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Hey! It's Jefferson's Koran, For Heaven's Sake . . .

The Washington Post reports that newly-elected Representative Keith Ellison (D-MN), the first Muslim ever elected to Congress, will be sworn in by Speaker Nancy Pelosi with his right hand on a copy of the Koran. And not just any Koran -- the copy owned by Thomas Jefferson himself (which Mark Dimunation, who is originally from Ellison's Minnesota district and is now chief of the rare book and special collections division at the Library of Congress, dug up for Rep. Ellison). And in another nice touch, he is being criticized by Rep. Virgil Goode (R-VA), whose district includes Monticello; according to the Post, Goode told Fox News that "I believe that the overwhelming majority of voters in my district would prefer the use of the Bible," and went on to "warn about what he regards as the dangers of Muslims immigrating to the United States and Muslims gaining elective office." Jefferson, wherever he is at the moment, appreciates the irony, I'm pretty certain of that.

Nick W. (mail):
Now this is poetic justice! And good for him, too. Just further shows how much of an assclown Virgil Goode is.
1.3.2007 3:58pm
juris_imprudent (mail):
I'm sure if you quoted any number of things Thomas Jefferson said to Rep. Goode, without attribution, he would denounce them as un-American. That Jefferson owned a copy of the Koran is just further evidence that he wasn't a good American.

The truly sad thing is that the goobers Goode represents would no doubt agree.
1.3.2007 3:59pm
Waldensian (mail):
Interesting. Goode is worried about "Muslims gaining elective office." I suspect TJ would have been more worried about intolerant morons like Goode gaining elective office. Actually, I'm quite sure he was worried about that problem.

I'm not so confident Jefferson appreciates the irony at the moment, however, because he's dead. Just professing my lack of religion there. What the hey, I am in Virginia.
1.3.2007 4:01pm
Bill Poser (mail) (www):
I wonder if Representative Goode is aware of Jefferson's views on religion? Jefferson was at most a deist, in all probability an atheist, and had a very negative attitude toward Christianity. Among other things, he wrote: "Christianity is the most perverted system that ever shone on man." and
"The Christian God is a being of terrific character - cruel, vindictive, capricious, and unjust." Moreover, he was strongly opposed to the involvement of religion in government. He wrote to Baron von Humboldt:
"History I believe furnishes no example of a priest-ridden people maintaining a free civil government. This marks the lowest grade of ignorance, of which their political as well as religious leaders will always avail themselves for their own purpose."
1.3.2007 4:04pm
Stephen C. Carlson (www):
If it's in English, it's not really the Koran...
1.3.2007 4:11pm
Abe Delnore:
The truly sad thing is that the goobers Goode represents would no doubt agree.

I had the misfortune of being "represented" by this moron. VA-5 includes Charlottesville—possibly the most liberal city in Virginia—as well as a lot of more stereotypical NASCAR-tobacco country.

—Abe Delnore
1.3.2007 4:20pm
J. F. Thomas (mail):
I had the misfortune of being "represented" by this moron. VA-5 includes Charlottesville—possibly the most liberal city in Virginia—as well as a lot of more stereotypical NASCAR-tobacco country.

I lived in Alexandria, we were more liberal than you. We were known as "The Peoples Republic of Alexandria" in Richmond.
1.3.2007 4:22pm
juris_imprudent (mail):
I had the misfortune of being "represented" by this moron.

No offense meant; I should have phrased it "those who voted for Goode".
1.3.2007 4:40pm
Hans Gruber (www):
Great moral preening. I would like an answer to a simple question, though: Would you like to live in a majority Muslims country (any commenters, feel free to weigh in as well)? Goode doesn't. I don't. And the vast majority of the American people don't. There is absolutely nothing wrong (or bigoted!) with that belief, as far as I can tell.

Note: I do not wish to imply a defense of the oath idiocy, that whole spectacle was ridiculous, as was ably demonstrated by Eugene Volokh.
1.3.2007 4:45pm
Mark Field (mail):

Would you like to live in a majority Muslims country (any commenters, feel free to weigh in as well)?


Incomplete hypothetical.
1.3.2007 4:51pm
Nick P.:
Would you like to live in a majority Muslims country (any commenters, feel free to weigh in as well)?

I have done, and I have very fond memories of it. There are certainly majority muslim countries that I would not want to live in. There are majority "Christian" countries that I would not want to live in. The genius of the U.S. constitution is that it gives us a blueprint for government that isn't dependent on the majority religion.
1.3.2007 4:52pm
juris_imprudent (mail):
Would you like to live in a majority Muslims country

Possibly, if that country maintained a separation between the secular and the sectarian. Conjoin the two and I would no more care for it then I would care to live in the Eire of a generation or two ago, which was a much more Christian nation (Rep. Goode's criteria) then this country has ever been.
1.3.2007 4:58pm
Hans Gruber (www):
Nick P.

All well and good. Let me be more precise: Are you ambivalent about the prospect of a Muslim France or a Muslim Britain or a Muslim United States of America?
1.3.2007 4:58pm
Nick P.:
Hans Gruber,

No, I'm not ambivalent. I can think of less silly things to worry about.
1.3.2007 5:01pm
James Dillon (mail):

All well and good. Let me be more precise: Are you ambivalent about the prospect of a Muslim France or a Muslim Britain or a Muslim United States of America?

Personally I'd prefer an atheistic France or Britain or United States, but I'm ambivalent between Muslim and Christian versions of those nations, so long as juris_imprudent's proviso of the secular/sectarian separation is recognized.
1.3.2007 5:01pm
Nikki:
Stephen C. - please elucidate. Are you saying there are no good English translations, or something else? (Am also curious as to whether you feel the same thing applies to the Bible.)
1.3.2007 5:07pm
Steve:
Are you ambivalent about the prospect of a Muslim France or a Muslim Britain or a Muslim United States of America?

The fact that you choose to bring this up certainly suggests that you didn't think the "oath idiocy" was entirely without merit.

Our country has always lived in fear of being overrun by whatever ethnic or religious group might loom on the horizon. The present period is perhaps unique in that we seem to be simultaneously afraid of becoming majority-Hispanic and majority-Muslim.
1.3.2007 5:09pm
Waldensian (mail):

Great moral preening. I would like an answer to a simple question, though: Would you like to live in a majority Muslims country (any commenters, feel free to weigh in as well)? Goode doesn't. I don't. And the vast majority of the American people don't. There is absolutely nothing wrong (or bigoted!) with that belief, as far as I can tell.

The hypothetical is indeed incomplete. A majority Muslim population wouldn't necessarily bug me. On the other hand, I would not like it if a fundamentalist (of any stripe) majority in the U.S. wanted to impose its views on me.

But how is that relevant here? Goode and I also likely agree that Jaws III was a terrible film, despite the use of 3-D.

Goode and I part ways on what I consider to be an important point: it isn't un-American to elect a Muslim to office, and it isn't wrong for the Muslim to use something other than the Bible for the purpose of the oath. That's not complicated.
1.3.2007 5:11pm
wooga:
Even a broken clock is right twice a day. So even though Goode's statements were made out of personal animus, it doesn't mean that swearing on the Koran is just fine and dandy.

I'm not sure about the merits of taking an oath on a book which expressly advocates lying (taqiyya). That would seem to defeat the very purpose of taking the oath!

But maybe that's just my bias creeping out too, seeing as how I can't return to the middle east for fear of being beheaded merely because of who I married.
1.3.2007 5:13pm
J. F. Thomas (mail):
I would certainly rather live in Turkey than in Russia or in Morocco or Lebanon in the sixties rather than Franco's Spain or any number of Banana Republics in South America.
1.3.2007 5:13pm
Anon Y. Mous:
James S. Robbins has an interesting take on the subject over at NRO.
1.3.2007 5:15pm
Grant Gould (mail):
Stephen C. -

If it's in English, it's not really the Koran...

I believe Jefferson taught himself Arabic specifically to read the Koran, actually. So it probably is a real Koran, not a translation.

Nikki -

"The Koran" refers to the specific words, and as such only the original classical Arabic is really the Koran. It's a question of names and of religious standing, not of good or bad translations.
1.3.2007 5:17pm
Stephen C. Carlson (www):
Nikki: My understanding is that, according Muslims, is that Qur'an was revealed in Arabic, and that any translation loses its inspired character. In fact, some even call translations "blasphemous."
1.3.2007 5:18pm
James Dillon (mail):

I'm not sure about the merits of taking an oath on a book which expressly advocates lying (taqiyya). That would seem to defeat the very purpose of taking the oath!

So, you'd agree that no one should swear on the Bible, then? Remember the story of Rahab?
1.3.2007 5:20pm
Stephen C. Carlson (www):
I believe Jefferson taught himself Arabic specifically to read the Koran, actually. So it probably is a real Koran, not a translation.

According to the WaPo, the book in question is an English translation, but, who knows, the Post could always be wrong.
1.3.2007 5:21pm
Per Son:
I'm not sure about the merits of taking an oath on a book which expressly advocates lying (taqiyya). That would seem to defeat the very purpose of taking the oath!

The Bible tells us that women should not speak in church, and lets face it - permits a whole lot of genocide. My point is that we can all find all sorts of undesirable portions in every Holy Book, including The Holy Book of Vatican Law.
1.3.2007 5:27pm
wooga:
So the Bible has all sorts of unsavory elements - so what?
For purposes of taking an oath, only one thing matters - telling the truth. So the comments about the un-pc stuff in the Bible is logically irrelevant. The Bible forbids lying, and the Koran encourages it.

Sure, the Bible has historical accounts of lying, but never does it remove the sinful taint from lying.
1.3.2007 5:37pm
Jon Rowe (mail) (www):
Nothing in Jefferson's correspondence indicates he was an atheist. He arguably wasn't a deist b/c he seemed to believe in an active personal God, not a distant watchmaker. He wasn't a Christian. He was a militant anti-Trinitarian, and otherwise believed that the Bible was errant and that man's reason (or at least his reason) could "spot" the error in the Bible and cut it out. In his case, Jefferson used a literal razor to cut the "error" from his Bible.

But he otherwise believed in a warm benevolent God.
1.3.2007 5:43pm
Michael B (mail):
I don't care for the exaggerated, moralistic angle Goode declaims from - too much bombast and superficial moralizing and far too little substantive, more probative articulations. Still, there is some light to be shone on the matter, even though Rep. Goode misfires in more ways than one. One example, one which reflects Jefferson's own confrontational dealings with an aspect of jihad, c. 1775-1815 (though European states continued paying extortion/ransom payments until 1830).

In terms of Jefferson's (and Adam's) take on the Koran, beyond possessing a copy, am not aware of any more critical take on the matter. There is however a historical note of some consequence, during the period where Jefferson and Adams were ambassadors to France and England and thereafter, vis-a-vis the Barbary pirate episode, which in point of historical fact contained pronounced jihadist elements in addition to the piracy, slavery, ransom, murder, extortionist elements (all of which elements are with us today).

From the Thomas Jefferson library, America and the Barbary Pirates: An International Battle Against an Unconventional Foe. Also, for a brief on a book review covering Joshua London's Victory in Tripoli, see A Very Old War. Also, a brief on scholar Michael Oren's The Middle East and the Making of the United States, 1776 to 1815.

