Recently I gave a speech to a regional Republican group. After my speech I took questions from the audience. One of the questions had nothing to do with the topic of my speech, but it was an excellent question nonetheless. I was asked to comment on the accuracy of President Obama’s statement made during a speech in Egypt that “Islam has always been a part of America’s history.” My response was simple. I said the President’s comment was “absurd” and that I would like him to explain what significant role in America’s history Muslims have played. In this column I take a closer look at the President’s comment.
If the President’s comment was accurate, one would expect that Muslims played a role in the founding of our country. Let’s examine that contention. Fifty-six Founding Fathers signed the Declaration of Independence and, although they were all religious men in various degrees, not one of them subscribed to the Islamic religion. On the contrary, the signers of the Declaration of Independence included 32 Episcopalians/Anglicans, 13 Congregationalists, 12 Presbyterians, 2 Quakers, 2 Unitarians, and one Catholic.
President Obama is a highly-educated man. Surely he would not claim that “Islam has always been a part of America’s history” without first checking the facts. Maybe George Washington had a regiment or two of Muslim troops during America’s War of Independence. After all, the British had their German Hessians as mercenaries. I checked. General Washington had no Muslims under his command, mercenaries or otherwise. In fact, it looks like the prayers that were lifted up from Valley Forge were all directed to the God of the Holy Bible. Not all of George Washington’s troops were devout Christians, but not one of them was a Muslim.
But let me give the President the benefit of the doubt. If Muslims played no role in the development of the Declaration of Independence or in helping win our War of Independence, perhaps one or more of the framers of the Constitution subscribed to Islam. I looked into this possibility. The principle author of the Constitution was James Madison but other framers also played significant roles including John Dickinson, Gouverneur Morris, Edmund Randolph, Roger Sherman, James Wilson, and George Wythe. The work of Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and Thomas Paine influenced the framers of the Constitution but these three stalwarts played no direct role in the development of the document. Not one of these men was a Muslim.
Still giving President Obama the benefit of the doubt, I thought that perhaps Muslims helped the Allied cause during World War II. After all, the war encompassed the entire globe including the Islamic countries of the Middle East and Northern Africa. I thought that perhaps the President was on to something, so I checked the historical record. It turns out that Arabs were indeed involved in World War II and although their record is mixed, they leaned heavily in favor of Adolph Hitler and the Nazis. In fact, the Grand Mufti, Haj Amin al-Husseini, actively collaborated with the Nazis. Once again it appears that the president’s fact checkers were a little lax in the history department.
Still wanting to be fair, I thought that perhaps President Obama was referring to a major role Muslims played in helping win the battle for Civil Rights in America. After all, the Civil Rights movement was a watershed moment in America’s history. Maybe Muslims helped Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. slay the dragon of Jim Crow during his epic battles against bigotry in Montgomery, Birmingham, and Selma. Once again I referred to the historical record. Sorry, Mr. President. I found nothing about Muslims lending a hand to the Civil Rights leaders. In fact, those people walking arm-in-arm with Dr. King during the Civil Rights battles were Jews, not Muslims.
It appears that President Obama is guilty of inventing history as a way to please his Egyptian audience. What is even worse than the President’s inaccurate and misleading statement about the role of Muslim’s in America’s history is how the mainstream media simply ignored it. Had the President been a Republican, mainstream media mavens would have suddenly become experts in American history and taken him to task for making inaccurate, misleading, and undocumented statements in front of a foreign audience. But holding the President’s feet to the fire concerning his public statements no longer interests the mainstream media. When a Democrat is the subject of controversy, journalistic ethics go out the window.