Skip to comments.An Historical Perspective on a Muslim Being Sworn into Congress on the Koran
Posted on 01/19/2007 6:35:59 PM PST by cf_river_rat
Is Keith Ellison actually the first Muslim to serve in the U. S. Congress? According to the national media, the answer is a resounding Yes! For example, among the numerous print media stories, the Washington Post proclaimed: Keith Ellison, the first Muslim elected to Congress, and the Associated Press (Pakistan) similarly announced, Keith Ellison, a 43-year old lawyer from Minnesota, became the first Muslim member of the US Congress. Among broadcast media, MSNBC pronounced him the first Muslim elected to Congress, and CNN reported that, In a political first, a Muslim has been elected to serve in the U. S. Congress.
However, as is often the case with the mainstream media, they were wrong: Keith Ellison is not the first Muslim Member of Congress; a Muslim served in Congress during the Founding Era.
The first Muslim Member of Congress was John Randolph of Virginia, who served in Congress from 1799-1834. Significantly, Francis Scott Key, author of the Star Spangled Banner, befriended Randolph and faithfully shared Christ with him. Randolph eventually converted from Islam to Christianity and became a strong personal advocate for his newfound faith. (Key also shared Christianity with other Muslims, and even bought them copies of the Christian Bible printed in Arabic.)
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How come we never heard about Mitt Romney demanding to be sworn in on "The Book of Mormon" ???
I thought Hussein Obama was the first Muslim elected to congress.
bump for publicity
Fascinating, thank you.
Ellison may not be the first Muslim in Congress but I hope he's the last. Ellison seems to be a true believer. A devout Muslim's loyalty is first, last and always to the Islamic Nation. At least we know that Ellison won't be involved with any pork barrel spending.
This guy is a member of "The Nation of Islam" which simply is not considered to be a truly Islamic organization.
He claims to be an American and Christianity is his faith.
Is there a second source for this?
Hugh A. Garland, The Life of John Randolph of Roanoke (New York: D. Appleton & Co., 1853), Vol. II, p. 102, to Dr. Brockenbrough, September 25, 1818.
Garland, Life of John Randolph, pp. 87-88, in a letter from Francis Scott Key, May-June 1816; pp. 99-100, Randolphs letter to Francis Scott Key, September 7, 1818; pp. 103-104, Keys letter to Randolph; 106-107, Keys reply to Randolphs letter of May 3, 1819; and pp. 108-109, Keys reply to Randolphs letter of August 8, 1819.
I have heard of John Randolph of Roanoke. He was a conservative gentleman, and I believe was descended from Pocahantas.
The idea that he was a Muslim is new to me, however, and seems hard to believe. Why would a native born American have been a Muslim?
The article goes on to say, some of the African slaves brought to America were Muslims, although that, too is not something I have really seen anything on, either. I've always heard them referred to as animists. The slave merchants were Muslims, but did they sell people of their own faith? Up to ten percent of the blacks they sold? That seems odd, too.
Does anyone know anything more about this? About Randolph or about Muslim slaves? Can these claims be confirmed?
The Black Muslim movement was relatively recent, and has no connections that I know of to earlier black experience in America. Most slaves by the time of the Emancipation were Christians, I believe. Black Muslims argued that Christianity was the religion of the slave masters, imposed upon blacks--but without realizing that slavery originated with Arab slave masters.
It is always amazing how much is left out of the history books.
"This guy is a member of "The Nation of Islam" which simply is not considered to be a truly Islamic organization."
Which authorities have decided that, and why do they continue to be counted as Muslim, in population reference sources.
I can't find a text of Garland on the internet, but I did find this:
This is the 1911 Encyclopedia Brittanica, which is famed as being more accurate than the later editions. It says, at the bottom of the first page:
"The best biography is that by Henry Adams, John Randolph (Boston, 1882), in the "American Statesmen Series." There is also a biography, which, however, contains many inaccuracies, by Hugh A. Garland (2 vols., New York, 1851)."
So, I don't think I would credit either of these statements, about Muslim slaves or about John Randolph, without some further evidence.
But see my posts 13 and 16. I think we need some confirming evidence before getting too excited about this.
The Orthodox Muslims.
and why do they continue to be counted as Muslim, in population reference sources.
For the same reason that Mormons are counted as Christians when most Orthodox Christians do not consider them so. It is how they consider themselves that counts in that case.
One is a civil label that is self awarded and one is a religious label that depends on the majority of the religious group you are claiming to belong to accepting that claim.
I have been unable to find any information about John Randolph being a Muslim. He was renowned as an eccentric, so it wouldn't have been overly shocking.
"The Orthodox Muslims."
Is that an organization, who are they?
That would be proof positive
Please keep me updated on your findings.
Maybe somewhere in the writings of Francis Scott Keyes. It could be true, I'd just like to see further confirmation.
I have a copy of the 11th edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica on my shelves, and just checked that that quotation I found on the internet is accurate.
I have The Education of Henry Adams, but I don't have his biography of Randoph at hand. His reputation was that he was an eccentric and an extreme Deist, I think, which is to say probably an agnostic or an atheist.
Ahmadis and Nation of Islam are held by them not to be Muslims.
It is a great article.
The Nation of Islam is not considered to be a truly Islamic organization by whom? I know a guy who is a "mainstream moderate" Muslim but he respects and admires Farrakhan and the NOI. I would suspect that he is not alone in his views. The NOI sees itself as being part of the "Muslim Nation." I don't see the NOI being criticized or condemned by CAIR and other supposedly "moderate" Muslim organizations.