Goode, in large part, represents a species of superficial and over-reaching moralizing; far too imprecise with his choice of articulations. Still, there is some worthwhile, cautionary light to be shone on the topic, both in terms of historical illuminations, vis-a-vis Jefferson, Adams, Madison, et al., and in more thematic terms, touching on contemporary issues, e.g., Keith Ellison recently in Dearborn, Michigan, before a joint MAS (Muslim American Society) and ICNA (Islamic Circle of North America) audience:

"You can't back down, you can't chicken out, you can't be afraid, you got to have faith in Allah, and you got to stand up and be a real Muslim," Ellison said to loud applause.

"Allahu akbar" -- God is great -- was the reply of many in the crowd.

There's no need to make too much of this. But there's no need to mindlessly ignore or dismiss it either. Openminded ≠ mindless - anymore than a sensible, well grounded concern is equivalent to paranoia or the exaggerated, moralistic statements, a la Goode's.
1.3.2007 6:11pm
Davide:
The concern various people have about Mr. Ellison has nothing to do with being a Muslim per se.

It has to do with what he personally has done in the name of Islam.

To wit:

Ellison's long commitment to and advocacy of the Nation of Islam is reflected in the various aliases he used over a period of ten years: Keith Hakim, Keith X Ellison and Keith Ellison-Muhammad.

Ellison's involvement with the Nation of Islam includes his support of "the truth" of Joanne Jackson's condemnation of Jews in 1997 as "the most racist white people."

Ellison's involvement with the Nation of Islam is not the most offensive of his public associations and commitments. That distinction must belong to Ellison's work with Minneapolis gang leader and murderer Sharif Willis following the 1992 murder of Minneapolis Police Officer Jerry Haaf.

Ellison's February 2000 speech on behalf of domestic terrorist Kathleen Soliah/Sara Jane Olson picked up this reprehensible aspect of Ellison's career and united it with his missionary work on behalf of the Nation of Islam. In that speech Ellison called for the release of Soliah/Olson and spoke favorably of cop killers Mumia Abu-Jamal and Assata Shakur.

In detail:

1989--Ellison publishes the first of two articles in the University of Minnesota Daily under the alias "Keith Hakim." In the first such article, Ellison speaks up for the Nation of Islam.

1990--Ellison participates in the sponsorship of the anti-Semitic speech by Kwame Ture given at the University of Minnesota Law School ("Zionism: Imperialism, White Supremacy or Both?"). Ellison rejects the appeal of Jewish law students to withdraw sponsorship of the lecture. Ellison graduates from University of Minnesota Law School.

1992--Ellison appears as speaker at demonstration against Minneapolis police with Vice Lords leader Sharif Willis following the murder of Officer Haaf by four Vice Lords gangsters in September.

1993--Ellison leads demonstration chanting "We don't get no justice, you don't get no peace" in support of Vice Lords defendant on trial for the murder of Officer Haaf. Ellison attends Gang Summit in Kansas City with Willis.

1995--Ellison supports Million Man March, appears at organizing rally with former Nation of Islam spokesman Khalid Muhammed at University of Minnesota. Ellison acts as local Nation of Islam leader in march at office of U.S. Attorney in Minneapolis protesting indictment of Qubilah Shabazz for conspiring to murder Louis Farrakhan. Ellison charges FBI with conspiring to murder Farrakhan. Ellison writes article under alias "Keith X Ellison" attacking Star Tribune for criticizing Louis Farrakhan.

1997--Ellison appears under alias "Keith Ellison-Muhammad" at Minnesota Initiative Against Racism hearing in support of Joanne Jackson. Ellison defends "the truth" of Jackson's statement that "Jews are the most racist white people."

********************************

Let's stop wondering about swearing on the Koran and let's start asking about WHO the person is who is doing the swearing.
1.3.2007 6:22pm
Steve:
I see the Powerline readers have arrived.
1.3.2007 6:24pm
James Dillon (mail):
Michael B,


"You can't back down, you can't chicken out, you can't be afraid, you got to have faith in Allah, and you got to stand up and be a real Muslim," Ellison said to loud applause.

Replace "Allah" and "Muslim" with "Jesus" and "Christian," and you'll find the same thing said in countless Evangelical churches every Sunday morning. Why is that accepted as perfectly appropriate, but when Ellison says the same thing about Islam, we get vague insinuations that he must have militant jihadist sympathies?
1.3.2007 6:31pm
gr101 (mail):

I'm not sure about the merits of taking an oath on a book which expressly advocates lying (taqiyya). That would seem to defeat the very purpose of taking the oath!

Maybe you have more on this, but wikipedia tells me tha taqiyya allows (not 'advocates') lying about one's faith when under compulsion or threat. So, for example, if threatened with forced conversion into another faith, one can lie about having converted.

It also seems like its not something all muslims abide by. Some Sunnis don't agree with it.
1.3.2007 6:33pm
Mark Field (mail):

Maybe you have more on this, but wikipedia tells me tha taqiyya allows (not 'advocates') lying about one's faith when under compulsion or threat. So, for example, if threatened with forced conversion into another faith, one can lie about having converted.


That is very similar to the Catholic doctrine of equivocation.
1.3.2007 6:52pm
Charlie (Colorado) (mail):
I'm increasingly convinced someone somewhere is holding a contest for the stupidest comment or post about this topic.
1.3.2007 6:59pm
Actual (mail):
Taqiyya is deception used against infidels to defend or to further the Islamic faith.

I spent twenty years in a strict Islamic country.

You guys are so naive.
1.3.2007 6:59pm
Edward A. Hoffman (mail):
Davide:

Your points might (or might not) have been relevant during the campaign, but the election is behind us and Ellison won. Whether he should serve is no longer an issue. He is going to serve and he is going to take the oath of office. There's not much point arguing that he shouldn't be there at all.
1.3.2007 7:05pm
Michael B (mail):
"I see the Powerline readers have arrived." Steve

I see the merely and vacantly contemptuous have arrived (concerning which phenomena, both ironically and tellingly, is nothing more than the obverse side of the same coin Goode is trading in). And in point of fact Steve, I'm not a Powerline reader, I arrived at that link via a seperate blog entirely.

"Replace "Allah" and "Muslim" with "Jesus" and "Christian," and you'll find the same thing said in countless Evangelical churches every Sunday morning. Why is that accepted as perfectly appropriate, but when Ellison says the same thing about Islam, we get vague insinuations that he must have militant jihadist sympathies?" James Dillon

To make very much sense, you'd have to relate that to the referenced comment in general, wherein a more cautionary angle was emphasized and Representative Goode's exaggerated tone was largely dismissed. You'd also need to relate it to the fact Ellison was speaking to MAS, the American front for the Muslim Brotherhood.

In terms of your analogy with pulpits in the U.S., one could also draw analogies with a variety of fashionable pulpits on the Left. Simplistic, highly exaggerated equivocations reflect very little, if anything at all.

Mark Field,

You linked to a dictionary definition, not a doctrinal statement. Nice touch, in doing so you exemplify what you purport to refute - and you don't seem to notice the irony in doing so.
1.3.2007 7:07pm
Jay:
When I first saw the phrase "Jefferson's Qu'ran," I thought of Jefferson's version of the Bible, from which he excised anything involving superstition or divinity and left only what he thought were the moral lessons.
Those competing to make the most smug "all religions are equally nuts" comment above should ask themselves this--what do you think the reaction in the Muslim world would be if the Qu'ran were treated similarly by some modern day Jefferson? Compare that to the death threats, riots, etc. Jefferson wasn't subjected to by those crazy fundamentalist Christians.
1.3.2007 7:51pm
Mark Field (mail):

You linked to a dictionary definition, not a doctrinal statement. Nice touch, in doing so you exemplify what you purport to refute - and you don't seem to notice the irony in doing so.


It was a Catholic dictionary. I didn't realize a blog comment had to satisfy the standards for a dissertation. I'm not sure what you think I exemplify, nor what you think is in error, nor what irony you perceive, but perhaps a link to a Catholic Encyclopedia will do.
1.3.2007 8:18pm
glangston (mail):
The Qu'ran that CAIR sends out free is a translation. I realize this muddies the water a bit about what is a "real" version but then I don't think there is any proof other than the media that CAIR is the mouthpiece for Islam in the US.

http://www.thebook.org/

At the bottom.

The more suitable tome for the ceremony would be Much Ado About Nothing as the language describing the oath seems to expressly leave out religion any religious test.

""The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the members of the several state legislatures, and all executive and judicial officers, both of the United States and of the several states, shall be bound by oath or affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States."

So I guess Keith can either use "so help me God" or not, and he may even be allowed to use Allah, which sounds like what he'll do.

I'm sure Keith will be an "ala carte" Muslim, this is the home of Satan..;)
1.3.2007 8:22pm
SJN:
"If it's in English, it's not really the Qu'ran."

My understanding (confirmed by Wikipedia) is that many Muslims believe -- as a doctrine of their faith -- that a translation NEVER can be a Qu'ran, but instead can merely be an interpretation or "gloss" on the Qu'ran. This is because the particular style of Arabic in which the Qu'ran is written has unique nuances of meaning that defy easy translation, and which must be understood directly.

Perhaps to take an oath on a translation of a Qu'ran would not be a meaningful act to a true Muslim, then. Putting aside the posts above as to whether a religious Muslim may break an oath, perhaps there will be no oath to break.

From Wikipedia:

"The Qur'an has been translated into many languages, including English. These translations are considered to be glosses for personal use only, and have no weight in serious religious discussion. Translation is an extremely difficult endeavor, because each translator must consult his or her own opinions and aesthetic sense in trying to replicate shades of meaning in another language; this inevitably changes the original text. Thus a translation is often referred to as an 'interpretation,' and is not considered a real Qur'an. Just as Jewish and Christian scholars turn to the earliest texts, in Hebrew or Greek, when it is a question of exactly what is meant by a certain passage, so Muslim scholars turn to the Qur'an in Arabic."
1.3.2007 8:22pm
Davide:
Edward A. Hoffman,

I'm not arguing Ellison shouldn't be there. Nor am I arguing that he can't be sworn in on a Koran.

What I am saying is that one can have concerns about Ellison joining Congress. One can have concerns that this particular person embraces a form of Islam that seems to have very negative associations. And that is a reason to be concerned. Expressing the concern about Muslims generically may be wrong, but one can be worried about Mr. Ellison. The fact that he's joining Congress doesn't alleviate the concern -- on the contrary, it exacerbates the issue.

As to Steve:

Do you disagree with these facts?
1.3.2007 8:25pm
David Maquera (mail) (www):
I will never cease to be amazed how idiots like Virgil Goode get elected to Congress.
1.3.2007 8:25pm
Mark Field (mail):

What I am saying is that one can have concerns about Ellison joining Congress. One can have concerns that this particular person embraces a form of Islam that seems to have very negative associations. And that is a reason to be concerned. Expressing the concern about Muslims generically may be wrong, but one can be worried about Mr. Ellison. The fact that he's joining Congress doesn't alleviate the concern -- on the contrary, it exacerbates the issue.


The exact same passage seems to apply to Goode and his peculiar brand of Christianity.
1.3.2007 8:40pm
BobNSF (mail):

Are you ambivalent about the prospect of a Muslim France or a Muslim Britain or a Muslim United States of America?


