In the 16th chapter of Genesis, the story is told of Abraham’s son Ishmael. After going many years without fathering a child, God told Abram (Abraham) the day would come that Sarai (later Sarah) would bear him a son. Time passed and as Abram watched Sarai move out of her child-bearing years without the arrival of the promised son, his faith began to waiver.
Knowing of Abram’s longing for a son and sensing herself now rendered incapable of fulfilling the desire for him, Sarai suggested to her husband he consider seeking help from her Egyptian handmaid, Hagar. (A word to the wise – any man whose wife suggests to him he should sleep with another woman needs to quickly make tracks in the opposite direction. The reason for that will soon be revealed.) Abram did as she recommended and in time, Hagar became pregnant.
As Hagar’s body began to reveal the indwelling life, Sarai made good use of the old adage, “It’s a woman’s privilege to change her mind.” Jealousy flowed through her veins as she watched Hagar’s pregnancy continue, in addition to enduring Hagar’s taunting. Before long, Hagar sensed her life may be in danger, so she quickly fled the camp. Though she could run from Sarai, she could not run from God.
While in the wilderness, God told Hagar, “I will greatly multiply your descendants so that they will be too many to count . . . Behold you are with child, and you will bear a son, and you shall call him ‘Ishmael’, because the LORD has given heed to your affliction. He will be a wild donkey of a man, his hand will be against everyone, and everyone’s hand will be against him.” Genesis 16:11-12
When God promised Isaac to Abram, He also stated Abram’s descendants would be as the sand of the sea and stars of the sky – in other words, great in number. Due to the fact Ishmael was also the son of Abram, this prophecy applied to his descendants as well – thus the statement “too many to count.” True to His word, God brought to pass everything He said to both Hagar and Abram. He returned Hagar to the camp and in His chosen time, Sarai conceived Isaac. As time passed, the descendants of both sons have filled the earth. In the case of Ishmael’s descendents, the prophecy about their hands being against everyone have resulted in these hands constantly waging war.
Americans who witnessed the evil demonstrated on September 11, 2001 know those responsible to be descendants of Ishmael, as are those who currently fill the ranks of ISIS/L, Al Queda, or whatever other name they use today. As with the terms viper, asp or snake – the words may be different, but the danger is still very real. This, however, is not America’s first rodeo when it comes to dealing with the dangers of Islam. In fact, the first war America fought following the American Revolution pitted the patriots against the descendants of Ishmael.
Recently mentioned by President Obama at the National Prayer Breakfast, the Crusades figure into this conflict, but not quite the way he made it sound. During the 16th century, the conflict began to escalate and by the 17th century, was well established on its high horse. Five Islamic nations involved themselves in ferocious and indiscriminate attacks against Christian nations. These nations – Algiers, Morocco, Tripoli, Tunis, and Turkey – attacked the nations of the west – America, England, France, Portugal, Spain and Sweden, to name a few. Known as the Barbary Pirates, the majority of their operations took place in the Mediterranean Sea. The Moroccan Atlantic coast was also a hotbed, with conflicts occurring along the British Isles and continuing as far north as Iceland.
Many a ship from the Christian nations fell prey to these barbarians who laid claim to the cargo and murdered the crews. Not a group to limit the scope of those they victimized, the pirates also carried their brutal crusade to shore and ravaged coastal towns. Wealthy individuals were captured and held for ransom. So numerous were these raids that the Roman Catholic Mathurins operating out of France were continually engaged in fund-raising efforts to ransom prisoners captured by the pirates.
Prior to the American Revolution, England paid tribute to the pirates in an effort to protect their colonies’ ships. After the war, America was now forced to deal with the barbarians. In 1784, the first American ship was seized in Morocco, with two more falling prey the following year in Algeria. America’s first negotiations with Muslim terrorists occurred in 1784 after Congress authorized Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin and John Adams to meet with them.
Two years later, Adams and Jefferson met with the ambassador from Tripoli and asked him the reason for the unprovoked attacks on America. This was his answer:
That it was founded on the laws of the Prophet [Mohammed] – 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 [Muslim] who should be slain in battle was sure to go to Paradise.”
This is truly nothing more than state-sponsored terrorism with the Barbary pirates acting as ambassadors and the rulers getting a cut of the action. Rather than “tribute”, the money received from Western nations is more appropriately defined as “blackmail”.
Due to the fact the Muslims claim a “spiritual” incentive to make war and enslave, the attacks they carried out on American ships were numerous. President George Washington endeavored to secure the release of several American seamen who had been captured, in addition to obtaining the ability to ship goods to Mediterranean countries unmolested. In order to do so, he dispatched a number of envoys to secure treaties insuring “protection” of the American ships. The negotiations would continue through the administrations of Adams, Jefferson and Madison.
