Did Barack Obama just praise slavery? (Probably not, but….)

Muslim slave traders in AfricaPresident Obama and Michelle Obama released a joint statement to commemorate Eid-al-Fitr, which marks the end of Ramadan. The statement contains a very interesting turn of phrase (emphasis mine):

In the United States, Eid also reminds us of the many achievements and contributions of Muslim Americans to building the very fabric of our nation and strengthening the core of our democracy. That is why we stand with people of all faiths, here at home and around the world, to protect and advance their rights to prosper, and we welcome their commitment to giving back to their communities.

“President Obama,” I wanted to ask after having read that, “please tell me what contributions Muslim Americans have made to the fabric of our nation?”

Since I didn’t expect to get an answer to that imaginary question, I did a little research on my own. According to the Wikipedia article on Islam in America, Muslims arrived on American shores in three waves: (1) with the slave trade, since approximately 10% of slaves rounded up by Muslim traders in Africa and then sold to English/American ship masters in the triangle trade were Muslim; (2) late 19th and early 20th century Muslims from the former Ottoman Empire (meaning central European, rather than Middle Eastern and North African Muslims); and (3) the steady trickle of Arab Muslims from the 1960s onwards.

All of these Muslims put together have resulted in a modern Muslim presence in America equal to about 0.8% of the population. In other words, in terms of numbers, Muslims have made little dent in the population.  Of course, as Jews have shown, numbers may not necessarily matter if one can affect the culture.  Because of Jewish dominance in Hollywood, on Broadway, on Tin Pan Alley, and, to a certain extent, in the world of literature, American Jews have had a disproportionate affect on American culture.  (See, e.g, Ben Shapiro’s book, Primetime Propaganda: The True Hollywood Story of How the Left Took Over Your TV, which describes how liberals in Hollywood, almost all of them Jewish, used television in the 1960s and 1970s to tilt the entire country’s popular culture to the Left.)

It’s true that there are numerous Muslims in America who have achieved some degree of fame, but few of them have achieved any great degree of fame. None of the names on the list seem to go back more than fifty years. Moreover, if my own recognition of famous names is anything to go by, some of the most famous Muslims are African-Americans who converted through the Nation of Islam in the 1960s.  A handful of them — Malcolm X, Muhammed Ali, etc. — became sufficiently famous to be recognizable outside of African-American circles, but they didn’t change the culture.  (On the other hand, Martin Luther King, a Christian, changed the culture profoundly.)

Aside from a few famous people, I didn’t see on the list the names of any people who significantly changed America. Sure, there are politicians, but each is just one among many. Keith Ellison, for example (another Nation of Islam follower), was the first Muslim elected to Congress, but he’s just been a garden-variety Leftist. The same can be said for all other Muslim journalists and political figures on the list. Put another way, none struck me as people “building the very fabric of our nation.”

Who, then, built the fabric of our nation? Let me go back to those slaves who came in the first wave….

America’s original capital was Philadelphia. It was only in 1790 that Congress passed legislation authorizing the creation of a capital city on the Potomac River. Before this legislation passed, there was little there other than swamps and a few small outposts.

Building a capital city from scratch took labor and, considering that Washington D.C. is in the deep South, it should come as no surprise to learn that much of this labor came from slaves (10% of whom, on average, had Muslim roots and may have practiced their faith in secret despite slave owners’ efforts to quash it). Indeed, slaves had a hand in creating two of the most iconic buildings in our nation’s capital: The U.S. Capitol and the White House.

It wasn’t just those famed buildings, though, that relied upon slaves. It was the whole city that benefited from cheap slave labor:

Historians say slaves were the largest labor pool when Congress in 1790 decided to create a new national capital along the Potomac surrounded by the two slave-owning states of Maryland and Virginia.

Over the next decade, local farmers rented out their slaves for an average of $55 a year to help build the Capitol, the White House, the Treasury Department and the streets laid out by city planner Pierre L’Enfant.

Slaves cut trees on the hill where the Capitol would stand, cleared stumps from the new streets, worked in the stone quarries where sandstone was cut and assisted the masons laying stone for the walls of the new homes of Congress and the president.

They also were involved in the expansion of the Capitol in the late 1850s.

That forced behavior — laboring as slaves on the buildings that lie at the heart of our republic — really is “building the very fabric of our nation.”

Do I honestly believe that Barack Obama was trying to praise Muslim slaves with his Eid-al-Fitr statement? No. I don’t think Barack Obama was trying to say anything at all. These were feel-good buzzwords to a minute segment of the American community, most of whom have led bland and blameless lives for decades. American Muslims have contributed to the fabric of our country only in the way most of us have — simply by being here, holding jobs, and paying taxes.

Obama would be utterly flummoxed if he were actually asked to name any more specific Muslim contributions to the “very fabric” of our country than just being here. Still, though, there is a bizarre history truth to his fatuously uttered (or written) words, and that truth lies in the nature of American slavery.  This slavery couldn’t have happened without Arab Muslim traders in Africa, and it included around 60,000 black Muslim men, women, and children, some of whom almost certainly built the house in which Obama now lives.

