Wednesday, January 10, 2007
Jefferson and the Qu'ran
Recently, Keith Ellison (D-MN) was sworn in as a member of the House of Representatives. He wasn't sworn in on a Bible. Now, Calvin Coolidge refused to be sworn in on a Bible when he became President in 1923, so there's a precedent here -- sort of. Except that Ellison went a step farther, and was sworn in on a copy of the Qu'ran. It should surprise no one that Ellison is a Muslim. It should surprise everyone that there is no hard and fast rule about swearing in on a Bible, simply time-honored custom.
I'm not saying there should or should not be a rule, I'm just saying...
Ellison used a copy of the Qu'ran that was owned by President Thomas Jefferson currently held by the Library of Congress. He might be interested to know how Jefferson acquired it, and especially what Jefferson thought of Islam.
He might have thought twice. Slate magazine thought of it, though, and Christopher Hitchens elaborates in its pages.
Jefferson and John Adams … went to call on Tripoli’s envoy to London, Ambassador Sidi Haji Abdrahaman. They asked him by what right he extorted money and took slaves in this way. As Jefferson later reported to Secretary of State John Jay, and to the Congress:
The ambassador answered us that [the right] was founded on the Laws of the Prophet, that it was written in their Koran, that all nations who should not have answered 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 Mussulman who should be slain in battle was sure to go to Paradise.
(H/T to Allahpundit of Hot Air.)