"The first Muslim ambassador to the United States, from Tunisia, was hosted by President Jefferson, who arranged a sunset dinner for his guest because it was Ramadan — making it the first known iftar at the White House, more than 200 years ago."How very disingenuous. We have here a fact presented not merely out of context, but so deceitfully as to be a laughable fraud.
First of all, the term 'a part of America' needs some thoughtful defining. I think we can mostly agree that the implication is that the mere act of feting the Tunisian envoy during his diplomatic mission to the US is some sort of general inclusion of Islam into the American experience at that early date.
How? Merely through his temporary presence in our country? Even though we were in conflict with his state at the time?
What's that, you say? 'Conflict'?
That would be the same Treaty of Tripoli that was essentially a protection racket against the United States, requiring that tribute be paid to avoid being the victim of piracy.
That would be the same John Adams who reluctantly figured that bribing the pirates of Barbary was cheaper than military engagement (out of an understanding that the political will and money for creating the necessary naval force was out of reach for the time being).
And that would be the same Thomas Jefferson who, with his great knowledge and understanding of the Koran, reversed our course and decided that military engagement against the various Muslim states engaged in piracy was the only sensible way to proceed.
And then bombarded their coastline, invaded them, and persuaded them to find a new hobby.
This particular piece of history cannot be rewritten to suit current PC needs. The reasons for the envoy's visit cannot be recast into some pap about multicultural understanding.
But Obama & Co. will try, for all they're worth.
By the way, who were the Tripoli bastards? From Wikipedia:
The Barbary Corsairs, sometimes called Ottoman Corsairs or Barbary Pirates, were an alliance of Muslim pirates and privateers who operated from North Africa from the time of the Crusades (11th century) until the early 19th century. Based in North African ports such as Tunis, Tripoli, Algiers, Salé, and other ports in Morocco, they sailed mainly along the stretch of northern Africa known as the Barbary Coast. Their predation extended throughout the Mediterranean, south along West Africa's Atlantic seaboard and even South America, and into the North Atlantic as far north as Iceland, and they primarily commandeered western European ships in the western Mediterranean Sea. In addition, they engaged in Razzias, raids on European coastal towns, to capture Christian slaves to sell at slave markets in places such as Algeria and Morocco.
And why might Jefferson have had a problem with the bastards? And islam in general?
In 1786, Thomas Jefferson, then the ambassador to France, and John Adams, ambassador to Britain, met in London with Sidi Haji Abdul Rahman Adja, a visiting ambassador from Tripoli. The Americans asked Adja why his government was hostile to American ships, even though there had been no provocation. They reported to the Continental Congress that the ambassador had told them "it was written in their Koran, that all nations which had not acknowledged the Prophet were sinners, whom it was the right and duty of the faithful to plunder and enslave," but he also told them that for what they considered outrageous sums of money they could make peace.(also from Wikipedia)
"You vile unbelievers, allah says we can use you any way we choose! And if you pay us off, we'll stop enslaving you, for a while."
So our first big contacts with islam were due to muslims pirating our ships and enslaving and killing our people; sounds just like nowadays in some ways, doesn't it?
Added: a little different wording from Sondra:
...In 1786 Thomas Jefferson, then US ambassador to France, and John Adams, then US Ambassador to Britain, met in London with Sidi Haji Abdul Rahman Adja, the Dey’s ambassador to Britain, in an attempt to negotiate a peace treaty with the Barbary Pirates based on Congress’ vote of funding. To the US Congress these two future Presidents later reported the reasons for the Muslims’ hostility towards America, a nation with which they had no previous contacts.”...that it was founded on the Laws of their Prophet, 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.”