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Pure
01-14-2007, 06:41 PM
AMERICA’S FOUNDING FATHERS PREPARED TO INCLUDE MUSLIMS
[By Shahed Amanullah - alt.muslim -- January 3, 2007]
================================================== =========================

The debate over a Muslim in Congress may seem new to you, but over two
centuries ago, the Founding Fathers considered the possibility. Guess
which
side they took ...

The news that Representative-elect Keith Ellison (D-MN) plans today to
take
an informal Congressional oath of office on a copy of the Qur'an once
owned
by Thomas Jefferson might seem surreal to those who cannot imagine that
the
Founding Fathers had anything but a passing familiarity with the
religion
that so dominates political discourse in 21st century America.

Ellison's specific choice of Qur'an was meant to highlight the
relationship
that Islam and Muslims have had with the United States since its
inception,
as well as the place that Islam's holy book had with one of the most
respected leaders of early America.

Adorned with his initials, Jefferson's Qur'an -- a 1764 English
translation
from Arabic by George Sale -- was purchased and used during his
comparative
legal studies, and was sold to the Library of Congress after the War of
1812.

Sale, while clearly distancing himself from Islamic theology in his
commentary (he calls the Prophet Muhammad a "criminal... imposing a
false
religion"), also states that "the praises due to his real virtues ought
not
to be denied him" and that Islam had no better or worse a historical
record
than Judaism or Christianity. And despite public opinion about Islam at
the
time (which differs little from Sale's professed negative statements),
Jefferson explicitly referenced Islam in his support of Virginia's
Statute
for Establishing Religious Freedom in 1786, where he praised its
protections of "the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and Mahometan
[Muslim], the Hindoo and the Infidel."

Early American writings show Jefferson wasn't alone. "It is clear that
the
Founding Fathers thought about the relationship of Islam to the new
nation," writes James Hutson, Manuscript Division Chief for the Library
of
Congress, "and were prepared to make a place for it in the republic."

One of the signers of the Declaration of Independence and a colleague
of
Jefferson, Pennsylvania's Benjamin Rush, wrote that he would "rather
see
the opinions of Confucius or Mohammed inculcated upon our youth than
see
them grow up wholly devoid of a system of religious principles." And
"If we
may openly speak the truth," wrote John Locke wrote in his influential
Letter Concerning Toleration, "neither Pagan nor Mahometan, nor Jew,
ought
to be excluded from the civil rights of the commonwealth because of his
religion."

An important point to note is that regardless of personal opinion about
the
religion of Islam, neither politician nor citizen during America's
founding
would countenance the exclusion of Muslims from American political or
civic
life.

During the formation of the United States, when the Constitution and
Bill
of Rights were being debated at both the state and federal level,
opponents
of religious freedom statutes cited the fear of a Muslim being elected
to
office. "As there are no religious tests, pagans, deists and Mahometans
might obtain office," argued Baptist Rev. Henry Abbot during North
Carolina's debate.

"In the course of four or five hundred years I do not know how it will
work," countered North Carolina Provincial Congress member William
Lancaster. "This is most certain, that Papists may occupy that
[government]
chair, and Mahometans may take it. I see nothing against it."

(Shahed Amanullah is editor-in-chief of alt.muslim. This article was
slightly edited for the Canadian Islamic Congress Friday Magazine.)
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Erundur
01-15-2007, 01:59 AM
Man, I can't wait to show this to my political science teacher, thanks for the info :thumbs_up
Reply

Pure
01-15-2007, 02:09 AM
alhumdullilah
Reply

north_malaysian
01-15-2007, 03:06 AM
thanks for the info.....:D
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Pure
01-15-2007, 03:47 PM
no problem :)
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Muezzin
01-15-2007, 08:24 PM
Good find.

Far right nuts need to see stuff like this and remember that the real American dream is for everyone who lives there, regardless of gender, colour or creed.
Reply

sudais1
01-16-2007, 12:42 AM
jazakallah sis
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north_malaysian
01-16-2007, 04:08 AM
Originally Posted by Muezzin

is for everyone who lives there, regardless of gender, colour or creed.
Yeah... that's the real "AMERICAN DREAM"...
Reply

Pure
01-16-2007, 05:07 AM
Inshallah!
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