These treaties specifically stated the conflict to be between Muslim and Christian nations, with the Americans openly seeking to convince the Muslims that as a Christian nation, America was not engaged in a “holy” war against Islam. The treaty in 1786, responsible for the eventual end of Moroccan hostilities against the United States, contained three separate clauses designed to emphasis that point. In Article XI of the 1796 treaty with Tripoli, it states:
As the government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion or tranquility of Musselmen [Muslims} and as the said States [America] have never entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mahometan nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.”
The goal of Article XI was to distance the United States from so-called Christian nations of Europe who had done battle with Muslims and bore no inherent hostility towards them; nor was it at war with Islam or any of the Islamic nations. Instead, the Christian religion on which America was based was not one that sought to fight Islam – if it could be helped.
Some remove from context the phrase – The government of the United States is in no sense founded on the Christian religion – in an effort to use it as overwhelming proof America is not a Christian nation. Article XI is composed of 81 words, but these individuals tend to end the paragraph after the first 15, thus divorcing the phrase from what follows. Also, the indication of America being a Christian nation by no means excludes the presence of other faiths.
When the Treaty of Tripoli and others were written, they required America to pay “tribute” (blackmail / extortion) to the Muslim countries in an effort to ensure Americans and their ships would not be attacked. The amount totaled hundreds of thousands of dollars (tens of millions in today’s vernacular) and by the end of Washington’s presidency, consumed 16% of the federal budget. For someone who had lead an army responsible for obtaining the country’s freedom from the world’s greatest superpower of that day, Washington was totally disgusted with the idea of paying vast sums to barbarians:
“Would to Heaven we had a navy able to reform those enemies to mankind – or crush them into non-existence!”
Washington now urged Congress to create an American Navy, designed to protect America’s interests on the high seas. When John Adams became president, he continued what Washington started with such zeal; it earned him the title “Father of the Navy”. President Jefferson was no less committed:
“I was very unwilling that we should acquiesce in the . . . humiliation of paying a tribute to those lawless pirates. I very early thought it would be best to affect a peace through the medium of war.”
Jefferson cancelled further extortion payments and Tripoli declared war against the United States, with Algiers threatening to follow suit. Thus, America found herself engaged in her first official war as a nation. When the U.S. Navy arrived on their shores ready to do battle, everyone but Tripoli packed their bags and went home. General William Eaton, chosen by Jefferson to head this conflict, led a successful campaign against Tripoli – so much so the captured seamen were freed and the terrorist forces were crushed. Tripoli signed a treaty according to America’s terms and the Marines had the opening line to their hymn – “From the halls of Montezuma to the shores of Tripoli.”
The following year, America published its first edition of the Koran. Due to the fact the terrorists claimed the Koran as their authorization to engage in war with the world’s Christian nations, Americans wanted to discover for themselves the philosophy responsible for so much loss in the way of American lives and treasure. The introduction to the book predicted that after Americans read the Koran:
Thou wilt wonder that such absurdities have infected the best part of the world and wilt avouch that the knowledge of what is contained in this book will render that [Islamic Sharia] law contemptible.
During the War of 1812, President Madison received a rapid education in the thinking of Musselmen; primarily the fact treaties are not worth the paper on which they are written. As the terrorists renewed their attacks on America, Madison found himself unable to respond militarily, as the whole of his efforts were presently consumed with the war against England. In an effort to address the situation to some degree, Madison sent an American Jewish diplomat by the name of Mordecai Noah to secure the release of captured Christian sailors. Noah later acknowledged, “I did not forget that I was representing a Christian nation.”
In 1815, the war with England ended and Madison was able to turn the whole of his attention to the terrorists. Dispatching military ‘tigers’ Commander Stephen Decatur and Commander William Bainbridge, American forces again did battle with Algiers, Tunis and Tripoli. Algiers was quickly subdued, though momentarily. As the Americans sailed for Tunis, Algiers reneged on their portion of the treaty. This resulted in Great Britain and the Netherlands sending their fleets against Algiers, again achieving victory and convincing the nation of the need to sign another treaty – with dates from both the Christian and Muslim calendars reflected in the text:
Done in duplicate, in the warlike City of Algiers, in the presence of Almighty God, the 28th day of August, IN THE YEAR OF JESUS CHRIST, 1816, and in the year of the Hegira, 1231, and the 6th day of the Moon Shawal.
Completing their efforts in Tunis, the Americans returned to Algiers. In December 1816, a new treaty to replace the one Algiers renounced was signed. After 32 years of conflict, which included six years of armed warfare, America had finally subdued the terrorists attacks (for a season anyway).
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