I can see no reason that the majority of the U.S. population would want to convert to Islam. Well, except the growing, absurd fundamentalism that is making Christianity increasingly unappealing.
1.3.2007 8:45pm
Grover Gardner (mail):
Let's not beat around the bush here, Davide. What exactly are your concerns about Ellison?
1.3.2007 9:34pm
Michael B (mail):
"It was a Catholic dictionary. I didn't realize a blog comment had to satisfy the standards for a dissertation ..." Mark Field

Dissertation??? A single term is not a dissertation: definition ≠ doctrine. (And your link to the encyclopedia ref. disproves, rather than proves, the validity of your comparison with taqiyya, which is used in a far more strategic/tactical, Machiavellain manner, also in a doctrinal manner, more formally understood, v. here).

Al-Taqiyya is a primary doctrinal theme, emphasized in salient aspects of the Qur'an, hadith and sira, not a secondary or tertiary "doctrine," as conceived in a less formal sense. At this point linguistic connotations and practical/historical usage also comes into play, but here lengthier and more tedious replies would in fact be needed. Too, for a practical point of reference, you'd have to offer up your own conceptions of terms such as lying, dissimulation, equivocation, etc. You're arguing by virtue of the via negativa, without advancing any more positive conceptions such that they too might be subjected to criticism (a not uncommon tactic).

But again, this now is tedious and merely argumentative. The notion of taqiyya you're advancing is similar to the notion of jihad as simply an internal struggle for greater personal piety and purity. Thus an additional irony: you're advancing a simplistic, fundamentalist conception, one wherein we're suppose to ignore both practical/historical usage as well as linguistic content and symbolism.
1.3.2007 10:06pm
Davide:
Mark Field,

No, the same concerns do not apply to Goode. Ellison supported Louis Farrakhan. Goode did not. Ellison supported a speaker who states that "Jews are the mos racist white people." Goode did not. Ellison attended an anti-semitic "Zionism: Imperialism" conference. Goode did not.

Grover,

There's no secret about the concern about Ellison. Read the above. Do you find this innocuous? Would you like your representative to have this background?
1.3.2007 10:16pm
18 USC 1030 (mail):
Davide, did Goode support Robertson?
1.3.2007 10:24pm
SP:
Yes, and I am sure all the people bashing Goode here are just THRILLED at the state of affairs of Muslims in Britain right now. Yes, let's bring them all over here, too, I'm sure they'll get along with the rest of society fabulously. Maybe we could also have a contest quoting as many dead people as possible to provide an intellectual gloss to these issues while we're at it.
1.3.2007 10:34pm
Davide:
18 USC 1030,

Who cares? Put more precisely, do you care about Ellison's anti-semitic conduct? Does his support of Farrakhan concern you? Does his support of a speaker who says "Jews" are the "most racist white people" bother you? If so, why refrain from acknowledging that?
1.3.2007 10:45pm
Nate F (mail):
What the hell is wrong with most of you people?

Ellison and Goode can BOTH be idiots (and seemingly are). Regardless of what Michael B thinks about at-taqiyya, most Muslims believe it only allows them to lie to prevent physical or mental harm brought about by persecution. That is to say, most Shi'a Muslims, since most Sunni Muslims don't believe in the practice at all.
1.3.2007 10:56pm
Grover Gardner (mail):
"There's no secret about the concern about Ellison."

That doesn't answer my question. What exactly are you concerned that he will do now that he has been elected to Congress?

"Do you find this innocuous?"

In other words, do I find it threatening? No. I find his financial problems more disturbing than his past association with controversial ethnic leaders. But then, I wasn't in a position to vote for or against him.

"Would you like your representative to have this background?"

I probably wouldn't have voted for him, but more because of his financial problems than his involvement with Nation of Islam. I'd have had concerns about his honesty and thoughtfulness. But I get a sense that you want me to be concerned about much more than that.
1.3.2007 10:57pm
abb3w:
While I'll agree that Ellison's apreciation for Farrakhan during his college and law school days are some concern, I'd note that he used the noms de plume of "Keith E. Hakim" and "Keith X. Ellison" at that time. That he has apparently stopped using an Islamicized name suggests that he may have reconsidered and moderated some of his views post-college... as so many people do. Continued concern may be valid, but judgement would be premature.

The comment policy precludes my fully expressing my dislike for Goode, so I'll just say: I voted for Al Weed.
1.3.2007 11:03pm
Grover Gardner (mail):
"Put more precisely, do you care about Ellison's anti-semitic conduct?"

Ellison took the wrong side in a controversy that has since long died away. He's admitted as much. But I'm not aware that he himself engaged in any anti-semitic conduct. Can you be specific?

And actually, I can't really say whether I would have voted for him. I've never heard him speak or represent himself. I agree with many of his positions, but until I've been exposed to the man himself I couldn't say how I felt.
1.3.2007 11:07pm
Grover Gardner (mail):
"That he has apparently stopped using an Islamicized name suggests that he may have reconsidered and moderated some of his views post-college..."

Oh no, that's just part of the plot, abb3w.
1.3.2007 11:12pm
Mark Field (mail):

But again, this now is tedious and merely argumentative.


I'd have to agree with you on that.
1.3.2007 11:14pm
Grover Gardner (mail):
"Yes, and I am sure all the people bashing Goode here are just THRILLED at the state of affairs of Muslims in Britain right now."

One could argue that it's attitudes like Goode's that have contributed to the state of affairs of Muslims in Britain right now.
1.3.2007 11:20pm
18 USC 1030 (mail):
I would hope that we are not going to vote for politicians based on the sophomoric views of their youth. I'm young, still in law school and even at this point I'm amazed by some of the views I had as an undergrad. I cannot imagine the change in views one has through the course of their life. I for one am willing to accept that he has realized the sophomoric views of his youth were just that: sophomoric and that now as an older, educated person he has refined his thinking.

None of this, however, is the question at hand. This was the issue during the campaign. He won! Therefore he is the elected representitive. It is time to stop the campaign arguments and time to see whether or not he is capable of serving the people.

The people he represents believed he was worthy of the position: we ought to respect the outcome of the election. Unless, of course you believe the election was some how rigged to benefit the evil Islamofascist?

The only question now is whether or not he can put his hand on the koran when he takes the oath. Let's not change the issue.
1.3.2007 11:34pm
davod (mail):
1. The following link takes you to an interesting history of the translation of the Koran into English. The article indicates that early translations (1600s) were made from the French translation, and the translations were made in an effort to discredit Islam.

Assessing English Translations of the Qur'an

2. Ellison basically lied to the public all through the election. He was aided and abetted by the premier newspapers in the region.

You need to re-read Davide's 6:22 pm post to see where Goode is coming from. Ellison shied away, indeed he repudiated any recent links to CAIR, during his election campaign. This while receiving funding from CAIR or its officers. He also attended a fundraisinfg event put on by CAIR.
1.4.2007 12:01am
Michael B (mail):
SP,

If some criticisms of Goode are overwrought, so be it. But Goode is an elected representative of an elite forum aka Congress and we have a right to higher expectations both of representatives of the party we tend to favor and the party we don't more typically favor (in fact, arguably moreso).

"Regardless of what Michael B thinks about at-taqiyya, most Muslims believe it only allows them to lie to prevent physical or mental harm brought about by persecution. That is to say, most Shi'a Muslims, since most Sunni Muslims don't believe in the practice at all." Nate F

Appeals to authority, especially to one's own authority, are enduringly satisfying. However, an excerpt from the link previously provided, emphases added:

""Taqiyya" is the religiously-sanctioned doctrine, with its origins in Shi'a Islam but now practiced by non-Shi'a as well, of deliberate dissimulation about religious matters that may be undertaken to protect Islam, and the Believers. A related term, of broader application, is "kitman," which is defined as "mental reservation." An example of "Taqiyya" would be the insistence of a Muslim apologist that "of course" there is freedom of conscience in Islam, and then quoting that Qur'anic verse -- "There shall be no compulsion in religion." But the impression given will be false, for there has been no mention of the Muslim doctrine of abrogation, or naskh, whereby such an early verse as that about "no compulsion in religion" has been cancelled out by later, far more intolerant and malevolent verses. In any case, history shows that within Islam there is, and always has been, "compulsion in religion" for Muslims, and for non-Muslims. The "compulsion" for Muslims comes from the treatment of apostasy as an act punishable by death. And though "dhimmis" are allowed to practice their religion, they do so under conditions of such burdens and restrictions that many, not as an act of conscience but rather as a response to inexorable Muslim pressure, have converted (or "reverted") to Islam."

But I'm no authority and such is but one reference only, though could supply many other supplemental and supportive references. Still, am prepared to be persuaded - albeit via rational/substantiated argument, not via appeals to your assurances and authority and generalized dismissiveness.
1.4.2007 12:08am
juris_imprudent (mail):
Davide

Put more precisely, do you care about Ellison's anti-semitic conduct?

Well, if Ellison suggests a program of prejudice and persecution such as Goode has, then I will by all means oppose him. There is no place in this country for yellow stars or yellow crescents. Not to mention, isn't the concern on immigration more about Mexicans then Muslims? Hispanics are now what 15-17% of the population; Muslims (native and immigrant) aren't even 1%.

Ellison will have to prove himself quite an ass if he desires to meet the standard set by the [ehem] gentleman from VA.
1.4.2007 12:16am
Grover Gardner (mail):
"You need to re-read Davide's 6:22 pm post to see where Goode is coming from."

I really don't think so. I don't particularly care for where either Goode or Davide is coming from, but I think they hint at difference sets of issues--at least as I read them.

"Ellison shied away, indeed he repudiated any recent links to CAIR, during his election campaign. This while receiving funding from CAIR or its officers. He also attended a fundraisinfg event put on by CAIR."

Again what exactly do all these accusations mean? What is it, specifically, that you want us to be "concerned" about? That Ellison is a liar? That he's part of an Islamic plot to take over America? That he supports and encourages terrorists? What? Give me something concrete here.

What feel like I'm hearing is that I'm supposed to take these "facts" (which are only part of the story in any event) and transmute them into some sort of second-hand outrage over a person who, all things considered, really hasn't done anything terribly outrageous, when you come right down to it. And/or I'm supposed to get wound up into a state of fear about a Muslim takeover of America. Sorry, but I'm too busy worrying about all those gays couples getting married.
1.4.2007 12:21am
Grover Gardner (mail):
"Appeals to authority, especially to one's own authority, are enduringly satisfying."

Appeals to Hugh Fitzgerald are even less satisfying, I'm afraid. The anti-Islamic bias is palpable in all his writings. And yes, you can take that as generalized dismissiveness.

"But I'm no authority and such is but one reference only, though could supply many other supplemental and supportive references."

Perhaps from someplace other than Jihadwatch.
1.4.2007 12:48am
jvarisco (www):
It is not merely Jefferson's "Quran". The book in question is actually an ENGLISH TRANSLATION of the Quran; to most Muslims, such translations are not actually Qurans; the Arabic the the word of God, the English the word of a translator. All this uproar, and the guy seems marginally Muslim at best. Any guesses on how much Arabic he knows?
1.4.2007 12:59am
Michael B (mail):
Grover Gardner,

Enthralling. A couple of problems at least, will note but one. I did not offer an empty appeal to anyone's authority - the argument made in the link previously provided is: an argument, not an unsupported assertion or set of assertions. Or put differently, yours too is a vacant appeal to your own assurances, essentially one that reduces to the idea that - you agree with yourself. Again, enthralling, much like a "boxer" who shadow boxes only, declares himself the champ, and vacantly dismisses those "mere pretenders" who actually have been in the ring, contending with real opponents.

