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.

Accommodating Muslim employees *UPDATED*

I have the pleasure and privilege of being on some wonderful email lists, where I get to engage in conversations from all over America (and the world).  There’s a very interesting conversation going on right now about a new policy that Tyson Chicken announced:  It’s scrapping Labor Day as one of its official holidays and replacing it instead with Eid al-Fitr, one of the Islamic holy days.  The local Shelbyville (Tennessee) newspaper gives more information about this corporate decision:

The RWDSU stated that “the five-year contract creates an additional paid holiday, Iidal Fitil, a Muslim holiday that occurs toward the end of Ramadan.”

[snip]

Tyson’s Director of Media Relations, Gary Mickelson, stated that while the new contract does not provide an additional holiday, as the union claimed, “the new contract includes eight paid holidays, which is the same number provided in the old contract.”

“However, the union leadership did request and receive Eid al-Fitr (which is apparently spelled various ways including Id al-Fitr and Eid ul-Fitr) as a paid holiday in place of Labor Day,” Mickelson confirmed in an e-mail to the T-G.

This new policy arises from the fact that 700 out of the 1200 employees in Tyson’s Shelbyville plant are Somali Muslims.

This story has set some antennae wagging.  Although the story shows up at the Dhimmi Watch without comment, Andrea Shea King sees it as a very straightforward attack on American values.  Her point is that, while it seems innocuous enough on its own, it can be seen as part of a regular pattern in which Muslims demand increasingly large concessions from the dominant population.  She quotes from a Free Republic post that, in turn, quotes from Dr. Peter Hammond’s book: Slavery, Terrorism & Islam: The Historical Roots and Contemporary Threat to the effect that Islam never demands small concessions.  Instead, it’s always seeking societal tipping points.  I’ve seen this quotation before, and it’s compelling:

Islam is not a religion nor is it a cult. It is a complete system. Islam has religious, legal, political, economic and military components. The religious component is a beard for all the other components. Islamization occurs when there are sufficient Muslims in a country to agitate for their so-called ‘religious rights’.

When politically correct and culturally diverse societies agree to ‘the reasonable’ Muslim demands for their ‘religious rights,’ they also get the other components under the table. Here’s how it works (percentages source CIA: The World Fact Book (2007)).

As long as the Muslim population remains around 1% of any given country they will be regarded as a peace-loving minority and not as a threat to anyone. In fact, they may be featured in articles and films, stereotyped for their colorful uniqueness.

At 2% and 3% they begin to proselytize from other ethnic minorities and disaffected groups with major recruiting from the jails and among street gangs

From 5% on they exercise an inordinate influence in proportion to their percentage of the population. They will push for the introduction of halal (clean by Islamic standards) food, thereby securing food preparation jobs for Muslims. They will increase pressure on supermarket chains to feature it on their shelves — along with threats for failure to comply. (United States).

At this point, they will work to get the ruling government to allow them to rule themselves under Sharia, the Islamic Law. The ultimate goal of Islam is not to convert the world but to establish Sharia law over the entire world.

When Muslims reach 10% of the population, they will increase lawlessness as a means of complaint about their conditions (Paris –car-burnings). Any non-Muslim action that offends Islam will result in uprisings and threats (Amsterdam – Mohammed cartoons).

After reaching 20% expect hair-trigger rioting, jihad militia formations, sporadic killings and church and synagogue burning.

At 40% you will find widespread massacres, chronic terror attacks and ongoing militia warfare.

From 60% you may expect unfettered persecution of non-believers and other religions, sporadic ethnic cleansing (genocide), use of Sharia Law as a weapon and Jizya, the tax placed on infidels.

After 80% expect State run ethnic cleansing and genocide.

100% will usher in the peace of ‘Dar-es-Salaam’ — the Islamic House of Peace — there’s supposed to be peace because everybody is a Muslim: Of course, that’s not the case. To satisfy their blood lust, Muslims then start killing each other for a variety of reasons.

“Before I was nine I had learned the basic canon of Arab life. It was me against my brother; me and my brother against our father; my family against my cousins and the clan; the clan against the tribe; and the tribe against the world and all of us against the infidel.” — Leon Uris, “The Haj”

CJ, at a Soldier’s Perspective, expresses a similar concern.  He’s not troubled by people of faith — whatever faith — getting time off from work for their major holidays.  His concern is more limited:  “I DO have a problem when Muslim holidays REPLACE American holidays that have been around since 1894.”  That is, the problem isn’t accommodating different religions, it’s the fact that Muslims are chipping away at our American celebrations.

Tyson didn’t have to do it this way.  Instead, it could have done what more and more employers I know do.  They tag a few major holidays as dates on which they close the office:  New Year’s Day, July Fourth, Christmas, etc.  Then they announce that there will be two or three other “personal days” that the employees can use as they will.  You want to take Good Friday off?  Fine.  Jewish New Year and Yom Kippur?  Great.  Eid al-Fitr?  Go for it.