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Comments

  1. says

    “considering that Washington D.C. is in the deep South, ”

    With respect; DC is not in the Deep South. It’s in the Southern sphere, sure, but not in the South as commonly understood. Many Southerner’s regard DC as Yankeeland, albeit below the Mason – Dixon Line.

    The Deep South is more in the nature of Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia,,Louisiana, and Arkansas. The ‘Near South’ encompasses North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Kentucky, and Tennessee,

    Maryland and Delaware may try and front, but they ain’t in it.

  2. Wolf Howling says

    Muslims did play a major role, not in the founding of our nation, but certainly in the years immediately afterwards. Their attacks on U.S. merchant ships and enslavement of our sailors and citizens – all actions they justified on the Koran – gave us a permanent navy and marine corps, our first war hero as a nation in Stephen Decatur, and a line in the Marine Corps hymn. Honestly, I can’t think of a thing constructive that Muslims have done since the 12th century. Everywhere they are, everything they touch, it’s death and destruction. I am so tired of the apologists for Islam, our POTUS in particular. We won’t be rid of the problem – we won’t even take the first step to be rid of the problem – until we get a President with the stones to be honest with us and the world about Islam. As far as I’m concerned, Israel is justified in turning Gaza into a parking lot, and Turkey should be out of NATO on its ear for sending the Gaza flotilla. Hell, we, not Israel, should sink it.

  3. qr4j says

    Like most of what Obama says, this praise of Muslims is just fluff. It means nothing except, “I heart Muslims!” The statement could have been written by a middle school girl with a crush on a cute boy.

    The problems is, of course, that what passes for real religion among too many Muslims in the world is DEATH. Too many Muslims are not “CUTE.” Mind you, I refuse to say the majority of Muslims are entrenched in a culture of death. I don’t have data to support that. However, there are enough who make the news to say “too many.”

    Back to Obama: He’s President Fluff — with a razor blade often times in the middle of the fluff. He’s the most meaningless leader I know of who still manages to slice and dice this country. I loathe the man. Truly loathe him.

    • ZaMan says

      Racist Bigoted Right attack Obama for FACTUAL statement about Muslims!

      According the Racists and bigots of the Right, something is wrong with
      you if you prompt up ANY group NOT white or Chrisitan. What do you
      expect from the group that believes America was founded by white people,
      when it was ACTAULY founded by people of ALL races!
      I have been
      saying it for years. It’s like white conservatives can not accept
      reality that white people will soon become the minority population in
      America. This all consuming fear of becoming the minority population
      fuels the Tea Party conservative agenda.
      President Obama correctl
      asserted that Muslims have contributed to building the very fabric or
      our nation… Some may wish to think, or have been terribly misinformed,
      that modern Algebra (which comes from the Arabic word الجبر “al-jabr”
      or “restoration”) that we Americans use today had nothing to do with
      mathematicians like Al-Khwarizmi; Omar
      Khayyam; Sharaf Al-Dīn
      al-Tūsī; Al-Karaji; or Ibn An-Nadim. Whereas these were in fact the
      co-inventors and authors of Algebra. In the same vein that Abu Kamil
      Shuja Al-Misri or Al-Hasib, besides authoring books to be followed on
      Quadratic and Indeterminate Equations, also calculated before 930 CE,
      the most accurate easily carried fractional notation of Pi = 22/7 which I
      personally use today. And our colonial founders knowledgeably carried
      important information like this with them before disembarking in North
      America.
      Nytx Spirit well when one posts that the president is a
      POS and and scum bag muslim without proof then I would think that one
      invites critics to question if his views are perhaps shaded in part by
      racism, you jumping to his defense over his verbiage indicate to me that
      perhaps you too are a racist POS
      Obama did not say that Muslims
      alone built the fabric of our nation, instead he said they had
      contributions.. Just like Scottish Americans (John Dunlop, founder of
      Dunlop Tire Company) or African Americans (inventor of the traffic
      signal) or German Americans (Albert Einstein, self-explanatory), all
      have had some part in the building of America.
      For your Information America is NOT, never WAS, and NEVER WILL BE a Chrisitan Nation, it is a nation of ALL religions!
      take it that many of the people commenting on this article are stuck
      on the idea that Obama said that “Muslims built this country”, which he
      didn’t. He did say that they are building the fabric of our nation,
      which is true as the U.S. is reliant on foreign nations for oil,
      especially the nations that practice Islam. And I suppose that because
      doing business with the countries that trade oil with the United States
      makes this a productive Nation and helps fuel the objectives of the
      government, that the contributions of people from the “Muslim World”, as
      well as other countries, are strengthening the core of our democracy,
      which relies on our economy. In my opinion, he did mention this at an
      inappropriate time, as this has nothing to do with Ramadan, but what he
      says isn’t untrue. It seems that people’s hatred for the religion that
      is known as “Islam” is causing them to hate anything associated with it,
      even a true statement of the state of our economy being largely
      influenced by countries that practice Islam, and not necessarily in a
      negative way all the time.
      Hitler killed millions of Jews, who has President Obama killed?
      All President Obama has done was end one war, killed Osama Bin Laden and get millions of people access to Health Care.
      Just
      because you and pothers on the right keep using Obama and Hitler in the
      same breath, does not mean Obama is like anything like Hitler. Just
      because you and others keep on saying that , it does not make it true.
      1. No he’s not a Muslim.
      2. He got voted to the office of the president by the people of the United States, so he holds his office legally.
      3. A traitor is someone who works against the best interest of the people. I have yet to see evidence that he is a traitor.
      4. He is not, he has almost none of the characteristics to make a Marxists and most of us have at least some.
      5. Same as number 4.
      6. George W Bush went to war with two poor nations thus costing America billions of dollars and many lives.
      Obama got American soldiers out of those countries and is trying to fix your beaten economy.
      7. No, he is married to a woman with at least two kids. Even if he was then so what?
      8. Every single person has a certain amount of social ideas in him but he is still not a socialist.
      9.
      No, he got American soldiers out of Afghanistan and Iraq, has saved the
      taxpayers billions of dollars, created about 4 million new jobs and his
      health reforms are the best America has ever had.
      I
      kept saying ANYONE who hates Barack Obama do so because they are
      Racist, bigoted, black-hating, extremists scumbag. I can take solance
      knowing I was right ALL along.
      Disgusting a-hole calling the
      President of the United States a terrorist! Anyone who calls Obama a
      fraud and a POS is without doubt a disgusting racist, bigoted piece of
      shite, and That’s a fact.
      Calling the POTUS a POS and a fraud seems to the usual calling call for you right-wing racists and bigots like you!