Wouldn't at all be worth commenting upon excepting such unembarrassed self-regard, forwarded as "argument," is common. Or from a different angle, any "generalized dismissiveness" (your permission notwithstanding) may or may not be warranted, depending upon the specific argument(s) made in support thereof.
1.4.2007 3:33am
A. Zarkov (mail):
"I would certainly rather live in Turkey than in Russia or in Morocco or Lebanon in the sixties rather than Franco's Spain or any number of Banana Republics in South America."

Russia and Spain and most (if not all) South American countries allow mosques and the practice of Islam. Islamic countries are generally intolerant of other religions. Saudi Arabia bans all other religions. Even US troops could not hold any kind of religious service. While Turkey is more liberal, it still falls far short of an acceptable level of religious tolerance. There is no collective freedom of religion in Turkey. What few churches that are allowed to exist in Turkey must operate under severe restrictions. Their ownership of real property can be called into question and expropriated without compensation. There are a few churches in Morocco, but they are only open to foreigners, the Moroccan government forbids citizens to attend.
Egypt and Lebanon have shrinking Christian minorities that must exist in an increasing environment of hostility.

I don't see why the US should allow immigration from Islamic countries. What's in it for us? The larger the American Islamic community grows the more conflict we will see in the future. A larger Islamic community provides more cover for Islamic terrorists. Suppose I'm wrong. What's the loss? But if I'm right we could face serious problems. Look at Cyprus. The island is now divided between the Islamic north (essentially an illegal Islamic republic created by Turkey) and the Greek Orthodox south. Before the massive north-south population transfer the two communities were at war. We invite trouble with little or no gain?
1.4.2007 3:47am
Bill Poser (mail) (www):
In response to Jon Rowe, I note that you cite no evidence whatever in favor of the view that Jefferson believed in a personal god. I don't know of such evidence, and that isn't what other commentators think. Christopher Hitchens in his biography of Jefferson in fact says that he thinks that Jefferson was an atheist though he can't be certain. Richard Dawkins cites a telling passage on p.42 of The God Delusion in which Jefferson says that he can't be bothered with "nothings" such as immaterial souls, angels, and gods that is hard to interpret as anything short of agnosticism.
1.4.2007 5:05am
Grover Gardner (mail):
Michael B.—

Your sarcasm notwithstanding, I'll let my comment stand. You cite Hugh Fitzgerald as an authority on Islamic beliefs. Not only is Fitzgerald relentlessly anti-Islamic, his "authority" is questionable. To cite a specific example, he says:

"When a Muslim maintains that 'jihad' really means 'a spiritual struggle,' and fails to add that this definition is a recent one in Islam (little more than a century old), he misleads by holding back, and is practicing 'kitman.'"

This itself is misleading, if not entirely false, as a look at this article will show:

http://tinyurl.com/u3atc

Here you can see that the concept of jihad as a "spiritual struggle" goes back much further than a century.

This and other questionable statements, combined with his excessive rhetoric, are enough to make me question the accuracy of his article. Like his "boss" Robert Spencer, he emphasizes the violent nature of Islam to make a point. His point may be valid, but as you yourself said, it's only one POV. Nonetheless, that's the one you chose to cite, so that's the one I chose to criticize.

Fitzgerlad, who is also one of David Horowitz's attack dogs, has an agenda, and as such I'd be prone to take his authority with a grain of salt.

And don't assume that everybody else is just relying on their "own" authority. Some of us do our reading too.
1.4.2007 5:56am
JKB:
Bill Poser, see here:

http://www.sullivan-county.com/identity/jeff_letters.htm

...for a pretty good collection of Jefferson's correspondence on religion, perhaps what Jon Rowe was referring to.

In my reading of this correspondence, however, I, like you, am not convinced that he believed in a "personal God", either.
1.4.2007 7:59am
Michael B (mail):
Bill Poser,

Firstly, ample cites can be offered concerning Jefferson and his belief in the Almighty, in a deity, though I'd at least partially agree with Christopher Hitchens (and then some) that proofs per se cannot be offered in favor of anything very decisive - since counter or contrasting examples can be offered as well is favor of differing views. In terms of Jefferson and a personal deity, I'd be more cautious. In general, there are those among the central Founders (e.g., Washington, Jefferson, Franklin) who were certainly not orthodox Christians, though approximately half of the Founders were orthodox Christians. Too, a small number, such as Tom Paine, were more decidedly agnostic or atheists and even anti-theistic. Still, half or moreso were orthodox Christian, quaint as that might be to high-born sophisticates and gnostic knowers, such as we be in our infinitely more enlightened era, in no small part thanks to gnostic knowers and kindly shepherds in the vein of Dennett, Dawkins and other, similarly benevolent secular saints who grace us with arch-Rationalist ministrations and, when rationality per se fails, fill in the gaps of their creed with dogma, as they see fit in their benevolent and shepherding ways. An abundance of Blessings and Grace (or at least an of Fame and Applause) be accorded these eminences and may they not be subjected to the critiques and reviews that mere mortals are accorded, rather let us worship these greats, as is their right, honorable, just and everlasting due. Harrumph.

See The Founders on Religion: A Book of Quotations for a scholarly, representative treatment of the core group of Founders. (Have ordered, but have not yet received my own copy.)

In terms of a quote of Jefferson's, borrowing one from one of the Amazon reviews of the referenced book:

"Almighty God hath created the mind free, and manifested his supreme will that free it shall remain by making it altogether insusceptible of restraint; that all attempts to influence it by temporal punishments or burthens, or by civil incapacitations, tend only to beget habits of hypocrisy and meanness, and are a departure from the plan of the holy author of our religion, who being lord both of body and mind, yet chose not to propagate it by coercions on either, as was in his almighty power to do, but by extend it by the influence of reason alone." (Thomas Jefferson, A Bill for Establishing Religious Freedom, 1777).

So Christopher Hitchens, admirable as he often is and articulate as he even more commonly is, is also right to bracket his assurances vis-a-vis Thomas Jefferson's beliefs.

In terms of a couple of examples of those central Founders who were (if but stupidly and erringly as we now can be assurred) orthodox Christians, which today we (out of purely benevolent motives) consign to the purgatories or damnations of ultra, right-wingnut, fundamentalist looneydom and general moral, intellectual, etc., etc. insolvencies (though again, only because we are more benevolent in our latter-day graces, benedictions and gnostic knowings), Elias Boudinot and Charles Carroll can be offered. The former was the first (or second?) president of the Continental Congress, among other hallmarks of an incredible career; the latter was, along with being the only Catholic among the more central Founders, was the last/final surviving signatory of the Declaratioin of Independence, a representative of Maryland, and otherwise had a tremendous career of notable accomplishments.

The Founders, to a man and regardless of whether they were orthodox or otherwise, were, for all I've read on the topic, mindful of proscribing against any coercive form of beliefs, both de jure and de facto, but to suggest no evidence of belief can be found in Jefferson (decidedly to the contrary) or that appx. half of the central Founders were not orthodox Christian, as has become fashionable of late, is to err.

But those soixante-huitards and their American epigones, now those were the true founders, no? The dope, the Internationale, the dope, Uncle Ho's and Uncle Joe's gulags (the murderous Uncle Ho, the putative nationalist who served in Uncle Joe's Soviet and Chairman Mao's China, and aided Uncle Joe against the more genuinely independent and nationalist Tito), the head-in-the-sand avoidance of so many hecatombs, tragedies, wastreled and ruined lives and suicides, the always reliable dope again ... Glory days babe, mind-numbed glory days. Compare the accomplishments of the Old Left and the New Left with the tawdry accomplishments of the Founders 200+ years ago, puts those Founders to shame, no? And would you be interested in the Brooklyn Bridge today as well ...?
1.4.2007 8:25am
Michael B (mail):
Grover Gardner,

"Attack dogs," "agendas," "Horowitz," etc., wink, wink. Good grief.

And btw, where did I cite anyone as an "authority" in the manner you're suggesting? I cited a single, specific article, also unambiguously noting it was in fact but one source, thus obviously suggesting other cites are warranted, either as (potential) correctives or attenuations. Likewise, at no point do I "assume that everybody else is just relying on their "own" authority." What I have done is take note of two specific statements that two specific people have made, pointing to those two statements, not the two individuals in general, much less "everybody." Again, good grief. Hyperbole can be useful, but these are absurdities you're forwarding, seemingly in the hope of scoring rhetorical rather than more substantive points.

Too, when you yourself admit "his point may be valid" and additionally admit of "misleading, if not entirely false," that latter statement itself is a bit misleading if you want to get down to the nuts and bolts of it. Let's admit, for the sake of argument, that your own Wikipedia cite is correct and that the concept of jihad additionally includes more benign conceptions that go back more than a hundred years ago. So what? (I broadly agree with the well documented Wikipedia cite.) Even if so it hasn't disproven the primary point made, to wit that by no means does jihad simply or solely suggest such benign forms, not that any sensate person would need to have that argued presently.

Btw, sarcasm per se is neutral. It's not how I'd prefer to communicate, even in the social/political arena, but whether it's based upon something more solid or not is what is more determinative. And given the hyperbole and tone in this thread, I'm not going to play by Marquees of Queensberry rules while others bludgeon and use facile forms of contempt and dismissiveness with both impunity and self-approbation.

In sum, I'll let my previous comments stand as is, you've disproven none of it in any very substantial sense and regardless, am happy to let others judge for themselves. Again, I did not cite "an authority," I cited a single, specific article as such and did so in bracketed, soundly measured tones, as you yourself confessed.
1.4.2007 8:45am
Michael McDaniel (mail):
I'm a Deacon and Sunday school teacher. I also own a Book of Mormon and am planning on purchasing a Koran. The fact that these are and will be in my home does not mean that I practice or even agree with these religions. I have them for research purposes. We have to remember not to jump to conclusions about Jefferson. We also need to remember that tolerance does not mean to agree with something. I tolerate lots of things and people but that doesn't mean that I like them or that they are right.
1.4.2007 9:01am
CJColucci:
I will never cease to be amazed how idiots like Virgil Goode get elected to Congress.
Just read some of the comments here, and you will cease to be amazed.
1.4.2007 10:35am
sjalterego (mail):
Where in the Bible is lying flatly prohibited, thus making it a necessarily "better" oath-taking instrument than the Quran, Koran, Q'uran etc.?
1.4.2007 12:23pm
wooga:
sjalterego - let me guess, you're going to take whatever cite is provided and say 'well muslims follow that text too.'

I'll save you the trouble. Take for example, Proverbs 6:17 which uses the broad 'lying' prohibition. This rule could be abrogated, clarified, or superseded by some later rule. In this way, Jesus removed a lot of the Jewish rules for Christians. Likewise, early verses of the Koran which caution against lying, caution against killing, and caution against coercion in religion... all these were superseded once Mohammed gained some real power and decided he'd like to go about chopping heads, raping, screwing a nine year old, and marrying his daughter-in-law.
1.4.2007 3:09pm
Dave Ruddell (mail):
Where in the Bible is lying flatly prohibited, thus making it a necessarily "better" oath-taking instrument than the Quran, Koran, Q'uran etc.?

I think there's something in there about bearing false witness against you neighbour. Not sure if that covers it.
1.4.2007 3:27pm
Some Guy (mail):
Wait, back up. This would be the same Thomas Jefferson that pulled out the old Big Stick in dealing with the North African Moslems?

So the guy is going to swear on a Quran to show his peoples how can stand up to The Man and AmeriKKKa, but he is doing it on the Quran of the guy who first took Islam to the woodshed on behalf of our country. Is that ironic? I always seem to get confused as to irony and coincidence.
1.4.2007 3:29pm
Mark Field (mail):

So the guy is going to swear on a Quran to show his peoples how can stand up to The Man and AmeriKKKa, but he is doing it on the Quran of the guy who first took Islam to the woodshed on behalf of our country. Is that ironic? I always seem to get confused as to irony and coincidence.


I think you're just confused about history. Jefferson didn't "take on Islam", he "took on" pirates. In fact, he welcomed to Washington a Muslim envoy.

Hmm. Maybe there IS a lesson there.
1.4.2007 4:12pm
chris s (mail):
someone wrote above, in response to the question about living in a Muslim nation - ""I would certainly rather live in Turkey than in Russia or in Morocco or Lebanon in the sixties rather than Franco's Spain or any number of Banana Republics in South America."

you see statements like this a lot and they make no sense. We live now, not in the 60s or the 40s or during the Crusades. however remote Sharia America might be, Inquisition America is remoter.

also, the fact that present day Turkey is the civil liberties beacon of modern day Muslim states is a pretty damning comment.
1.4.2007 5:11pm
Some Guy (mail):
Really, and were the pirates all good Lutherans, or did they adhere to a different faith? And were they acting on their own, or with the tacit approval of the quasi-states they were based in...which also happened to be non-Lutheran?

And, as to your Moslem envoy, am I incorrect in that you are referring to the ambassador from Tripoli, whom Jefferson regarded as an inhuman savage? Or the treaty of "friendship" we had with Morroco, a country that had played host to the pirates and turned a blind eye to the evil they perpetrated against the "nonbelievers" until the U.S. Marine Corps landed on the shores of Trippoli?


The Ambassador answered us that it 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....
Jefferson's report to Congress on his meeting with the ambassador


Perhaps the lesson here is that no matter what historical fact you bring up, some halfwit apologist for the enemy will try to spin it.
1.4.2007 5:13pm
John Burgess (mail) (www):
Mark Field: Thank you for making the point. It's a very curious reading of history to see the Barbary Pirates as anything other than pirates. Which one of them I wonder--with no expectation of finding an answer--declared jihad and under what authority?

As one who has spent over 40 years in Islamic societies, primarily Sunni, I've yet to come across a Sunni Muslim who supports the concept of taqqiya. Among the Shi'a, their understanding of the term is so close to Catholic 'equivocation' as to make no difference.

It is a response to be used in the face of superior force that threatens one's soul. I've simply never come across it as a tactic in some supposed eschatological battle for Islamic supremacy.

The greatest proponents of the concept of taqqiya actually seem to be websites like Jihad Watch and Little Green Footballs, supported by the interviews and op-eds of their principals. Scary stuff indeed. But then, scary stuff sells lots of books. Just ask Stephen King or Dean Koontz.

BTW, the Nation of Islam was not accepted into the umma of Islam until around 1990. Prior to that they were considered some heretical sect that took on certain aspects of Islam, sort of like the Sikhs or Baha'i. This was to the point that NOI members had difficulty getting Hajj visas, with a few exceptions. I recall very clearly from my time at the US Mission in Saudi Arabia both the letters of protest from NOI members who couldn't get visas and Saudi reasoning for the denial of the same. Doctrinal changes in the NOI apparently led to a softening of attitudes and a welcoming into the fold.
1.4.2007 5:27pm
Whadonna More:

A. Zarkov wrote - I don't see why the US should allow immigration from Islamic countries. What's in it for us? The larger the American Islamic community grows the more conflict we will see in the future. A larger Islamic community provides more cover for Islamic terrorists. Suppose I'm wrong. What's the loss?


What's lost is liberty and honor. Your position is cowardly and unjust, shutting out the innocent majority based on sharing a home country because you're afraid America can't defend against the small evil minority.
1.4.2007 5:42pm
Miami resident:
I first wrote this post before "Some Guy" posted. This is a long version of his point.

Jefferson FOUGHT the Muslims. Fighting against Muslims was the first battle Americans fought after independence. And it was Jefferson who led the way. Back in the eighteenth century, American ships had terrible troubles with the Barbary Pirates (who were Muslim).

Jefferson, as America's minister to France in the mid-1780's, once confronted an Arab diplomat and demanded to know by what right the Arabs were attacking Americans in the Mediterranean:

"The Ambassador answered us that it 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."


Perhaps it was upon hearing this that Jefferson went out and got himself a Koran to read. Perhaps he thought the appropriate thing to do, when dealing with foreign threats by the Barbary Pirates, was to understand what they believed. We know that at some point he decided that the appropriate way to deal with them was by fighting rather than appeasing. He was the one who make it his business to change American policy towards the Barbary pirates, believing that paying them money to get them to leave Americans alone would simply cause them to increase rather than decrease their demands.

Saying, look, Jefferson owned a translation of the Koran, therefore, he must have been into tolerance for Muslims, and therefore a Muslim congressman taking the oath of office on Jefferson's copy of it is a lovely example of upholding Jefferson's ideals is rather strange. Suppose Franklin Roosevelt's library contained a copy of Mein Kampf. Would that change the fact that we would not like to see a Neo Nazi member of Congress take their oath of office on that same copy of it? No, of course it wouldn't. If anyone were to hear that FDR owned a copy of Mein Kampf, they would imagine it was because he sought to understand the enemy better, not because he approved of anything in it. Now, this is only an analogy. I'm not trying to say here that the Koran equals Mein Kampf or Muslims equal Neo Nazis. I'm making an analogy. I don't know what FDR read to understand the enemy. But I certainly wouldn't be surprised to hear it if FDR did read the books that influenced America's enemies. Nor am I surprised to hear that Thomas Jefferson read the book that influenced America's enemies (the Barbary Pirates, who were Muslims). Nor would I leap to any conclusions about Thomas Jefferson embracing Muslims based on the fact that he owned their holy book.
What I'm trying to say is that the mere fact that a book is present in the library of a great historical figure doesn't mean we ought to like the idea of a congressman taking the oath of office on it, and it is very extraordinary to me that anyone would think it did. It is very extraordinary to me that, upon hearing Thomas Jefferson owned a copy of the Koran, one wouldn't study what Jefferson's views on Islam actually were before based on how he dealt with Muslims as a matter of foreign policy when he was president before making pronouncements about the irony that Jefferson would appreciate. Maybe the irony he would appreciate is that people are now welcoming onto American shores the people who follow the same belief system as the people we fought in our very first war on foreign soil upon achieving our independence, and allowing congressmen to swear their allegiance to this country on the very same book the first American to advocate standing up to Muslims owned. And I don't think it's a big deal that he was about standing up to pirates, not standing up to Muslims. He was standing up to Muslim pirates, and until you can find a quote of Thomas Jefferson saying "Islam is a great religion of peace and the only people I have a problem with are the pirates who have hijacked a great religion for their own perverted uses," I think it makes just as much sense to think he was standing up to Muslims who happened to be pirates as to think he was standing up to pirates who happened to be Muslim. He was still the first American to advocate making a stand against Muslims.


So, Virgil Goode representing Jefferson's homeplace isn't ironic at all. I guess Virginians have always understood it is in America's best interest to stand up to Muslims rather than give in to them. I'm proud of Thomas Jefferson for understanding that, and I'm proud of Virgil Goode for having the courage to say that, if we don't like the idea of having the ideas expressed in the Koran part of American public life, the appropriate response is to stop expanding the numbers of people living in this country who believe that the Koran is the word of God and thus ought to heavily influence our laws and customs, through immigration. And immigration from Muslim countries is the primary way that Islam is expanding in the U.S. today. What's wrong with that? Why shouldn't we decide we only want people to immigrate to this country if they already have a system of beliefs we approve of? Muslims in other countries don't have some sort of right to immigrate here.
And if you do want continued Muslim immigration, why? Do you like their views on women? On homosexuality? On marriage? On separation of mosque and state? On Jews? Do you want to see those views become widespread in American states? Why do you believe that, upon immigrating to the United States, Muslims from Arab countries wouldn't bring their beliefs with them? Why do you think their beliefs aren't important to them?

These are genuine questions I have for those posters who say they don't like fundamentalists of any sort of religion. Leaving aside whether Christian fundamentalists are more or less dangerous than Muslim fundamentalists, why wouldn't you want to stop the immigration of any sort of fundamentalists? It seems that many Muslims living in Arab countries are quite serious about their religious beliefs. It is hard to tell when you accept immigrants, how religious they are. It's just not practical for government bureaucrats to look into the hearts of people applying to immigrate here, they are understaffed and overworked. Thus, since you do not like religious fundamentalists, why would you not want to have a policy that says we will not accept immigrants from places where there is a lot of religious feeling, including Muslim countries?
If you think it is primarily secular people who come from Muslim countries, what leads you to believe that is the case?
1.4.2007 5:49pm
Per Son:
A. Zarkov, would you advocate the following immigration bans:

Chinese (Triads can hide among them)
Italians (Mafioso can hide among them)
Russians (Russian mobsters can hide among them)
Japanese (Yakuza can hide among them)
1.4.2007 5:50pm
Jon Rowe (mail) (www):
At Positive Liberty and Dispatches from the Culture Wars, we've taken Hitchens to task for his assertions on Jefferson. While proving Jefferson believed in a personal God may be a little more difficult, Jefferson most certainly was not an atheist.

If I have more time, I'll try to show you why I think he believed in a personal God. Certainly his public writings show he did; but then again one could argue he was playing to the masses, which is something he didn't do in his private writings where he said things that could have easily destroyed his public reputation (for instance, what I'm about to reproduce). But this following letter, which is entirely characteristic of him, should put to rest the notion that he was an atheist. To John Adams April 11, 1823:


I can never join Calvin in addressing _his god._ He was indeed an Atheist, which I can never be; or rather his religion was Daemonism. If ever man worshipped a false god, he did. The being described in his 5. points is not the God whom you and I acknolege and adore, the Creator and benevolent governor of the world; but a daemon of malignant spirit. It would be more pardonable to believe in no god at all, than to blaspheme him by the atrocious attributes of Calvin.


To Jefferson the following attributes of God were central: unitarian (non-Trinitarian), rational, and benevolent. You see these themes as opposed to non-interventionist or distant dominate his writings on God.
1.4.2007 6:13pm
Grover Gardner (mail):
"Thus, since you do not like religious fundamentalists, why would you not want to have a policy that says we will not accept immigrants from places where there is a lot of religious feeling, including Muslim countries?"

I think if you asked most Americans, they would have a problem with someone imposing their religious beliefs on them through legally enforceable means, be it a Christian sect or a Muslim sect. That doesn't mean they think religious fundamentalists need to leave the country, or be forbidden to enter.

Personally, I feel more threatened by the local housewife who crusades to have "obscene" books banned from the public library, than by a Muslim immigrant whose wife wears a burka. That doesn't mean I think deportation would be fair or appropriate.
1.4.2007 6:21pm
Mark Field (mail):

Perhaps the lesson here is that no matter what historical fact you bring up, some halfwit apologist for the enemy will try to spin it.


I'd have to agree with this.
1.4.2007 6:32pm
Jon Rowe (mail) (www):
Hutson's book is great so is David L. Holmes'. See Joe Carter's most recent post on the matter.

And of course, my blogs archive these issues on a daily basis.

One interesting thing about the key Founders is that though they certainly were more influenced by the Bible than the other world religions, they believed that all world religions -- at least the ones with which they were familiar -- taught the same basic Truth as Christianity and were thus valid ways to God. So they would have no problem with someone placing their hand on a Koran and swearing an oath. Those world religions included both Catholic and Protestant Christianity, Deism, Unitarianism, Islam, Hinduism, Native American Spirituality. Also, Pagan Greco-Romanism likewise qualified as "religion" which taught the same Truth as Christianity.

What a lot of people consider the "Truth" of Christianity -- the Trinity, the Atonement, the Incarnation, the plenary inspiration of Scripture -- they didn't. Rather they regarded such as "corruptions." The truth which they believe Christianity and all world religions taught was as Ben Franklin put it:


I believe in one God, Creator of the Universe. That He governs it by his Providence. That he ought to be worshipped. That the most acceptable Service we can render to him, is doing Good to his other Children. That the Soul of Man is immortal, and will be treated with Justice in another Life respecting its Conduct in this.
1.4.2007 6:41pm
Jon Rowe (mail) (www):
Oops. Forgot to include Judaism in the list of world religions.
1.4.2007 6:42pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
Whadonna More:

What's lost is liberty and honor. Your position is cowardly and unjust, shutting out the innocent majority based on sharing a home country because you're afraid America can't defend against the small evil minority.

How do you lose liberty of honor? If we reduce or eliminate immigration from Islamic countries tell me how your liberty will be reduced? What will you not be free to do? There is nothing unjust about controlling immigration, that's part of national sovereignty. A sovereign nation gets to decide who is welcome. You also underestimate the damage even a small minority can do to a society. Besides if it's such a small minority where is the outcry from both domestic and foreign Muslims against the terrorists?
1.4.2007 7:41pm
Grover Gardner (mail):
"Besides if it's such a small minority where is the outcry from both domestic and foreign Muslims against the terrorists?"

Muslims, both foreign and domestic, have and continue to speak out against terrorism. Here's a bookmark I keep handy, since people never seem to get tired of making this accusation. Not all the links are up to date, but I think it will get you started:

http://www.muhajabah.com/otherscondemn.php

You can also do your own search by googling "muslims condemn terror." Your query will be answered many times over. You will also come across some interesting commentary to the effect that terrorism presents an internal dilemma for Muslims as well as an external one, which is why it sometimes seems that they don't respond quickly or loudly enough.
1.4.2007 8:14pm
Hans Gruber (www):
"I think if you asked most Americans, they would have a problem with someone imposing their religious beliefs on them through legally enforceable means, be it a Christian sect or a Muslim sect. That doesn't mean they think religious fundamentalists need to leave the country, or be forbidden to enter."

During the Cold War Communists were regularly denied residency and citizenship, yet the Communist Party itself was never banned within the United States. There are two standards covering two very different things, freedom within a country and freedom to get into a country. There is NO right to be an American.

Similarly, the law should of course preserve religious liberty of all sorts within our borders, but that is not to say it would be out of bounds to limit the numbers of Muslim immigrants, especially given the unfolding British security crisis (of which they are having to curtail civil liberties to a much greater degree in order to contain).

Absolute tolerance and openness is a model for national suicide, welcoming with open arms a population which produces the world's greatest and most-determined terrorists doesn't strike me as brilliant public policy. But, then, thinking about how immigration effects our security, culture, and economic well-being is "silly stuff" (as Nick P. related upthread).

Truth be told, nobody in this thread is dense enough to want the United States to be even 20 percent Muslim (to say nothing of a majority). That's the cold truth of it, is it not? Who here really wants the United States to foster a large Muslim minority? And no "qualifications" and caveats or arguing from the exception (yes, the vast majority of Muslims are fine people).

Who here is ready to endorse an immigration policy which will rapidly grow the proportion of Muslims in the United States of America? Nobody in their right mind. Not Goode. Not Me. Not David Post. But let's not think about that, let's laugh at this Goode fellow and congratulate one another for being such good, decent people, the kind of people who don't think about silly topics like immigration. Leave the silly stuff to the yahoos and the rubes. Good people don't even think about that kind of stuff.
1.4.2007 8:15pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
Per Son:

"… would you advocate the following immigration bans…"

None of those groups (except for the Russians) you list represent a current threat to the US. None of them have an effective and well-funded international terror apparatus.

In retrospect, the careless admission of large numbers of Russians in the 1980s and 1990s was a grave mistake. According to the book "The Red Mafiya" by Robert Friedman we imported a dangerous and very skillful criminal class into the US, and we have paid dearly for it, especially the residents of Brighton Beach, New York. These Russian criminals (posing as Jewish Refuseniks) are both ruthless and smart. They are much more ruthless and depraved than the Italian Mafia, and far more intelligent. One example of how the Russian Mafia has corrupted an American institution is the National Hockey League. According to a 1996 congressional investigation as many as half of the leagues ex-Eastern Block players (10% of team rosters) have been forced to buy krysha or protection.
1.4.2007 8:23pm
Hans Gruber (www):
Grover, here's an article from 2005 discussing a poll which showed support for terrorism declining.

"The proportion that expressed confidence in the al Qaeda leader dropped from almost half to about a quarter in Morocco, and from 58 percent to 37 percent in Indonesia. Bin Laden's standing went up slightly in Pakistan, to 51 percent, and in Jordan, to 60 percent."

But, you guys are right, this is silly stuffy. Merely 40 percent of Indonesians think Bin Laden is a great guy. Proof that Muslim immigration is nothing to worry about (after all, 60 percent don't like Bin Laden very much, so they should fit in here just fine).
1.4.2007 8:30pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
Grover Gardener:

Have you read those sites? The first one on the list, American Muslims and Scholars denounce Terrorism repeats the tired canard:

"We believe that the continued occupation of Palestinian territories, and Israel's repeated disregard of international law, have made life in the occupied territories unbearable …"

We can if you insist deconstruct the falsehoods behind this statement.
1.4.2007 8:31pm
Grover Gardner (mail):
"If we reduce or eliminate immigration from Islamic countries tell me how your liberty will be reduced? What will you not be free to do?"

I don't think Whadonna More was speaking strictly of Americans. Traditionally we have been a beacon and refuge for the oppressed and impoverished of the world, offering freedom, hope and opportunity not just to ourselves but to others as well.

And because we open our doors to others, we expect others to open their doors to us, allowing us the freedom to travel and experience the world.

I think we would be a much poorer country, in many respects, if we imposed a blanket restriction on immigration for anyone of any religion or ethnic origin.

If we are not strong enough and fair enough--if we are too weak and afraid--to deal with the threats posed by religious extremism and terrorism, then we might as well close our doors. For good.
1.4.2007 8:34pm
Hans Gruber (www):
Grover, I'll gladly you trade being "welcomed abroad" with being secure, prosperous, and free at home.
1.4.2007 8:42pm
Grover Gardner (mail):
"Have you read those sites?"

Yes, I have read those sites. The THIRD, not the FIRST, link expresses sympathy for the Palestinians while condemning terrorism. Few, if any of the hundreds of other links, including the links that point to further links, make this association. Did you bother to read the rest of them? Or just stop when you read the third one and found their characterization of Israeli actions unacceptable?
1.4.2007 8:53pm
Grover Gardner (mail):
"Grover, I'll gladly you trade being 'welcomed abroad' with being secure, prosperous, and free at home."

Yeah, I got the message, Hans. I don't agree with you.
1.4.2007 8:57pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
Grover Gardner:

I selected one of the sites at random. Perhaps it was the third on the list, but it was the very first one I looked at.
1.4.2007 9:00pm
Grover Gardner (mail):
"During the Cold War Communists were regularly denied residency and citizenship..."

Don't we now deny entry to people who belong to suspect political organizations? During the Cold War, did we deny people entry based on their religion?
1.4.2007 9:04pm
Grover Gardner (mail):
"I selected one of the sites at random. Perhaps it was the third on the list, but it was the very first one I looked at."

Well, look at the rest.
1.4.2007 9:06pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
Grover Gardner:

"I don't think Whadonna More was speaking strictly of Americans. Traditionally we have been a beacon and refuge for the oppressed and impoverished of the world, offering freedom, hope and opportunity not just to ourselves but to others as well."

Americans have to no obligation to enhance the liberty of other nations at the expense of its own. What makes you think it does? For example look at the Canadian immigration requirements and you will see that are quite strict. They want people with talent education and money. And don't be over 50 because you won't get enough points to qualify.

"And because we open our doors to others, we expect others to open their doors to us, allowing us the freedom to travel and experience the world."

You seem to be confusing tourism with immigration.

"I think we would be a much poorer country, in many respects, if we imposed a blanket restriction on immigration for anyone of any religion or ethnic origin."

How would we be poorer? What would cause the US to become improvised if we stopped immigration from Moslem countries? How has it helped Europe?

"If we are not strong enough and fair enough--if we are too weak and afraid--to deal with the threats posed by religious extremism and terrorism, then we might as well close our doors. For good."

Restricting or eliminating Muslim immigration is dealing with religious extremism. It would enhance our security. It is the most effective way to deal with terrorism. If the terrorists can't enter the country then they can't harm us.

We have already passed a population of 300 million. Isn't that enough? Suppose we did close our doors, how would that harm us? Japan has virtually no immigration. Are they suffering because of that?
1.4.2007 9:29pm
Grover Gardner (mail):
"Americans have to no obligation to enhance the liberty of other nations at the expense of its own. What makes you think it does?"

Do you see the word "obligation" anywhere in my comment?

"For example look at the Canadian immigration requirements and you will see that are quite strict. They want people with talent education and money. And don't be over 50 because you won't get enough points to qualify."

I don't see religion as a qualifier anywhere in that list.

"You seem to be confusing tourism with immigration."

No confusion. Closing our own doors could cause other doors to be closed to us. But Americans don't emigrate to other countries as much, and when we do, we often encounter restrictions on work and freedom of movement.

"How would we be poorer?"

Culturally, intellectually, economically.

"Restricting or eliminating Muslim immigration is dealing with religious extremism."

I don't think so, and I don't think it will solve the problems we face.

"Japan has virtually no immigration. Are they suffering because of that?"

It's still crowded as all get out. We DO have immigration and have traditionally benefited immensely from it, in all the ways I mentioned above. Is that what you want, for us to be like Japan? I can think of a lot of reasons why I would not prefer that.
1.4.2007 9:48pm
Gordon:
This is the camel's nose under the tent. Once an assertive group, like Muslims in France, reaches a critical mass, they become more and more difficult to rein in. The situation with Muslim youth in France -- which is now about 10% Muslim, and will be about 25% Muslim within the next 15 years -- is already out of control.

The mockery expressed here towards Mr. Goode's concerns are luxuries only a country with a small Muslim population can afford.
1.4.2007 9:58pm
Grover Gardner (mail):
"Once an assertive group, like Muslims in France, reaches a critical mass, they become more and more difficult to rein in."

