“We will convey,” said Barack Obama to the Turkish Parliament Monday, “our deep appreciation for the Islamic faith, which has done so much over the centuries to shape the world — including in my own country.”
Undeniably the Islamic faith has done a great deal to shape the world – a statement that makes no value judgment about exactly how it has shaped the world. It has formed the dominant culture in what is known as the Islamic world for centuries. But what on earth could Obama mean when he says that Islam has also “done so much” to shape his own country?
Unless he considers himself an Indonesian, Obama’s statement was extraordinarily strange. After all, how has the Islamic faith shaped the United States? Were there Muslims along Paul Revere’s ride, or standing next to Patrick Henry when he proclaimed, “Give me liberty or give me death”? Were there Muslims among the framers or signers of the Declaration of Independence, which states that all men – not just Muslims, as Islamic law would have it – are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, including life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness? Were there Muslims among those who drafted the Constitution and vigorously debated its provisions, or among those who enumerated the Bill of Rights, which guarantees – again in contradiction to the tenets of Islamic law – that there should be no established national religion, and that the freedom of speech should not be infringed?
There were not.
Robert Spencer is a scholar of Islamic history, theology, and law and the director of Jihad Watch. He is the author of eight books, eleven monographs, and hundreds of articles about jihad and Islamic terrorism, including the New York Times Bestsellers The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) and The Truth About Muhammad. His latest book, Stealth Jihad: How Radical Islam is Subverting America without Guns or Bombs, is available now from Regnery Publishing.
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