Muslims Captured and Enslaved Hundreds of Americans

Wednesday

The following passages are excerpted from the excellent book, The Pirate Coast: Thomas Jefferson, the First Marines, and the Secret Mission of 1805, by Richard Zacks:

In 1801, just after the inauguration of Thomas Jefferson, Tripoli had become the first country ever to declare war on the United States. The ruler, Yussef Karamanli, had ordered his Janissaries to chop down the flagpole at the U.S. consulate to signal his grave displeasure with the slow trickle of gifts from America. Jefferson, when he learned the news, had responded by sending a small fleet to confront Tripoli and try to overawe it into a peace treaty.

For more than two centuries, the Barbary countries of Morocco, Tunis, Algiers, and Tripoli (now called Libya) had been harassing Christian ships, seizing cargo and capturing citizens. Algiers once boasted more than 30,000 Christian slaves, including one Miguel Cervantes, before he wrote Don Quixote. European powers in the 1500s and 1600s fought ferocious battles against Muslim pirates like Barbarosa. However, over time, a cynical system of appeasement had developed. The nations of Europe paid tribute — in money, jewels, and naval supplies — to remain at peace. England and France — in endless wars — found it cheaper to bribe the Barbary pirates than to devote a squadron to perpetually trawling the sea off Africa. At its core, expediency outweighed national honor.

When the thirteen American colonies split off from mother England, they lost British protection. The United States found itself lumped in the pile of potential Barbary victims, alongside the likes of Sardinia and Sicily. (From 1785 to 1815, more than six hundred American citizens would be captured and enslaved. This nuisance would prove to be no mere foreign trade issue but rather a near-constant hostage crisis.)

In colonial days, preacher Cotton Mather had described Barbary slaves as living for years in dug-out pits with a crosshatch of bars above... Galley slaves also lived to tell of being chained naked to an oar, forced to row ten hours at a stretch. Slaves, facing forward, pushed the forty-foot-long oars by rocking back to near horizontal, as though in a grotesque limbo contest, and then lurching with full strength, again and again. During hard chases, they were sustained by a wine-soaked rag shoved in their mouths...

Rituals varied, but in one account (of a North African slave auction) an American stated that after being purchased: "I was forced to lie down in the street and take the foot of my new master and place it upon my neck." Another described being forced to lick the dust along a thirty-foot path to the throne of the [king] of Algiers (now called Algeria).

John Foss survived captivity in Algiers, and his popular account ran in several American newspapers in the late 1790s, fleshing out the nightmare. He wrote of prisoners (Americans who had been captured on American ships and enslaved) routinely shackled with forty-pound chains, forced to perform sunrise-to-sunset labor ranging from digging out sewers to hauling enormous rocks for the harbor jetty. He matter-of-factly described the most common Barbary punishment for light infractions: bastinado of 150 strokes: "The person is laid upon his face, with his hands in irons behind him and his legs lashed together with a rope. One taskmaster holds down his head and another his legs, while two others inflict the punishment upon his breech (his buttocks) with sticks, somewhat larger than an ox goad. After he has received one half in this manner, they lash his ankles to a pole, and two Turks (Muslims) lift the pole up, and hold it in such a manner, as he brings the soles of his feet upward, and the remainder of his punishment, he receives upon the soles of his feet."

In 1803, Tripoli captured the Philadelphia. The Americans onboard the beautiful 1,200-ton American frigate were captured too, most of them enslaved.

The loss of the Philadelphia and its 307 crewmen and officers on Kaliusa Reef in Tripoli harbor marked a national disaster for the young United States. The Bashaw (king of Tripoli), a wily and worthy adversary, would set his first ransom demand for the American slaves at $1,690,000, more than the entire military budget of the United States.

Navy officers like the fierce Captain John Rodgers would beg for the chance to attack Tripoli to avenge and free his comrades; diplomats such as Tobias Lear, a Harvard graduate, yearned for the glory of negotiating their release. But the man who would one day speed their freedom more than all others was a stubby disgraced former army officer...

Here's a quote by William Eaton (the stubby former army officer): "If the Congress do not consent that the government shall send a force into the Mediterranean to check the insolence of these scoundrels and to render the United States respectable, I hope they will resolve at their next session to wrest the quiver of arrows from the left talon of the American Eagle...and substitute a fiddle bow or a cigar in lieu."

Eaton also said, "Let my fellow-citizens be persuaded that there is no borne limit to the avarice of the Barbary princes; like the insatiable grave, they can never have enough. Consign them the revenues of the United States as the price of peace, they would still tax our labors for more veritable expressions of friendship. But it is a humiliating consideration to the industrious citizen, the sweat of whose brow supports him with bread, that a tithe from his hard earnings must go to the purchase of oil of roses to perfume the pirate's beard!

