty

10 Comments

  1. Iceherinit

    Thank you for exposing this vile fraud.

  2. Astropoet

    Seems you hate Islam. That's what I conjecture from this. At least you left a record.

  3. Edward Cline

    Astropoet: Your conjecture is correct. I do hate Islam. I also hate communism, Nazism, and every other form of "ism" that would deny me my freedom and reduce me to an obedient, selfless cipher to be sacrificed to the "public good." My record on Islam is sterling.

  4. Edward Cline

    If I'd thought of it earlier, I'd have also said in the column that Spellberg could've composed a one-page report (single-spaced, 12-point Times New Roman) simply citing all the times that Jefferson mentioned Islam or the Koran. All her ducks would've been in a row then, and, while she wouldn't have had a contract with Knopf and a check for the advance on sales, she'd at least have had the credit of being honest about Jefferson's virtual non-role in the protection of Muslim's "civil rights." She could've noted at the end: See? Jefferson was no more concerned about the status of Muslims than he was about the extinction of the buffalo in Virginia. But, instead, we got a big, fat, 419-page book that is mostly scholarly blather in multicultural, Marxist style that attempts to fit a square Jefferson into a round diversity-of-opinion hole.

  5. revereridesagain

    Astroturf, I may be misreading this, but your "at least you left a record" remark has a threatening ring to it. Be clear about this: our right to hate, despise, abhor, loathe, detest and/or morally condemn any ideology, be it secular or religious, is absolute given our nature as rational beings. The inclusion of "deities" and the issue or whether or not "feelings are hurt" by such criticism is irrelevant. Attempts by Leftist thought police and Muslim thugs to curtail such criticism with threats of litigation or even prosecution as "hate crimes" are in violation of that right. If Spellberg or anyone else publishes nonsense posing as scholarship about issues of dogma that have been and continue to be used to justify acts of mass murder they deserve to be criticized in stronger terms than an academic slap on the wrist.

    And yes, I hate Islam too, if you'd like another "record" to log. It is an ideology deserving of nothing but contempt.

  6. Edward Cline

    Thanks you, Revereridesagain. I wasn't sure about Astropoet's intention, either.

  7. Unknown

    Dear Ed,

    Thanks for exposing the fraudulent (and malevolent) Denise Spellberg…again!

    Regarding what John Locke actually wrote on Islam, see this:
    http://www.andrewbostom.org/blog/2010/08/04/john-locke-islamic-supremacism-and-the-ground-zero-mosque/

    John Locke discussed the predicament of Islamic supremacism in his first of four letters concerning religious tolerance “A LETTER CONCERNING TOLERATION” (John Locke, The Works, vol. 5 Four Letters concerning Toleration [1685]) Although Locke’s 1685 letter affirms that, “neither pagan, nor mahometan, nor jew, ought to be excluded from the civil rights of the commonwealth, because of his religion,” he appears to have understood the threat to a pluralistic multi-religious society posed by the eternal conception of a global Muslim umma, answerable in the end, only to Islam, and Islamic leadership. Locke wrote:

    “It is ridiculous for any one to profess himself to be a mahometan only in religion, but in every thing else a faithful subject to a christian magistrate, whilst at the same time he acknowledges himself bound to yield blind obedience to the mufti of Constantinople; who himself is entirely obedient to the Ottoman emperor, and frames the feigned oracles of that religion according to his pleasure.”

    Re: Jihad, from my 2012, Sharia Versus Freedom:

    Dr. Tina Magaard—a Sorbonne-trained linguist specializing in textual anal¬ysis—published detailed research findings in 2005 (summarized in 2007) com¬paring the foundational texts of ten major religions. Magaard con¬cluded from her hard data–driven analyses:

    “The texts in Islam distinguish themselves from the texts of other religions by encouraging violence and aggression against people with other religious beliefs to a larger degree. There are also straightforward calls for terror. This has long been a taboo in the research into Islam, but it is a fact that we need to deal with.”

    For example, in her 2007 essay “Fjendebilleder og voldsforestillinger i islamiske grundtekster” [“Images of enemies and conceptions of violence in Islamic core scriptures”], Magaard observed,

    “There are 36 references in the Koran to expressions derived from the root qa-ta-la, which indicates fighting, killing or being killed. The expressions derived from the root ja-ha-da, which the word jihad stems from, are more ambiguous since they mean “to struggle” or “to make an effort” rather than killing. Yet almost all of the references derived from this root are found in stories that leave no room for doubt regarding the violent nature of this struggle. Only a single ja-ha-da reference (29:6) explicitly presents the struggle as an inner, spiritual phenomenon, not as an outwardly (usually military) phenomenon. But this sole reference does not carry much weight against the more than 50 references to actual armed struggle in the Koran, and even more in the Hadith.”

    My own copiously documented The Legacy of Jihad describes the doctrinal rationale for Islam’s sacralized jihad violence, and its historical manifestations, across an uninterrupted continuum from the seventh-century advent of the Muslim creed through the present. Consistent with Magaard’s textual analysis, I cite the independent study of Australian linguist and renowned Arabic to English translator Paul Stenhouse, who maintained the root of the word jihad appears forty times in the Koran. With four exceptions, all the other thirty-six usages in the Koran and in subsequent Islamic understanding to both Muslim luminaries—the greatest jurists and scholars of classical Islam—and to ordinary people meant and means, as described by the seminal Arabic lexicographer E. W. Lane: “He fought, warred or waged war against unbelievers and the like.”

  8. Edward Cline

    Mr. Bostom: Thanks for the information here on the violent verses. I not only have been compiling a lexicon of Islamic terms, but have been adding to the number of violent verses in a file I keep handy in case anyone doubts what I say about Islam and jihad.

  9. Edward Cline

    I have just finished digesting your comments re the violent verses in the Koran and Hadith, and they certainly put the lie to Spellberg's contention in her book that of the 36 jihadist verses, only 10 really sanction violence. Thanks again for the information. It more than buttresses my animus for that kind of "scholarly" kudzu.

  10. Edward Cline

    Spellberg's book can be read out of focus, not paying attention to the subtle conjectural elements. Read that way, a reader will get the impression, an entirely false one, that Jefferson was overwrought with concern about Islam and Muslims.

Leave a Reply

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén