Islamophobia Today

“Ramadan,” said President Obama at a White House iftar dinner in 2010, “is a reminder that Islam has always been a part of America. The first Muslim ambassador to the United States, from Tunisia, was hosted by President Jefferson, who arranged a sunset dinner for his guest because it was Ramadan — making it the first known iftar at the White House, more than 200 years ago.”

The dinner to which the president referred took place on December 9, 1805, and Jefferson’s guest was Sidi Soliman Mellimelli, an envoy from the bey (chieftain) of Tunis who spent six months in Washington. The context of Mellimelli’s visit to the United States was a tense dispute over piracy on American merchant vessels by the Barbary states and the capture of Tunisian vessels trying to run an American blockade of Tripoli.

Mellimelli arrived during Ramadan, and Jefferson, when he invited the envoy to the president’s house, changed the meal time from the usual hour of 3:30 p.m. to “precisely at sunset” in deference to the man’s religious obligation.

Jefferson’s knowledge of Islam likely came from his legal studies of natural law. In 1765, Jefferson purchased a two-volume English translation of the Quran for his personal library, a collection that became, in 1815, the basis of the modern Library of Congress.

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6 comments

  1. David · March 10, 2015

    However this doesn’t, as President Obama suggests, mean that Islam was part of America. Rather, we showed a respect to a foreign delegation which is common practice.

    Liked by 1 person

    • adi · March 12, 2015

      I acknowledge your comment brother 🙂
      but once you will go through the history of America,you will surely get the little presence of Islam and help from muslim people.
      Shut the eyes of religious in-compatibility and see from the point of history.
      Few points :

      1. One of the earliest accounts of Islam’s presence in North America dates to 1528, when a Moroccan slave, called Estevanico by his Spanish captors, was shipwrecked near present-day Galveston, Texas. He and four survivors subsequently travelled through much of the American south west and the Mexican interior before reaching Mexico City.

      2. The first country to recognize the United States as an independent nation was the Sultanate of Morocco, under its ruler Mohammed ben Abdallah, in the year 1777. He maintained several correspondences with President George Washington.

      THANK YOU 🙂

      Like

      • David · March 12, 2015

        I guess my point is that Islam, the religion not people, had nothing to do with the shaping of America. Christianity and Catholicism did.

        Like

      • adi · March 13, 2015

        Yes they did,because population was and is of christians and catholicism. But still was done by muslims,and muslims have not done anything without Islam. By the way my post was,that Islam is a part,and I have not mentioned anything like that of development and shaping of America.

        Like

      • David · March 13, 2015

        Perhaps I misunderstood what you meant by “a part of.”

        Liked by 1 person

      • adi · March 13, 2015

        cool 🙂
        all the best.
        and you can follow my blog !

        Like

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