Monday, November 18, 2019


republished below in full unedited for informational, educational and research purposes:
Yahya Hendi has made some large claims about the supposed Muslim presence, and influence, in America since the country’s earlist days. This too is a common interfaith theme; it is Obama’s “Islam has always been part of America’s story.”
One aspect Hendi would like to educate attendees on is American Muslims’ contributions to the U.S.
Many people do not know that Islam is a uniquely American experience as well. American Muslims have been part of America since its inception,” he said.
That means the Muslim faith goes back further in the shaping of America than many people realize.
No, there is no “uniquely American” version of Islam. Islam everywhere remains based on the same Qur’an and the same Hadith. Muslims obviously have had a different experience in America than they have had, for example, in France or Sweden, but the Islam taught and practiced in France, Sweden, and America remains the same.
As for the claim that “Muslims have been part of America since its inception,” this claim which is now made so frequently by apologists has no basis in fact. In the last few decades, exaggerated claims have been made for the numbers of slaves in America who were Muslims. First came a claim of 5%, then 15%, then 20%, and now we hear that “30% of the slaves were Muslims.” There is no evidence supplied for any of these figures: they are simply made up out of whole cloth, or plucked from the air. What we do know is that no slave-trader, no slave-owner, and no slaves themselves, appeared to have noticed any Muslims in their midst, as they surely would have had there been any. Or rather, none were mentioned save for a handful – fewer than ten — whose names are endlessly repeated. The three most noted are Omar ibn Said,  Ayuba Suleiman Diallo (Job ben Solomon), and Abdul-Rahman ibn Ibrahim Sori. There is evidence, then, that at most one-hundredth of 1% of the slaves, not 30%, may have been Muslims.
We next find Islam as “part of America since its inception” with the building of the first mosque, in 1929, in Ross, North Dakota, a tiny one-room structure that could fit a dozen people. Then, in 1934, the “mother mosque” in America was built in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. These two mosques do not suggest much of a Muslim presence. There was, however, an Arab Christian presence, an emigration that began in 1880 and continued until 1924 (when the immigration laws were changed), consisting of those who fled the Ottoman-ruled lands, chiefly Syria and Lebanon, to escape Muslim oppression. These immigrants formed such Arab neighborhoods as Little Syria in New York, but these communities had nothing to do with Islam. Nonetheless, one finds Muslim propagandists today suggesting that Christian enclaves such as Little Syria were in fact “Muslim,” in order to backdate and exaggerate the Muslim presence in the United States.
“How many people know that Thomas Jefferson read the Quran?,” he [Yahya Hendi] asked.
No one knows if Jefferson read the Qur’an he bought, as he bought thousands of other books, because he was a curious and learned man. Muslims have made much of his owning a Qur’an, suggesting slyly that he must have read the book and admired it. But the evidence is strong that he did not read it, for he habitually left notes on all his reading, and there is nothing he wrote about the Qur’an. Instead, there is evidence that in his dealings with the North African Muslims, he was horrified by their attitude toward non-Muslims. When he and John Adams were negotiating with the envoy from Tripoli, that envoy informed them that “it was written in the Koran, that all Nations who should not have acknowledged their [Muslims’] authority were sinners, that it was their right and duty to make war upon whoever they could find and to make Slaves of all they could take as prisoners, and that every Mussulman who should be slain in battle was sure to go to Paradise.” That was enough for Jefferson, and when he became President, he was determined to go to war against the North African Muslims – the Barbary Pirates — in order to suppress their attacks on Christian shipping. He had no admiration for the Muslims; he understood them to be an enemy of the Christians, as the Tripoli envoy said,and in making war on the Barbary Pirates, Jefferson acted on that understanding.
Hendi said he will share historical data that shows how Muslims have shaped what America has become.
