Jun 16, 2016 by
Thomas Jefferson, serving as the ambassador to France, and John Adams, ambassador to Britain, met in London with Sidi Haji Abdrahaman, the Dey of Tripoli’s ambassador to Britain, attempting to negotiate a peace treaty with the Islamic world of their time. Jefferson and Adams argued in vain that the United States was not at war with Islam. The following is from a March 28, 1786 letter addressed to John Jay, Secretary of Foreign Affairs for the Continental Congress, and signed by Adams and Jefferson. It concerned their conversation with the Tripoli ambassador:
We took the liberty to make some enquiries concerning the ground of their pretentions to make war upon nations who had done them no injury, and observed that we considered all mankind our friends who had done us no wrong, nor had given us any provocation.
The Ambassador answered us that it was founded on the Laws of their Prophet, that it was written in their Koran, that all nations who should not have acknowledged their authority were sinners, that it was their right and duty to make war upon them wherever they could be found, and to make slaves of all they could take as Prisoners, and that every Musselman [archaic word for Muslim] who should be slain in battle was sure to go to Paradise.1
Unless a nation submits to Islam—whether that nation was an aggressor or not—that nation was by definition at war with Islam. Jihad means “to submit.” A non-aggressing nation is still at war with Islam as long as it hasn’t embraced Islam. Islam’s goal is to conquer the world, either by the submission of one’s will or by Allah’s sword.2
When President Jefferson refused to increase the tribute demanded by the Islamists, Tripoli declared war on the United States. A United States navy squadron, under Commander Edward Preble, blockaded Tripoli from 1803 to 1805. After rebel soldiers from Tripoli, led by United States Marines, captured the city of Derna, the Pasha of Tripoli signed a treaty promising to exact no more tribute.3
As expected, there are many Christians today who believe that the rise of Islamic persecution of Christians is a sign that we are living in the last days. What’s happening to Christians around the world at the hands of Islamists is horrific, but it’s not new. There’s a history of Islamic persecution of Christians that goes back centuries.
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