You’ll notice that I mentioned Christmas in that list of basic corporate holidays.  In the past, making Christmas a corporate holiday has always been sensible because, in a Christian nation, workplace reality is that most people would not turn up for work that day anyway.  The sensible employer, himself a Christian, traditionally bowed to reality and shut the plant down with good grace as a paid holiday.  One could argue that the same is happening in Shelbyville, where the majority of employees are going to vanish anyway on Eid al-Fitr.  It’s sensible to bow to reality, BUT….

The BUT here is twofold.  First, given that we live in a more inclusive, rather than a less inclusive era, and given that there is a way to give employees religious flexibility without acknowledging any single religion’s holiday, why in the world would Tyson write an Islamic holiday into the books?  It would seem that the trend would be to delete religious holidays from the roster, not to add them.

Second, because Islam is not just a religion, but is a political system, a nationalist system, and a culture that wants to take over the world, one can’t help but be concerned whenever someone with two options for addressing a problem chooses the one that is unduly deferential to Islam.  I would not feel the same concern if deference were paid to Hindus or Jews or Christians or just about any other religious group (including Wiccans, for that matter).

To fully understand why the deference to Islam is a greater concern, you should appreciate that there’s a bit more going on here than just substituting out a worker’s holiday for a religious holiday.  One of the contributors to the email string I mentioned at the beginning of the post (that would be Aaron, at Lifelike Pundits) pointed out that Tyson didn’t just cut out a long-standing non-religious American holiday in favor of an Islamic holiday (which could be justified on pragmatic grounds).  Instead, it also has installed a prayer room at its facility.  It does not have a Christian chapel or a Jewish Synagogue, or a Hindu temple, or any other religious room — just a prayer room.  In other words, it is definitely making special accommodations for its Muslim employees.

And once again, one might be inclined to say, big deal — meaning, in other words, what’s the big deal?  But the fact is that we know from other environments that this prayer room is indeed a big deal.  At Normandale Community College in Minnesota, a publicly funded institution, the college create what was ostensibly a non-denominational “prayer room.”  What happened, however, was that, with the college’s complicity, the Islamic community took it over, making it a hostile environment for all non-Muslims:

Last week, I visited a Muslim place of worship. A schedule for Islam’s five daily prayers was posted at the entrance, near a sign requesting that shoes be removed. Inside, a barrier divided men’s and women’s prayer space, an arrow informed worshippers of the direction of Mecca, and literature urged women to cover their faces.

Sound like a mosque?

The place I’m describing is the “meditation room” at Normandale Community College, a 9,200-student public institution in Bloomington.

[snip]

A row of chest-high barriers splits the room into sex-segregated sections. In the smaller, enclosed area for women sits a pile of shawls and head-coverings. Literature titled “Hijaab [covering] and Modesty” was prominently placed there, instructing women on proper Islamic behavior.

They should cover their faces and stay at home, it said, and their speech should not “be such that it is heard.”

“Enter into Islaam completely and accept all the rulings of Islaam,” the tract read in part. “It should not be that you accept what entertains your desires and leave what opposes your desires; this is from the manners of the Jews.”

“[T]he Jews and the Christians” are described as “the enemies of Allaah’s religion.” The document adds: “Remember that you will never succeed while you follow these people.”

[snip]

One thing was missing from the meditation room: evidence of any faith but Islam. No Bible, no crucifix, no Torah.

Normandale’s administration is facilitating the room’s Islamization. The college’s building crew erected the barrier separating men’s and women’s sections, according to Ralph Anderson, dean of student affairs. College officials also posted signs at the room’s entrance asking students to remove shoes — a Muslim custom before prayers. This was “basically a courtesy to Muslim students,” Anderson said.

Despite the room’s Islamic atmosphere, Anderson says it “is open to everyone.”

Why is the meditation room segregated by sex? “Muslim students prefer that areas be divided into male and female,” he said. “Other students don’t care.”

[snip]

Confrontations also erupted in the sex-segregated meditation room, according to Lunaas. “Muslim students just took it over. They made people who were not of the Muslim religion feel very uncomfortable, especially if they were female.”

One female student tried to use the room when Muslim students were in it, said Lunaas. “She believed she should be treated equally. They were telling her to leave, to take off her shoes, to go to the other side of the divider.”

The real concern therefore with Tyson’s approach to its Muslim employees is that, rather than providing a flexible environment in which people of all faiths can feel welcome, Tyson is giving several inches to a religious group that historically and habitually takes a mile.  Or, to use a remarkably appropriate Arab proverb:  “If the camel once gets his nose in the tent, his body will soon follow.”

I’m not worried about the Eid al-Fitr nose sneaking into just one corporate tent that happens to have a large Muslim work force.  I am, however, quite worried about the increasing number of tipping points that see an acquiescent Western population slowly cede more and more power to an aggressive (and intolerant) religious population.  While I didn’t give much credence to Al Gore’s boiling frog in the environmental context, it stands as a good warning in the Islam versus the West arena.

UPDATE:  See also Third Wave Dave’s post on this subject.  Amusingly, he came up with the same boiling froggy metaphor that I did.