No, Professor Ahmed, the Founders Were Not So Fond of Islam
It is certainly one of the most convincing proofs that Mohammedism was no other than human invention, that it owed its progress and establishment almost entirely to the sword.
In his editorial, Akbar Ahmed claims:
Thomas Jefferson kept the ... Quran in his personal collection and it informed his decision to host the first presidential iftaar during Ramadan.
President Obama repeated this claim -- that Jefferson hosted the first presidential iftaar -- at the most recent White House Ramadan dinner.
Let's review the facts.
During the Barbary Wars, in 1805, the bey (i.e., monarch) of Tunis threatened war with the United States after the U.S. had been successful in capturing some Tunisian pirate ships. The bey sent an envoy to the United States to negotiate for the return of the ships. This envoy stayed in Washington for six months, during which the month of Ramadan passed.
One of Thomas Jefferson’s many invitations extended to this envoy to meet with him at the White House was during the month of Ramadan. To accommodate the envoy’s religious obligation, Jefferson changed the time of dinner from the usual “half after three” to “precisely at sunset.”
Jefferson was being polite -- not celebrating the first White House iftaar, as Akbar Ahmed suggests.
The first Ramadan iftaar was not actually held at the White House until 1996.
Indeed, in a letter dated June 26, 1822, Jefferson had this to say about Islam in a passage regarding Calvinism:
Verily I say these are the false shepherds foretold as to enter not by the door into the sheepfold, but to climb up some other way. They are mere usurpers of the Christian name, teaching a counter-religion made up of the deliria of crazy imaginations, as foreign from Christianity as is that of Mahomet.
For good measure, Akbar Ahmed also mentioned John Locke:
The Founding Fathers were also inspired by Christian thinkers like John Locke, who declared that the true Christian's duty was to "practice charity, meekness, and good-will in general toward all mankind, even to those that are not Christians."
Akbar Ahmed is currently Ibn Khaldoun chair and professor of Islamic studies at American University. Ibn Khaldoun was a 14th century Islamic philosopher and scholar, a man about whom Akbar Ahmed has written. Ibn Khaldoun advocated for violence against non-Muslims as a religious duty, in order to achieve the larger goal of dismantling non-Muslim civilization and imposing an Islamic caliphate.
Ibn Khaldoun makes it clear that holy war is the duty of every Muslim. From his most famous work, Muqaddimah:
In the Muslim community, the holy war is a religious duty, because of the universalism of the (Muslim) mission and (the obligation to) convert everybody to Islam either by persuasion or by force.
Akbar Ahmed is, as previously noted, an advisor to General Petraeus. One wonders if General Petraeuss has been influenced by the false teachings of this professor.