Many people think that jihad is a recent phenomenon. The fact is that Islam has been waging an almost relentless war of conquest, slavery, looting, mass slaughter, and forced conversions since the 7th century, allowing it to expand through much of Asia and Africa.
Muslim Arabs were key perpetrators of the international slave trade in Africa. But that is not all. Islam also conquered parts of Europe at one time, and engaged in piracy and the capture of European women as sex slaves.
Contrary to current mainstream views, Islam's practices of gruesome violence against non-Muslims, slavery, and other crimes are not an aberration or a distortion of Islam but they correspond to strict religious mandates by the Koran, which is regarded as the will of Allah.
The following article reviews a recent book on the Barbary Wars - the US defensive wars against Arab piracy, slavery and their exorbitant demands for ransom - and on these wars' importance in early American history.
Incidentally, today western countries pay generous welfare and other benefits to Muslims living in the West, afraid that if those payments are cut or reduced, even greater violence will erupt.
The Forgotten War that Changed American History
by Janet Levy
Some key ideas on this article:
- For centuries, ships had been attacked in international waters and had their crews and cargoes held for ransom, even those belonging to the great naval powers of the day, France and Great Britain.
- Rather than fight the pirates, these countries preferred to pay annual tributes to purchase safe passage for their vessels.
- The First Barbary War, marking the first time that the American flag was raised in victory on foreign soil, had ended with America standing up to the pirates, something the established European naval powers had not done.
- John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, then respective American ambassadors to Britain and France, were confounded by the Muslim practice of attacking a nation outside the context of war and absent an identifiable threat.
- Following a meeting with Muslim leaders both Adams and Jefferson registered astonishment at the excessive tribute amounts and inquired how the Barbary States could justify "[making] war upon nations who had done them no injury."
- The (Muslim) Tripolitan ambassador declared that "all nations which [have] not acknowledged the Prophet were sinners, whom it was the right and duty of the faithful to plunder and enslave."
- Authors Kilmeade and Yaeger point out the irony of Jefferson, author of "all men are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights," being confronted by the stark reality of Islamic doctrine.
- President Washington wanted neither a standing army nor navy and favored a policy of neutrality in foreign affairs. His administration made payments to ensure U.S. ships passage through the seas.
- in 1800 the USS George Washington, the first American warship to enter the Mediterranean arrived safely in Algiers but failed to carry a significant enough tribute so Muslims captured the ship and crew.
- In response then president Jefferson declared war and a blockade.
In the late 1700s, the newly independent republic of the United States was continually beset by piracy at sea from four Muslim Barbary Coast states: Algiers, Tunis, Tripoli, and Morocco.
The U.S., with limited military resources and staggering debts from the War for Independence, sought to establish secure routes for international commerce to spur rapid economic growth needed to build the emerging country.
Yet the U.S. faced constant Ottoman attacks on its merchant ships. American and European ships venturing into the region routinely faced capture of crewmembers, who risked being held as slaves until hefty ransoms were paid.
The persistent Barbary pirate raids created a major crisis for a new nation that could not afford to either suffer from economic isolation or pay the exorbitant tributes demanded by the pirates.
In Thomas Jefferson and the Tripoli Pirates (Sentinel, 2015), coauthors Brian Kilmeade and Don Yaeger explore "the forgotten war that changed American history." In an action-packed thriller that aptly captures the time, place, politics, and circumstances, the authors chronicle the crisis leading up to the Barbary Wars and their triumphant aftermath.
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