I do not believe you can compare the US to France in this instance. Much of the problem there is due to colonialism, a burden we do not shoulder in this case. French society is far more closed than ours, which means that immigrants do not become absorbed into society as quickly as they do here, and there are fewer chances to prosper and adapt. Naturalization is greatly restricted, whereas in America immigrants can look forward to becoming Americans with few restrictions. When people prosper and are adopted by and absorbed into a new culture, they tend to change their own beliefs and practices to conform with that of the new culture--more quickly and more readily than if they are ghetto-ized as they often are in European countries.
1.4.2007 10:20pm
Miami resident:
"It's still crowded as all get out. We DO have immigration and have traditionally benefited immensely from it, in all the ways I mentioned above. Is that what you want, for us to be like Japan? I can think of a lot of reasons why I would not prefer that."

Yes. Japan is really crowded. Being crowded is not pleasant. Thus, they have no wish to increase their population through immigration. Seems reasonable to me. We, America, were a nation of far fewer people when immigration gave us all those traditional benefits it gave us that people are always talking about. Now that that we are a nation of 300 million, why not say, let's not wait until we are as crowded as Japan. Let's stop massive immigration now.
You just said Japan is unpleasant because it is crowded, and you also just said you don't want us to be like Japan. Okay, let's stop immigration then, and then we will not become crowded.
1.4.2007 10:55pm
whatup:
HI: I'M ALLAH!
--
"
V


Since Mr. Ellison has taken an oath to defend the U.S. Constitution, he will be defending my right under the First Amendment to PICTORIALLY REPRESENT ALLAH (above) and Muhammad, no matter how attractive or repugnant he may find those pictorial representations.

Right?
1.4.2007 11:10pm
whatup:
HI: I'M ALLAH!
--
"
V


Since Mr. Ellison has taken an oath to defend the U.S. Constitution, he will be defending my right under the First Amendment to PICTORIALLY REPRESENT ALLAH (above) and Muhammad, no matter how attractive or repugnant he may find those pictorial representations.

Right?
1.4.2007 11:11pm
Grover Gardner (mail):
"Now that that we are a nation of 300 million, why not say, let's not wait until we are as crowded as Japan. Let's stop massive immigration now."

Stopping illegal immigration would be a significant, logical and reasonable step, IMHO.
1.4.2007 11:42pm
Michael B (mail):
"Mark Field: Thank you for making the point. It's a very curious reading of history to see the Barbary Pirates as anything other than pirates. Which one of them I wonder--with no expectation of finding an answer--declared jihad and under what authority?

"As one who has spent over 40 years in Islamic societies ..." John Burgess, emphasis added

And following is Mark Field's point, in full:

"... Jefferson didn't "take on Islam", he "took on" pirates. In fact, he welcomed to Washington a Muslim envoy." Mark Field

Firstly, and as already cited in this comment directly upthread, take note of Joshua London's Victory in Tripoli: How America's War with the Barbary Pirates Established the U.S. Navy and Shaped a Nation. Brief excerpt from the book:

"... Piracy was deemed an acceptable and important component of the al-jihad fil-bahr, or the holy war at sea, and the taqifa, or community, of seamen became integral to the Muslim struggle ..."

And from the book's description:

"At the dawn of a new century, a newly elected U.S. president was forced to confront an escalating series of unprovoked attacks on Americans by Muslim terrorists sworn to carry out jihad against all Western powers. As timely and familiar as these events may seem, they occurred more than two centuries ago. The president was Thomas Jefferson, and the terrorists were the Barbary pirates."

Additionally, a commentary by the author, Joshua London, here, some excerpts:

1) "The Islamic basis for piracy in the Mediterranean was an old doctrine relating to the physical or armed jihad, or struggle.

"To Muslims in the heyday of Barbary piracy, there were, at least in principle, only two forces at play in the world: the Dar al-Islam, or House of Islam, and the Dar al-Harb, or House of War. The House of Islam meant Muslim governance and the unrivaled authority of the sharia, Islam's complex system of holy law."

2) "Although the piratical activities of Barbary genuinely degenerated over the centuries from pure considerations of the glory of jihad to less grandiose visions of booty and state revenues, it is important to remember that the religious foundations of the institution of piracy remained central.

"Even after it became commonplace for the pirate captains or their crew to be renegade Europeans, it was essential that these former Christians "turn Turk" and convert to Islam before they could be accorded the honor of engagement in al-jihad fil-bahr, the holy war at sea."

3) "In fact, the peoples of Barbary continued to consider the pirates as holy warriors even after the Barbary rulers began to allow non-religious commitments to command their strategic use of piracy. The changes that the religious institution of piracy underwent were natural, if pathological. Just as the concept of jihad is invoked by Muslim terrorists today to legitimize suicide bombings of noncombatants for political gain, so too al-jihad fil-bahr, the holy war at sea, served as the cornerstone of the Barbary states' interaction with Christendom."

And noting that Jefferson welcomed a Muslim envoy to Washington, is to prove what? We presently welcome such envoys. And ...?
1.4.2007 11:45pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
Here is an ominous sign of how Islam continues to gain influence. House resolution 288 from Rep. John Conners:


Resolved, That the House of Representatives —

1. condemns bigotry, acts of violence, and intolerance against any religious group, including our friends, neighbors, and citizens of the Islamic faith;
2. declares that the civil rights and civil liberties of all individuals, including those of the Islamic faith, should be protected;
3. recognizes that the Quran, the holy book of Islam, as any other holy book of any religion, should be treated with dignity and respect; and
4. calls upon local, State, and Federal authorities to work to prevent bias-motivated crimes and acts against all individuals, including those of the Islamic faith.


Note that one faith and one holy book is called out specifically.


The full text is here.
1.4.2007 11:47pm
Michael B (mail):
The End of Barbary Terror: America's 1815 War against the Pirates of North Africa is another source which notes the jihadist element among the Barbary Corsairs. A couple of excerpts:

1) "... Indeed, under Islamic law, the seizures of ships from Christian countries were an article of faith, part of the jihad against nonbelievers. ..."

2) "This duty to war on the infidels was called jihad. The Barbary corsairs' jihad was not based on xenophobia, nihilism, or religious fundamentalism, although the deys varied in their ..."

Too, from one of the previously provided links, a particularly telling passage concerning something of a historic meeting between Adams, Jefferson and Tripoli's ambassador to Great Britain, emphases added:

"Take, for example, the 1786 meeting in London of Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and Sidi Haji Abdul Rahman Adja, the Tripolitan ambassador to Britain. As American ambassadors to France and Britain respectively, Jefferson and Adams met with Ambassador Adja to negotiate a peace treaty and protect the United States from the threat of Barbary piracy.

"These future United States presidents questioned the ambassador as to why his government was so hostile to the new American republic even though America had done nothing to provoke any such animosity. Ambassador Adja answered them, as they reported to the Continental Congress, "that it 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 Musselman who should be slain in Battle was sure to go to Paradise.""
1.5.2007 3:11am
PGofHSM (mail) (www):
MichaelB,

How do you manage to make the discussion about what the Koran says, yet demand that others focus not on text and definition but instead on "practical/historical usage as well as linguistic content and symbolism"? Ellison is using the Koran presumably because of what the text means to him, not based on others' interpretations of the text. Moreover, you've repeatedly refused to deal with the assertion that your notion of taqiyya is particularly unlikely to be shared by Sunnis -- which is the branch of Islam with which Ellison affiliates.
1.5.2007 5:36am
Michael B (mail):
PGofHSM,

Are you sure you better understand what I've actually said herein? Too, your first statement, or question, is not entirely coherent, if you care to, quote me and then reply to that quote so I better understand what you're referring to.

I've now written, perhaps, a couple thousand words or more in this thread, detailing and substantiating the vast majority of what I have forwarded herein with supportive material, with links or cites to authors and volumes, also furnishing illuminating quotations and excerpts in support of what I've forwarded. By contrast, taking Mark Field and John Burgess as two notable examples, they've made unsupported, ahistorical, dogmatic assertions, including false statements, without so much as an attempt to substantiate them or admit of their errors - yet you require nothing from them.

Too, you're off by a country mile. Again, are you sure you even understand what I've actually said and forwarded in this thread? Are you sure you're reading with full comprehension? For one, the discussion, if it can even be called a "discussion" at this point (e.g., unsubstantiated and false assertions, as already noted, don't add much to a "discussion," better understood), has moved away from the original topic, at least to some degree.

Finally, while I am prepared to deal with the subject of taqiyyah per se, I'm not in a witness stand such that requirements are demanded of me and my time while others get away with vapid and unsupported assertions. Once Mark Field and/or John Burgess admit they've been wrong (feel free to require such of them), I'll be ready to address the taqiyya issue as well. Perhaps I'll choose to address beyond what I already have anyway, but require of yourself, and others, as much as you're presuming to require of me.

Will check back late tonite or early tomorrow morning, to see how you, and they, have done. But require as much of them, and yourself, as you are presuming to require of me. I doubt that anyone in this entire thread has substantiated, including scholarly cites and lengthy historical quotes and excerpts, what they have forwarded as thoroughly as I have. And yet again, it's not entirely clear you understand what I have said and forwarded in this thread in the first place.
1.5.2007 6:42am
Hans Gruber (www):
"When people prosper and are adopted by and absorbed into a new culture, they tend to change their own beliefs and practices to conform with that of the new culture."

Are you willing to bet Western civilization on such an optimist scenario? I'm not. Sure, America will probably fare better than Europe in assimilating Muslims. But better isn't good enough when most Muslims support terror and terrorists (see the cited poll above).

And, given these admissions about the weaknesses of Europe, would you think it permissable if France or Germany or Britain restricted Muslim immigration? No, I doubt you will, because your position isn't so much about wise public policy, it's about finding a policy that makes you feel warm and fuzzy inside, in spite of its obvious dangers.
1.5.2007 11:51am
Mark Field (mail):

By contrast, taking Mark Field and John Burgess as two notable examples, they've made unsupported, ahistorical, dogmatic assertions, including false statements, without so much as an attempt to substantiate them or admit of their errors - yet you require nothing from them.


Well, let's see here. I made a post which contained two factual statements: (1) Jefferson welcomed a Muslim envoy to Washington (additional fact: the State Department went so far as to provide prostitutes for him); and (2) Jefferson "took on" pirates rather than Islam.

Nobody has yet posted anything inconsistent with these statements, nor could they; the statements are indisputably true.

Michael B. and his ilk, in contrast, have not posted much, if indeed any, factual material. Their posts contain conclusory statements, some by them, some by other authors, none of them very well reasoned.

Let's just consider the essential issue: whether the Barbary pirates exemplify a fundamental Muslim philosophy of attacking the West. There are two good reasons to believe this is false:

1. No other Muslims were attacking Western ships. After the suppression of the pirates -- it took two wars and didn't actually end because of the US but because the Royal Navy destroyed Algiers in 1816 -- no other Muslims took up the practice.

2. Jefferson did not respond to attacks in Tripoli by sending the Marines to Istanbul. He sent them to Tripoli. I trust the lesson for the modern world is obvious enough even for Michael B.
1.5.2007 12:01pm
Jon Rowe (mail) (www):
Jefferson, liked the other key Founders, believed that Islam like Christianity was a valid way to God.