"It is true that Denmark and Sweden (and even the United States, following their example) gratuitously furnish almost all their materials for ship-building and munitions of war; besides the valuable jewels and large sums of money we are continually paying into their hands for their forbearance, and for the occasional ransom of captives...Without these resources they would soon sink under their own ignorance and want of means to become mischievous. Why this humiliation? Why furnish them the means to cut our own throats?"

After the crew of the Philadelphia was enslaved, the captives were hoping the U.S. government would pay their ransom and bring them home.

Everyone knew that ransom might take months or years, but they also knew that there existed a simple way for the men to become free immediately, and that was to convert to Islam. Less than three weeks into captivity, John Wilson, a quartermaster born in Sweden, decided to "turn Turk" (convert), as did Thomas Prince, a seventeen-year-old from Rhode Island. Three more Americans would follow them.

The officials of Tripoli, who encouraged and allowed the religious conversion, took the matter seriously. Since the Koran forbids Muslims from enslaving Muslims, a conversion meant freedom from slavery. As Ray put it, "Thomas Prince was metamorphosed from a Christian to a Turk." His choice word metamorphosed was quite apt. Not only did the ritual involve words of faith and promises to perform new rituals, but also a change of clothes and that inevitable loss of foreskin. While circumcision is not mentioned in the Koran (as it is in the Old Testament, Genesis 17:11), the rite became sanctified by Muslim theologians as far back as the seventh and eighth centuries.

The main story of the book is that William Eaton and seven U.S. Marines organized and led a group of thousands of enemies of the king of Tripoli and captured the second biggest city in the country, making the king willing to negotiate a treaty and return the captured Americans. A few years later, the American navy became powerful enough to put a permanent end to the Muslim capture of American ships in the Mediterranean.

The above (except what is in italics) was excerpted from the book, The Pirate Coast, by Richard Zack. Without ever saying it explicitly, these excerpts demonstrate that aggression toward Western nations in the name of Islam is not a modern phenomenon, and is not caused by recent grievances. Modern grievances used to justify violence are pretexts, used since Mohammad's time (read more about that here). The reason Thomas Jefferson knew this is because he read the Koran.  

If you would like to share the excerpts above, we've posted these same passages on Inquiry Into Islam (to make it easier to share). Use this link: Hundreds of Americans Were Captured and Enslaved

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"Honor Diaries" is a Good Recruiting Tool

Thursday

Many of us find it difficult to talk to people about Islamic doctrine and Sharia law. Some people resist listening to us or accepting what we say. A new film, first screened last fall at the Chicago International Film Festival — Honor Diaries — can help us reach more people by showing the viewer what's being done in the Muslim world without creating resistance to the information.

The film doesn't focus on Islam. Instead, it exposes what the "honor" system does.

The film profiles and interviews nine women who have been victims of an honor culture. The film is deliberately not anti-Muslim. It won't cause your multicultural friends to turn away from the message. It will reach them where they can be reached: On the topic of the oppression and victimization of women. It's a brilliant approach, and could help recruit more people into pushing back the spread of Sharia. Ayaan Hirsi Ali is the Executive Producer of the film.

We urge you to share the movie — have a screening, and when it's available on DVD, buy it and share it with your friends. Share the trailer on your Facebook page. Help this film become popular. Click here for a video about the film's Global Screening Campaign. They are officially launching the film in March of this year (2014). March 8th is International Women's Day and the Honor Diaries promoters are partnering with several organizations at events in New York, Los Angeles, London, etc.

The main website for the film is HonorDiaries.com. Watch a trailer, learn more about the film, and sign up for updates. The website describes the film this way: Honor Diaries is the first film to break the silence on "honor violence" against women and girls. Honor Diaries is more than a movie, it is a movement to save women and girls from human rights abuses — around the world and here in America.

The film features nine courageous women's rights advocates with connections to Muslim-majority societies who are engaged in a dialogue about gender inequality.

These women, who have witnessed firsthand the hardships women endure, are profiled in their efforts to effect change, both in their communities and beyond.

The film gives a platform to exclusively female voices and seeks to expose the paralyzing political correctness that prevents many from identifying, understanding and addressing this international human rights disaster. Freedom of movement, the right to education, forced marriage, and female genital mutilation are some of the systematic abuses explored in depth.

Spurred by the Arab Spring, women who were once silent are starting to speak out about gender inequality and are bringing visibility to a long history of oppression. This project draws together leading women’s rights activists and provides a platform where their voices can be heard and serves as inspiration to motivate others to speak out.

In the Oregon Independent, Catherine DeRego says this about Honor Diaries:

Executive Producer Ayaan Hirsi Ali, born in Somalia, is an outspoken defender of women’s rights in Islamic societies. She is also the founder of the AHA Foundation created to “help protect and defend the rights of women in the West from oppression justified by religion and culture.”