Mr. Barton is not the most reliable of sources. He is promoting an agends and appears willing to bend and twist historical evidence to make it do so.
A small but significant proportion of African slaves, some estimate 10 percent, were Muslim. You might tell the story of Omar Ibn Said (also "Sayyid," ca. 1770-1864), who was born in Western Africa in the Muslim state of Futa Toro (on the south bank of the Senegal River in present-day Senegal). He was a Muslim scholar and trader who, for reasons historians have not uncovered, found himself captive and enslaved. After a six-week voyage, Omar arrived in Charleston, South Carolina, in about 1807. About four years later, he was sold to James Owen of North Carolina's Cape Fear region. In 1819 a white Protestant North Carolinian wrote to Francis Scott Key, the composer of The Star Spangled Banner, to request an Arabic translation of the Bible for Omar, and apparently Key sent one. Historians dispute how much the African Muslim leaned toward Christianity in his final years, but Omar's notations on the Arabic bible, which offer praise to Allah, suggest that he retained much of his Muslim identity, as did some other first-generation slaves whose names have been lost to us. (Omar's Arabic bible, which has recently been restored, is housed in the library of Davidson College in North Carolina.)
and the "estimate" is not sourced.
I get you guys point , but at some point in the future I would like to get the authoritative answer to that question.
I don't have the resources here to do more research on this. My home library probably has more stuff than the public library, but I'm a long way from any decent research library.
I would seriously suspect that 10% figure. I don't doubt that some African Muslims found themselves shipped over here as slaves, but as the author seems to admit, even that is a kind of oddity. Muslims are invited by Muhammed to enslave infidels, but they didn't normally enslave other Muslims. The alternatives were to convert, be killed, be enslaved, or live like a dhimmi and pay a special tax if you were some sort of person of value to the community--maybe a merchant, scholar, or physician, or their families.
I'm sure a few Muslims got shipped out by accident, or by malicious enemies, but 10% would seem like a very high figure. And Islam being a religion of power, conquest, and booty, I doubt whether enslaved Muslims would have been very effective at spreading the religion among fellow slaves.
I'd like to invite Mr. Barton to defend his article here in this forum. This is the closest I can find to an email address for him at the Wallbuilders site "Contact Us" page:
The Research Department at WallBuilders receives hundreds of emails and letters, therefore it may be several months or more before a response is sent. We cannot guarantee that every inquiry will receive a reply. Our primary responsibility is to assist David Barton with multiple projects (such as articles, newsletters, and developing the resources provided through our catalog). We also respond to requests from Congressmen, Senators, judges, etc. (just to name a few). As with any organization, we have a finite set of resources with which to accomplish our mission. We would ask that you keep this in mind when you consider writing the research staff at WallBuilders. We also ask that you examine our website (especially the "Issues and Articles" section) before emailing a question to the Research Department. In an effort to continually improve the effectiveness of the WallBuilders site, we periodically post articles or make available resources that answer the most frequently asked questions we receive.
Can anyone else here provide better contact info? Mr. Barton doesn't seem to be too forthcoming with it on his web site.
Interesting sources, although regretably you can hardly trust academic historians these days. I don't know how to evaluate it without any direct expertise in this field myself.
And I suppose I should retract the categorical statement that Muslims are not supposed to enslave other Muslims, because they also aren't supposed to kill other Muslims, either, yet they do so constantly.
Some time when you get a chance check out the "Black Moslem" and "Hanafi" murders in DC back in 1973.
That's set the stage for inter/intra Islamic criticism in the United States for the past 34 years.
Fear works you know.
This leads the field open to folks to make up all the numbers they want about anything they wish.
Yes I am aware of that, but I also know there are a lot of black Muslims in America, and that they are seen as leaders among blacks and that at one time before the republicans took the congress the black Muslims were getting federal contracts to serve as security in federal housing.
I have never seen any arguments about the claim of large numbers of black Muslims.
David Barton is a very careful historian. Just because he is a Christian does not disqualify him.
Can you document your assertions?
One of the things that distinguishes David Barton is the incredible number of original documents, books, letters, etc., he has in his library. He is very careful in his research and writing.
Don't know the guy, but I've read other stuff he's written. While I often agree with his general views, he has shown a strong tendency, IMHO, to misuse and spin facts in a way that is more common among leftists than righties.
I'm beginning to share your sentiments, but I'd like to hear his side of this debate. Too bad he seems to have taken steps to isolate himself from the general public.
Has a few interesting vignettes about documented muslim slaves.
I doubt there is any reliable info on percentages, it didn't matter so no records were kept.
Interesting. That might well be it. Because he was in the tradition of the Encyclopedists and Deists, who hated and despised the Church, he rooted for the Muslims who conquered Constantinople, without ever having been one himself.
Voltaire said, "Ecrase l'infame," which is pretty much the same attitude.
Then if the business about Francis Scott Keye has any basis, perhaps he managed to persuade him that he was wrong to root for the Muslims, because they were a far worse alternative.
At the time, I doubt anybody in the West viewed Islam as any sort of an alternative, better or worse.
Islam was very near its low point in its contest with western civ, and the whole idea of western/white guilt hadn't even been developed yet.
Barton is full of crap. There is NO evidence that John Randolph was ever a muslim. I searched Russell Kirk's outstanding biography of him seeking to verify this, and there is nothing to support Barton's claims.
He was very sloppy in this particular article. There is ZERO evidence that Randolph was ever a muslim.
Everyone here should read Russell Kirk's outstanding biography of Randolph. Kirk was a devoutly Christian conservative historian, and knew what he was talking about. Kirk also had scholarly credentials and degrees by his name, which Barton does not have.