All of the nonesense re the Pirates he would regard as "corruptions" of true religion, just as Jefferson et al. regarded Christianity as "corrupted" by the doctrines of the Trinity, the Incarnation, the Atonement, etc.
1.5.2007 12:32pm
Michael B (mail):
Mark Field,

I'll stick with my two comments on the issue, immediately upthread here and here, both of which contain detailed, supportive material in the form of (verifiable) cites to scholarly material and links, along with quotes/excerpts that directly contradict John Burgess's agreement. Yet you didn't feel compelled to correct him when he pointedly applauded and agreed with you, did you?. In fact, you didn't so much as attenuate his agreement and applause in the slightest.

As pertains to your two statements of fact, we, in the current WoT, are not attacking "Islam" per se either, whatever that might mean (because we're not attacking Mecca???), much as the U.S. didn't attack Istanbul, so what, it was never suggested otherwise. But the piracy and the ruling deys in Tripoli and Tunis were attacked and the underlying motivations, including jihadist motivations, were in fact a primary issue. That is all, literally all, that was suggested.
1.5.2007 3:44pm
Mark Field (mail):
Michael, first of all I regret that I personalized my last comment. I shouldn't have done that and I apologize.

Second, as for John's posts, I don't have anywhere near the time or energy to approve or refute all the posts here, even in threads where I make a comment. There can be many reasons why I don't respond to a comment, e.g., that I agree; that I'm indifferent; that I disagree but don't feel, for whatever reason, that it's worthwhile responding. I wasn't planning on re-entering this thread, except that I was accused of making false statements, which I assuredly did not do.
1.5.2007 4:06pm
Michael B (mail):
Your statement, at least in a suggestive sense, indicates it was mere piracy without any jihadist or Islamic elements involved in the matter, specifically stating that "... Jefferson didn't "take on Islam", he "took on" pirates." As such, it's misleading if not entirely a false historical statement, strictly or narrowly understood. Burgess's agreement was even more misleading, in fact it was an ahistorical claim, a false historical statement. I simply corrected that false statement, and did so citing two scholarly volumes, also adding quotes/excerpts, and therein supporting my correction with verifiable material, not merely with assertions.

Apology accepted, but the disagreement is over historically misleading and false statements only, nothing beyond that.
1.5.2007 4:39pm
Chimaxx (mail):
So when will this administration take all of this into account and arrest Ellison as an enemy combatant? It's just too bad he's already been allowed to defile Jefferson's Koran with his sweaty paws and lying oath. I mean, given his connection to the jihadist pirates of two centuries ago, extaordinary rendition is too good for him. He must be held to account for every anti-semitic statement and terrorist act of every Muslim anywhere and at any time or the terrorists have won.
1.6.2007 4:31pm
Michael B (mail):
Yet again smarm posing as argument while in fact reflecting an immeasurable, stultifying incomprehension; not at all uncommon and that too is telling.
1.7.2007 6:09pm
M. E. (mail):
"I believe that the overwhelming majority of voters in my district would prefer the use of the Bible," sez Goode.

Okay. If that's the case, and if it's that important to them, they'll elect someone who'll use the Bible. Obviously the people in Ellison's district feel differently. You can either accept that groups can disagree peaceably (each group remaining free to smirk as they imagine their enemies writhing in hell) or you can turn everything, including things that don't matter (as if the swearing-in weren't ceremonial enough, the Ellison used the Quran after he was officially sworn in with everyone else...thus making the whole thing exactly as important as any other photo-op), into big battlegrounds in modern-day crusades.
1.7.2007 7:13pm
Chimaxx (mail):
When a writer unleashes an incomprehensible barrage of charges at a small target like an obsessed, blinfolded Jackson Pollack with a paintball gun, readerly incomprehension is but one of the predictable results.
1.8.2007 10:45am
wooga:

When a writer unleashes an incomprehensible barrage of charges at a small target like an obsessed, blinfolded Jackson Pollack with a paintball gun, readerly incomprehension is but one of the predictable results.

Setting aside my uncertainty as to the meaning of "readerly"...

Incomprehension is a predictable result of incomprehensible text. Wow! Thanks for raising the level of intellectual discourse!

Try actually engaging a specific point. And BTW, it's Pollock.
1.8.2007 3:18pm
Michael B (mail):
No "obsession" or "barrage" (to the contrary) any more than a single congressman's misdirected commentary represents a "crusade," itself a risible incomprehension.

As to crusades, disagreeing peaceably and writhing in hell, vast quantities of ink would be needed. However, rather more briefly, the Left's crusades during the 20th century resulted in multiplied times the numbers killed during the crusades, and not merely due to mechanization but due to positive, ideologically prescribed intent and organization to accomplish that intent. As to disagreeing peaceably (aka tolerance), the Left has religiously ritualized a variety of vapid, incontinent forms into the warp and woof of their daily, social/political devotionals, thus preachments about tolerance might be better directed. Then as to hell, political purgatories and damnations were previously covered in this thread.

The Left deals out contempt, not tolerance, in the political arena and elsewhere, then expects to be treated cordially, deferentially, obsequiously, like boorish country squires and aristocrats expecting their "due" deference when the spittoon is brusquely demanded, then becoming (incomprehensibly) flummoxed when someone fails to render them their "due".
1.8.2007 3:36pm
Chimaxx (mail):
Thanks you for pointing out my misspelling of Mr. Pollock's name. I know that was material to understanding my comment.

Michael B:
So even if we accept your assertion (and the assertions of those you quote--because despite your claim to the contrary, there is no argument in anything you quoted, only assertion upon assertion) that the Tripoli government was driven by the Koran to initiate a Holy War--rather than merely invoking supernatural support to justify a desired war and motivate the "troops," as most would-be conquerors do if they haven't already declared themselves divine--what does that say about Representative Ellison's purely symbolic signing-in ceremony?

Does the fact that he chose a Koran owned by the first president who fought a war against pirates who used Islam to justify attacking our ships suggest that he recognizes the way in which religion--any religion--can be used to justify aggression in the hands of a tyrant and stands with or founders in believing that government power should never be used coercively in support of any particular religion, and that there should be no religious test for citizenship or public office?

As the old joke would go, he's put his hand on the Koran and sworn to the Constitution, and not the other way around.
1.8.2007 8:16pm
wooga:

religion--any religion--can be used to justify aggression

Wonderful relativist claptrap -- although the thought of an Amish tyrant is quite amusing.

stands with or founders in believing that government power should never be used coercively in support of any particular religion, and that there should be no religious test for citizenship or public office?

Well that's flat out wrong. The founders generally held similar views about the federal government, but were more than happy to allow religious tests for state level offices, and the use of the state governments to coercively support one particular church.

The founders did not generally buy into the modern progressive view that "religion is the cause of all the world's problems." To the contrary, the 1st Amendment was about protecting the state level monopolies on religion. Read the first word of it...
1.8.2007 8:42pm
wooga:
I figured I should probably put a cite for one of my assertions. Delewarehad a religious test for office, for example, requiring candidates to swear:

" I, A B. do profess faith in God the Father, and in Jesus Christ His only Son, and in the Holy Ghost, one God, blessed for evermore; and I do acknowledge the holy scriptures of the Old and New Testament to be given by divine inspiration."

And Mass had an official state church until 1883.
1.8.2007 8:53pm
Chimaxx (mail):
Gee, I always thought the Amish were a Christian denomination, not a separate religion. That every religion can be used to justify aggression does not mean it must be.

However, when a tyrant is looking for someone to back up his claim, someone who cannot be questioned directly for a contradictory answer, a deity is a natural choice. As Ben Franklin said in his autobiography: "So convenient a thing it is to be a reasonable creature, since it enables one to find or make a reason for everything one has a mind to do."

Acknowledging that in human history religion has been used to justify much mischief--and even much evil--(and undoubtedly will be again) is quite different from claiming or believing that "religion is the cause of all the world's problems."
1.8.2007 9:32pm
Michael B (mail):
"So even if we accept your assertion (and the assertions of those you quote--because despite your claim to the contrary, there is no argument in anything you quoted, only assertion upon assertion) ..." Chimaxx

Such is a grossly equivocal and merely argumentative use of the term "assertion". I'll stick with my comments above, most notably the substantiated comments directly upthread here and here. Most notably, in terms of substantiation and in the second link provided, the report Thomas Jefferson and John Adams made to the Continental Congress after their 1786 London meeting with Tripoli's ambassador to Britain, Abdul Rahman Adja.
1.9.2007 7:00pm
Chimaxx (mail):
Michael B:

i accept the accuracy of the quotations by Jefferson and Adams and Tripoli's ambassador, but nothing in those quotations sheds any light on the next part of my sentence (which you omitted):
whether "the Tripoli government was driven by the Koran to initiate a Holy War--rather than merely invoking supernatural support to justify a desired war and motivate the 'troops,' as most would-be conquerors do if they haven't already declared themselves divine" Why should we believe that Tripoli was motivated by religion rather than using religious fervor to drive its own imperialistic goals? Because that's what it would take to believe that we were fighting Islam itself rather than pirates who were Islamic.

Nor do you circle back and reveal what was my core question: what does all of this say about Representative Ellison's purely symbolic signing-in ceremony? How should it affect how we view this apparently unmomentous event (if indeed we ever get a chance to view it--it's not even available on YouTube).
1.10.2007 7:45pm
Michael B (mail):
Yet additional incomprehension at pivotal junctures. So much so that I don't even view this as a more genuinely engaging or even-handed exchange wherein you're attempting mutual comprehensions.

For one, I never said (because I do not know, in either an affirming or disaffirming sense - do you?, if so cite your own material) the formal govt. per se, either of Tripoli or Tunis, de jure forwarded the concept of jihad. But it's not at all clear what that would serve to indicate. (E.g., the Soviet Union and other Marxian states enshrined, within their own formal Constitutions, primary elements that very much reflected classical liberal elements within our own Constitution, but they were not at all enforced as such. Hence de jure and formal writ vs. de facto and common practice commonly represents a striking contrast () within autocratic, distatorial, totalitarian, etc. forms of govt. But again, beyond your own assertions, cite and substantiate your own positive arguments/assertions. You are, seemingly and for all practical purposes, operating from a point of reference that allows you to forward entirely unsubstantiated and unsupported assertions, while at the same time, despite the fact I've forwarded two scholarly and well documented authors and volumes, in addtion to other material, boorishly dismiss the documentation I have in fact provided.

As to symbolism reflecting ideas that are important and therein itself being important vs. the idea of a "pure" (i.e. unimportant) symbolism, the following. Symbolism is in fact, or certainly can in fact be, vitally important. If we disagree on that, fine, but simply forwarding the phrase "pure symbolism" is not an argument, it's merely a statement, similar to a doctrinal statement, that affirms a belief about symbolism's purported lack of significance. Stating your belief about something is not at all to substantiate your belief in cogent terms.

In much the same vein, it further and more basically appears you misunderstand what has been said in the first place, from my first comment in this thread and forward. For example, everything I've said is in the mode of suasion, not legal or any type of formal or coercive proscriptions.

If you better want to attempt a more serious exchange rather than simply making demands that you exempt yourself from, perhaps you could quote me, then respond directly to that quote. Likewise, demand anything you want of me/my argument, but in doing so demand the same of yourself/your argument. E.g., where do you cite any supportive material, where do you support your own assertions?
1.10.2007 10:02pm