  4. Libby says

    Obama must have been praising all of the Muslim institutions across America – the hospitals, schools, long-standing charitable organizations that help the needy in their regardless of their faith, assistance provided to communities in the aftermath of events such as hurricanes Katrina & Sandy….
    No, wait. The only things Muslims have built here are mosques and “charitable” organizations that support jihad abroad..

    • Caped Crusader says

      I am surprised that you forgot the Islamic American Regiment that formed immediately following the 9/11attack and fought so valiantly in Iraq and Afghanistan sustaining more casualties and winning more medals than the famous WWll 442nd Regimental Combat Team composed of Japanese Americans who fought so valiantly that they were the most decorated unit in the war, and shamed America into the way they had been treated!

  5. says

    Note that the courts granted THEMSELVES judicial immunity – it is NOT anything embedded in our Founding Documents. Furthermore, it dates back fewer than 50 years!!

    “The courts granted immunity to judges under the guidance of the U.S. Supreme Court,which established the judicial immunity doctrine in 1967 when it ruled that a Mississippi justice of the peace was immune from a civil rights suit for trying to enforce illegal segregation laws.”

    Please explain to me what, besides “an exercise of raw judicial power”, to quote someone famous, could justify immunizing a judicial officer for actions to enforce an ILLEGAL law!?! What a racket!

    On the other hand, a qualified immunity is probably justified. I don’t know anything about the merits of the specific case below, but I could easily construct an argument that the mother did what she thought was best for her daughter, and assuming that the sterilization was legal at the time, the judge should not be sued for his decision.

    “The U.S. Supreme Court weighed in on the issue again in 1978, when it blocked a lawsuit against an Indiana judge who had authorized the sterilization of a mentally handicapped 15-year-old girl at her mother’s request. The girl, who didn’t learn she was sterile until she got married — she was told she had an appendectomy — sued on due process grounds, but lost.”

    That these two cases are conflated is an outrage – they are completely different! But even worse is this one about the guy having an affair with the party on one side of a case in front of him. Of COURSE he should be subject to a civil suit!! Personally, I think any judge who defrauds a petitioner in this way (or any other) ought to go to jail!

  6. jj says

    Said it before, will doubtless say it again. And again. Until everybody knows it. If the test of being a Muslim is that they believe in that blood-soaked roll of toilet-paper that serves them as a “holy” book, then they have not let “bl;and and blameless lives.” They have been supporters, either actively or covertly, of everything from murder, rape and torture to pissing in the soup, and I can’t think of a society on the planet that benefits – or has ever benefited – from their presence.

    • Caped Crusader says

      I have always loved the Jefferson Memorial, it’s architecture and inscribed quotations inside, above all others. Was it not Jefferson who dealt with the Barbary pirates (……to the shores of Tripoli–from the Marine Hymn)? Perhaps we could get inscribed on an outside panel jj’s famous words, “There is no peaceful Islam, there is only Islam”. Worthy of the “Sayings of Confucius”.

  7. lee says

    Most of the people on that list that of Moslem Americans that have made positive contributions are from places like Iran, India, Turkey… I suspect that their ethnic background has more to do with their contributions than does their religious affiliation.

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