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Monday, February 16, 2015

A Revisionist Muslim History of America

Turkish President Erdogan’s claim that Columbus encountered a mosque in Cuba (the explorer actually saw a rock whose shape he compared to the dome of a mosque) and a Saudi Imam claiming that Columbus had sailed to America to attack Muslims are typical of an emerging genre of Muslim revisionist history that lays claim to America based on an imaginary earlier Muslim presence here.

While these examples may be laughable, Muslim historical revisionism has taken root in academia. It can be found in PBS broadcasts and in a recent New York Times piece.

In the New York Times, Peter Manseau asserts that, “There is an inconvenient footnote to the assertion that Islam is anti-American: Muslims arrived here before the founding of the United States — not just a few, but thousands.”

The description of Islam as anti-American has nothing to do with the Muslim date of arrival. Instead it refers to Islam’s theocratic erosion of the line between mosque and state, its theological doctrines of violence against non-Muslims and women, as well as the belief of a succession of killers crying “Allahu Akbar” that they can achieve a paradise full of virgins by killing Americans. The Muslims who had the biggest influence on the United States were nineteen men who boarded planes on September 11.

But Manseau goes on to offer up three examples of Muslims in the early days of the United States.

“In 1528, a Moroccan slave called Estevanico was shipwrecked along with a band of Spanish explorers near the future city of Galveston, Tex. The city of Azemmour, in which he was raised, had been a Muslim stronghold against European invasion until it fell during his youth. While given a Christian name after his enslavement, he eventually escaped his Christian captors and set off on his own through much of the Southwest.”

Manseau neglects to mention that Estevanico or Esteban de Dorantes was African, not Arab. Morocco was a major slave market and Africans in Morocco today are still often taunted as slaves. If Estevanico was ever Muslim, it was because he or his ancestors had been enslaved and converted to Islam.

And Manseau’s history only gets worse.

Estevanico didn’t escape his masters. He set out as a scout for them. He did disobey them by resuming a faith healing routine that began during an earlier journey in which he along with some members of his expedition claimed to be a “Son of the Sun” and cured diseases with the sign of the cross.

It’s hard to think of a less Islamic form of behavior.

During his expedition, Estevanico pretended to be a shaman, gathered followers, including a harem, and demanded turquoise and women from the local Indians in exchange for magical healing. Meanwhile he sent back crosses of different sizes to his Spanish masters to show them the most promising Indian villages. Eventually he reached the Zuni who killed him for, in some accounts, wearing offensive shamanic clothing from other tribes or for demanding women from them.

Zuni accounts claim that he molested their women. A similar report comes from Coronado who said that, "The Indians say that they killed him here because the Indians of Chichiticale said that he was a bad man and not like the Christians who never killed women, and he killed them, and because he assaulted their women, whom the Indians love better than themselves."

Black nationalists tried to make a hero out of Estevanico, but he makes a remarkably poor hero. He was a scam artist exploiting the native population, aiding the Spaniards and abusing women along the way. Some of this makes him a tolerably passing Muslim, but there is no real evidence that he was a Muslim aside from his land of origin. At times he appears to have practiced Christianity and later adopted the persona of an Indian shaman. Manseau tries to put the best face possible on his history but deceives readers in much the same way that his hero deceived the native population.

But Manseau’s next “Muslim” hero is if anything even worse than Estevanico.

“The best known Muslim to pass through the port at New Orleans was Abdul-Rahman Ibrahim ibn Sori, a prince in his homeland whose plight drew wide attention. As one newspaper account noted, he had read the Bible and admired its precepts, but added, ‘His principal objections are that Christians do not follow them,’” Manseau writes.

This description once again leaves out quite a lot.

The so-called Prince Abdul Rahman Ibrahima Sori has been a major figure in Muslim revisionist history. He appeared in a PBS documentary which was targeted to black audiences. Unfortunately for them, Abdul Rahman was actually a racist who boasted that “not a drop of Negro blood runs in his veins. He places the Negro on a scale of being infinitely below the Moor.”

He was notorious for his abuse of slaves. A letter mentions that, “M. Foster actually made him manager of the plantation, had continually to keep an eye upon him and to curb his sanguinary temper to prevent him from exercising cruelty on his fellow servants.”

Abdul Rahman, by his own account, was a Muslim Moor sold into slavery by the Africans he had been attacking. He was a violent racist who despised Africans and abused the slaves under his power.

The parallel with Estevanico’s abuse of the native population is striking.

However much of what we know about Abdul Rahman came from his own mythmaking. It’s quite likely that he was never a prince of anything. Like Estevanico, he may have just been a talented con artist who was good at raising money by telling stories.

And during his grand tour of America, he promised to introduce Christianity to Africa.

As Muslim role models go, Abdul Rahman manages to be even worse than Estevanico. Manseau leaves all these details out because they change the narrative. Neither of his Muslim role models appears to have been particularly Muslim. Both casually dabbled in Christianity when it suited them.

But Manseau goes on. “Among the enslaved Muslims in North Carolina was a religious teacher named Omar ibn Said. Recaptured in 1810 after running away from a cruel master he called a kafir (an infidel), he became known for inscribing the walls of his jail cell with Arabic script. He wrote an account of his life in 1831, describing how in freedom he had loved to read the Quran, but in slavery his owners had converted him to Christianity.”

