"Throughout our history, Islam has contributed to the character of our country, and the Muslim-Americans and their good work, have helped build our nation, and we've seen the results. We've seen these results in generations of Muslim immigrants, farmers, and factory workers, helping to lay railroads and build our cities."
"Everyday, Muslims Americans are helping to shape the way we think, the way that we work, and the way that we do business. And that is the spirit that we celebrate tonight, the dreamers, the creators whose ideas are pioneering new industries, creating new jobs and unleashing new opportunities for all of us."
"To building the very fabric of our nation and strengthening the core of democracy." These are the words spoken by a man who took an oath to defend our Constitution and our nation. I am curious, and so wanted to do some research on history. After all, history isn't being taught in our schools. An example of this is that my daughters in their 30s had to ask me "What is Pearl Harbor Day?" I do know that throughout our history things have been changed to suit the author or the audience they are writing for.
I had never heard of Muslims contributing labor to the laying of the railroads. So I did some investigating, I found that the transcontinental railroad was built by the labor of the Chinese, Irish and civil war veterans. In the 1850s some of the early railroads were built by slave labor. No mention of vast numbers of Islam or Muslims. They may have contributed in an indirect manner to the early railroads with the slave labor, as they were slave traders selling others for a profit.
Further contributions of the Muslim world in forming our country, though it was also in an indirect manner, is that our fledgling country found that it needed a navy of its own to protect the ships and citizens from the Barbary Coast Pirates. The Barbary Coast Pirates operated from the time of the Crusades until the early 1800s. They captured ships, enslaved Christians. Their raids were on coastal communities in Europe and England left many abandoned. They would capture crews of the ships and either enslave them or make countries pay "tribute" for the property and humans; a fancy way of saying 'extortion'. In the time from the 1500-1800 over 1 million Europeans were captured as slaves.
In 1784 the first American ship was seized by pirates from Morocco. The following year 2 more ships were taken. Thomas Jefferson, and John Adams, then the Ambassadors to France and Britain met with the Libyan ambassador to Britain, Sidi Adja. They wanted to know why his country was hostile to America. The ambassador's answer was stated as this; "it is their right to plunder and enslave." (The American Patriot's Bible, pg 18)
As a result our Founding Fathers decided they were not going to bend to the extortion of the Muslims and decided to build their own Navy for the defense of our citizens and their property. Indirect contribution of dealing with the Muslims was the building of ships. Employing hundreds to draft plans, fall timber, metal workers, arms makers, sail makers. Also the employment of the sailors and the Marines who sailed to the coast of Africa in a multinational effort to defeat the pirates. The first Barbary Coast war was from 1801 - 1805. The war against the Muslims also contributed a portion of the Marine Corps Hymn, 'from the shores of Tripoli.'
And as the battle against the Barbary pirates moved inland...
Islam and the Muslim ideology also had a profound effect on our 16th President. As a young man he read the book "Sufferings in Africa" by Captain James Reilly. First published in 1817, it is the true account of the shipwreck, enslavement, the deaths due to cruelty from the captures, and eventual freedom for the survivors. It is said that this book had an effect on a young Lincoln and formed his views on slavery and eventually his political goal of freedom for all. As a results the character of our nation was formed. The core of our democracy is formed by knowing what you don't want to have and knowing a better way.
As for new businesses, new industries we have to thank the Muslim community for many of the new opportunities we have in order to keep our country safe. We now have x-ray machines in airports, TSA employees are making a living wage, many are also subsidizing with theft from travelers. We have lost much of our freedom because of the threat from the Muslim world. There are cameras in our cities, and buildings further stripping away our rights and privacy and changing the way we live our lives and do business. Yes, I will give the Muslims credit for this also.
In his speech, Obama stated that Islam/Muslims had helped strengthen the core of our democracy. The ideology of the Muslim world and that of a Democracy are at odds which to me gives President Obama, one more Pinocchio award.
Islam And The U.S. Timeline 1776-1970