Here’s what she says about the film:

“In male-dominated cultures, like Saudi Arabia, women and girls are treated like property, forced into marriage, and suffer female genital mutilation. In Honor Diaries, I am proud to join a courageous cast of female human rights activists to speak the truth; that culture is no excuse for abuse.”

The filmmakers are asking everyone in the community to host a screening of Honor Diaries on March 8, 2014, or any time this spring to “Celebrate the stories of 9 amazing women’s rights activists,” and to bring awareness to these crimes against Muslim women. In the United States, all women are entitled to the same liberties and freedoms as men have irrespective of religion. There is no gender inequality under our Constitution, nor should there be in any other nation. Violence hidden behind the veil of one’s religious teachings is a crime against all humanity under God. Let the American people stand for freedom as we always have and join this movement to help end the violence against Muslim women in this country and across the world.

You can purchase the film here: Order Honor Diaries.

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Bill Warner's Strategy For Neutralizing the Apologists for Islam

Monday

Bill Warner has a new video outlining a way for small groups of counterjihadists to neutralize the arguments of apologists and to stop the silence of the media about the disturbing nature of Sharia law. You can watch his video here:

Voices for the Voiceless

I suggest that you watch this video at your next ACT! for America or Q Society meeting, and then start putting the strategy into action.

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How I Helped a Young Man Understand a Central Fact About the Koran

Thursday

Earlier tonight I worked late and gave one of my workmates a ride home. On the way, I was telling him about a book I am reading: The Pirate Coast. I said, "It's an interesting story and well-written. You know the Marines Hymn? From the halls of Montezuma to the shores of Tripoli? The book is about how the United States Marines defeated Tripoli and why. Do you know the story?"

"No, I don't think so," he replied. "Where's Tripoli?"

"It's where Libya is now. Used to be called Tripoli. This is back in the early 1800s. It's North Africa, along the coast of the Mediterranean. The countries along the whole North African coast had been conquered by Muslim warriors centuries before, and they were all making pretty good money capturing ships traveling off their coast. There have always been lots of ships carrying goods to and fro in the Mediterranean. So these pirates would seize ships, take all the goods and the ships and then either ransom the crew or enslave them. When a country complained, they said, 'We will not attack ships from your country if you pay us this much money per year.' Eleven European countries took this deal. And the United States also paid the tribute money because they didn't have a navy to speak of, so they couldn't defend themselves militarily. We were a new country and didn't have much money, and paying the tribute was cheaper than raising a navy."

I'm a fast talker and he seemed to be enjoying the story, so I kept going. I should mention that he and I have never talked about Islam before. He was relatively new at work and he and I had excellent rapport.

The reason I'm telling you this story is that I realized afterward that I had given him some important basic information about Islam without him ever even knowing that's what I was doing. He is very laid back, and kind of reminds me of a younger version of The Dude from The Big Lebowski — kind of a live-and-let-live sort of fellow, and if I had come at him head-on with information about Islamic doctrine, I feel sure he would have resisted. But I didn't do that and he didn't resist, and I don't think he will ever look at Islam the same way again.

Anyway, I told him, "The story takes place when Thomas Jefferson was president. But before he became president, he was the American ambassador to France and he met the ambassador to Tripoli. He and John Adams sat down with Tripoli's ambassador and asked him, 'Why does your country attack our ships? We've never done anything to you.' The ambassador said, 'Our Koran commands us to make war on the infidels.'

"Jefferson found this hard to believe, so he bought a copy of the Koran and read it. As far as I know, he's the only president who ever did this. I read the Koran myself, and let me tell you, it is a shocker. Jefferson found out that the Tripoli ambassador was telling the truth. It is a Muslim's duty to make war on infidels until the whole world is Islamic. It is not optional, according to the Koran. It is an obligation of all Muslims."

My workmate looked surprised at this, but I didn't pause. I said, "So when Jefferson became president, he knew that Tripoli was not someone the U.S. would be able to negotiate with. There was no 'working things out' like he might do with a European country. So he started finding the funds to build up a navy powerful enough to defeat Tripoli.

"But the book is really about a guy named William Eaton, who was very bothered by the fact that the United States was paying tribute. It irked him to no end, and he came up with a plan to defeat Tripoli, and against all odds, and through the most unlikely alliances and through sheer determination, he and a small number of Marines managed to actually do it. It's a great book. History is always stranger than you'd expect."

Of all the different ways I have used to help my fellow non-Muslim citizens understand Islamic doctrine, this method has consistently worked the best: Simply talk about an interesting book I'm currently reading, and add in a few fundamental facts in the middle in such a way that they don't want to argue with me because they want to hear the rest of the story. So they are left with this disturbing piece of information about Islamic doctrine, delivered in a very convincing manner (in this case, the Koran's ugly secrets were confirmed by Thomas Jefferson and me), and all done within a context of good rapport and in a way that remains completely non-confrontational.

This won't work for every circumstance or every person, certainly, but when it happens, it is a beautiful thing.

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Click here to read the article.


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