I’m eagerly anticipating that “data” – aren’t you? How have Muslims “shaped what America has become”? What have been their contributions to the philosophy, politics, art, literature, and music of these United States? Since instrumental music is haram in Islam, how could there have been much of a contribution to our music? Since the depiction of living creatures is also haram, severely limiting the possibilities for artistic expression, what Muslim contributions can there have been to American art? What about philosophy? There is no philosophic thought for devout Muslims outside of Islam itself, which they believe, if rightly understood, contains all of wisdom. And politics? Islam and the democratic West have very different views. In Islam the legitimacy of any government depends on whether the ruler follows the will of Allah, as expressed in the Qur’an. A ruler may be despotic, as long as he remains a good Muslim. In the United States, as elsewhere in the advanced West, the legitimacy of any government depends on its reflecting, however imperfectly through elections, the will expressed by the people. There is a big difference.
“So our fellow neighbors will know that American Muslims are not newcomers to America that we have shaped the economy, the politics, the policies of the United States of America for the last 220 years,” he said.
So those dozen-odd Muslim slaves in America – the only ones known to historians – have magically multiplied to become 5-10-30% of all the slaves in America, that is, have gone from being ten or twelve, to being several million. This mendacious multiplication took place in recent years, prompted first by Muslims, on the basis of no evidence whatsoever, and unopposed by those who did not dare to question them, for fear of being labeled “islamophobes.”
For the “last 220 years” – that is, since 1800, Muslims “have shaped the economy, the politics, the policies of the United States of America.” What can Yahya Hendi be thinking? Let’s try to tease out what it might be. As for the economy, there are no records of Muslims owning any property, working in any factories or on any farms (save for the 1-12 Muslim slaves who are known), inventing new devices, or otherwise contributing to, much less having “shaped,” the economy. I suspect that what Hendi means is that “slaves contributed to the economy,” and he claims many of the slaves were Muslim, so Muslims must have “contributed to the economy,” which then resulted in a further ludicrous claim that “Muslims shaped the economy.” Read the history books, and see if there is a scintilla of evidence that more than a handful of Muslim slaves existed in America. How could those dozen Muslims — several of whom returned to West Africa, and at least one converted to Christianity – or the handful of their descendants who remained Muslims (despite being without Qur’ans or mosques) —  conceivably have “shaped the American economy for the past 220 years”?
How could American Muslims have “shaped the politics” of America for the “last 220 years”? Voting? Running for office? What can Hendi be thinking? Between those 10-12 recorded Muslim slaves, and the first one-room mosque that was built in 1929, why do we not hear anything about Muslims in America? Surely it is because there were next to none here until very recently. There have never been Muslims in elective office, state or Federal, until the last few decades; the first Muslim to be elected to the House was Keith Ellison, in 2002. He had no discernible effect on legislative policies. In 2018, two Muslim females, Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar, were elected to Congress; they have been noisy, and get a lot of media attention for their controversial views, but in the hard slog of legislation they have done nothing, and have had no effect on government policies. Perhaps Hendi has some “data,” as he calls it, about the “real” Muslim population in the 19th century that has till now has been hidden from view, or has uncovered evidence of Muslim industrialists and entrepreneurs (anything is possible) that he has decided to share with his interfaith audience.
As for the future, it is possible that Muslims, as their numbers increase, will indeed help to “shape” policies – concerning, for example, the Arab-Israeli conflict. But Muslims, who were hardly discernible in this country until the 1960s, have not “shaped the economy, the politics, the policies” of America for the past 220 years except in one unforgettable and disastrous way. The Muslims who attacked on 9/11 caused an estimated two trillion dollars in economic damage to this country, and also prompted further spending of another six trillion dollars on misguided wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. That is unlikely to be something Yahya Hendi will want to discuss. In that sense only have Muslims “shaped” our country.
It will be fascinating to see how Yahya Hendi supports his fantastical remark, that “for the past 220 years, Muslims have shaped the economy, the politics, the policies of the United States of America.” It can’t be done. Of course, he can always lie. “War is deceit,” said the Perfect Man and Model of Conduct. Who is Yahya Hendi not to take Muhammad at his word?