Manseau fails to mention that “Omar was regularly willing and able to reassure all visiting Christians that he was a true convert as he often wrote in Arabic what he called 'The Lord's Prayer' and the Twenty-Third Psalm.” Or “Prince Moro’s” eager wish that "Mohamedans may receive the gospel." Not to mention Omar’s autobiography in which he wrote that, “When I was a Mohammedan I prayed thus… But now I pray “Our Father”, etc., in the words of our Lord Jesus the Messiah.”

Manseau’s description of Omar’s autobiography is blatantly dishonest. As with Estevanico and Abdul Rahman, he has to leave out basic facts of the lives of these “Muslims” to accommodate his agenda. But Manseau is following in the footsteps of other revisionist historians who insisted that Omar’s copying of material from the Koran in an Arabic he had mostly forgotten proved his commitment to Islam.

The basic fact he has to leave out is that Omar described himself as a devout Christian. His other two “Muslims” consist of a man who promised to bring Christianity to Africa and another who played a shaman when he wasn’t making crosses.

The deceits of Peter Manseau and the New York Times, which never bothers fact checking even the wildest Muslim claims, are in their own way every bit as dishonest as Erdogan’s Cuban mosque. The difference is that they have the protective coloration of academia and journalism. Their dishonesty is more sedate and buried under protective layers of omissions and distortions.

Revisionist Muslim histories of America should be rejected, whether they come from Erdogan or the New York Times, because they are built on lies. And a history built on lies cannot stand.

11 comments:

antivenin said...

Are these lies by any chance being taught in schools yet? I would not put it past the useful idiots who still think Islam is a religion of peace...

Fat Man said...

Spengler, who is my Master in the art of cultural analysis, has a very important post today at PJ Media. Read the following to get a taste, but click the link and RTWT.

"Jihad and Self-Sacrifice in Islam" By Spengler (David P. Goldman) 0n February 16th, 2015:

"Comparative religion is not a statistical exercise: it is meaningless to tally up the victims of Crusaders and compare them to the victims of Islam and quibble about which religion is more violent. Religious war of conquest, that is, jihad, has the same role in Islam that the Lord’s Supper has in Christianity. Christianity (and Judaism) have exercised violence in the past but never sacralized violence. That is unique to Islam among the self-styled Mosaic religions."

"It is important to get the theology right–not so much to understand the depredations of radical Islam, which hardly are obscure, but to understand what makes the West different. Violence is incidental to Judaism and Christianity and fundamental to Islam."

"There is no Grace in Islam, no miracle, no expiatory sacrifice, no expression of love for mankind such that each Muslim need not be a sacrifice. On the contrary, the concept of jihad, in which the congregation of Islam is also the army, states that every single Muslim must sacrifice himself personally. Jihad is the precise equivalent of the Lord’s Supper in Christianity and the Jewish Sabbath, the defining expression of sacrifice that opens the prospect of eternity to the mortal believer. To ask Islam to become moderate, to reform, to become a peaceful religion of personal conscience is the precise equivalent of asking Catholics to abolish Mass."

Edward Cline said...

'...a Saudi Imam claimed that Columbus had sailed to America to attack Muslims..." Well, Columbus didn't really need to brave the Atlantic in three flimsy ships to attack Muslims in the New World. He could have stayed in Spain where Isabella and Ferdinand were kicking out the Muslims already.

Anonymous said...

The production company is a Suadi front: https://acmcu.georgetown.edu/2008-2009-activities
--Anon programmer

mmercier said...

If the lies were removed from the minds of the NYT drones the molecules would seperate, and scatter back into the ether.

Anonymous said...

There has also been a concerted effort to promote Islam through lies and distortions on Wikipedia. See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia_talk:Requests_for_comment/Jagged_85/Cleanup

MKG said...

Did PBS disclose who funded the film's production?
http://www.alwaleedfoundations.org/global/?project=/unity-productions-foundation-20000-dialogues/ (28 Oct 2011)
[Prince] Alwaleed Bin Talal Foundation has supported the organizational development and growth of Unity Production Foundation over the past few years, enabling the creation of award-winning films that further the ideals of inclusiveness and promote positive action....The lack of familiarity with Muslims and the culture of Islam undermines the quality of civic life for Americans...UPF’s emphasis is to share honest, humanizing stories of Muslims in the past and present, in an entertaining and compelling way that takes viewers beyond stereotypes

Anonymous said...

The George Washington Carver approach to solving Islamic terror. Telling inner city kids about George Washington Carver doesn't deter gang members. They aren't the type to be inspired by GWC or even if they are they might be smart enough to know they aren't a scientific genius and the discussion is worthless.

Telling the world and Moslems Islam has a big part of the establishment of the USA (it doesn't) will not make a shred of difference among those that love ISIS, Al Qaeda etc. It does create academic jobs. It takes a long line of proposals, writers, "experts", etc. to create this stuff. Moral equivalence is our only jobs producer.

XisDshizL said...

Obama has often claimed that Muslims have made significant contributions to American history, and yet he and his barking seal choir never get around to citing specific examples.

http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/07/27/statement-president-occasion-eid-al-fitr

"...the many achievements and contributions of Muslim Americans to building the very fabric of our nation and strengthening the core of our democracy."

I have confronted a few drone repeaters asking for citations and never are they forthcoming.

Daniel's analysis offers a reason why; they have none that are legitimate.

sound awake said...

“He who controls the past controls the future. He who controls the present controls the past.” -GEORGE ORWELL

Anonymous said...

The purpose of saying Moslems were here is to establish an Islamic claim. Once a land has been occupied by Moslems, the assertion is that land shall be Islamic forever, even if it needs to be re-conquered.

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