President Obama’s Speech at a Mosque

President Obama’s Speech at a Mosque
by JBS President Emeritus John F. McManus

On February 3rd, President Barack Obama left the nation’s capital to deliver a speech at the Islamic Society of Baltimore, his first address delivered at an Islamic Mosque. What he said on that occasion was noteworthy for several distortions of truth, but also for leaving out important history.

The President stated, “For more than a thousand years, people have been drawn to Islam’s message of peace. And the very word itself, Islam, comes from salaam – peace.” Not so; it doesn’t mean peace. A decent dictionary will confirm that the word “Islam” means submission.

Mr. Obama then told his Muslim audience, “Jefferson and John Adams had their own copies of the Koran.” That’s correct but they obtained them, not because of any affection for what Islam’s foundational book states, but in order to know why American vessels were being attacked and their crewmembers imprisoned by North Africa’s Muslim pirates operating out of Tripoli. Any U.S. Marine would confirm that “from the shores of Tripoli” in the Marine Corps Hymn refers to Marines of the early 19th century taking action to put a stop to such treachery.

The President insisted that Muslim scholars of today “know Islam has a tradition of respect for other faiths.” Again, not so. Wherever Islam dominates, people of other faiths are classified as second-class citizens who must pay a tax and, in some cases, face execution.

More of what Mr. Obama said during his remarks in Baltimore can be shown to be similarly deficient. But the history of Islam’s determined forays westward over many centuries should be included in a discussion of the movement begun by Mohammed. Before the end of the 7th century, Muslims had subdued and occupied large areas of Asia, Northern Africa, some Mediterranean islands, and portions of Europe.

From a base they secured in Spain, a Mohammedan army stormed across the Pyrenees into France where they were defeated at the historic 732 Battle of Tours by a smaller Christian force led by Charles Martel. In his famous “History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire,” British historian Edward Gibbon stated that had the Muslims triumphed on that occasion, “the Koran would have been taught at Oxford and Cambridge Universities instead of the Bible.”

After Islamists captured Constantinople in 1453, they moved into Bulgaria, Romania, and Hungary. At the famous Battle of Belgrade, another smaller Christian army led by Hungary’s King John Hunyadi defeated Muslim forces led by Mehmet II. In 1492, King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain triumphed over Islam’s followers known as Moors. The next attempt of Mohammed’s followers to gain dominance in Europe occurred in a 1571 naval battle at Lepanto off the Greek coast where an outnumbered Christian naval force led by Don Juan of Austria defeated the forces of Islam led by Ali Pasha. Then in 1683, 200,000 Muslims led by Mustafa surrounded Vienna and prepared to conquer that strategic city but were met and defeated by Poland’s King John Sobieski and his outnumbered 80,000 troops.

Mr. Obama mentioned none of this. Nor did he refer to the current flood of Muslim immigrants into Western Europe or the threat posed by those who intend to take control of the West, not by force of arms, but by sheer numbers and the weapon known as terrorism.

The President’s speech was deficient in many ways, a deficiency shared by practically all of American media who would have the people of our country believe that Islam stands for peace and poses no threat to America and the West. Honest history tells a far different story.

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McManus_2Mr. McManus served in the U.S. Marine Corps in the late 1950s and joined the staff of The John Birch Society in August 1966. He has served various roles for the organization including Field Coordinator, Director of Public Affairs, and President. Mr. McManus has appeared on hundreds of radio and television programs and is also author of a number of educational DVDs and books. Now President Emeritus, he continues his involvement with the Society through public speaking and writing for this blog, the JBS Bulletin, and The New American.

2 Comments on “President Obama’s Speech at a Mosque”

  1. Douglas Logan says:

    Speaking at a Mosque is the only place he can get a receptive audience.


  2. Great post, Jack. There is a technicality of Arabic under which one may say that “Islam means peace.” Arabic, like other Semitic languages, has three-consonant root words which have different shades of meaning depending on how they are voweled. It is my understanding that Salaam (peace, used commonly as a greeting) comes from that same root as Islam (note the SLM). “Shalom” is the Hebrew cognate.


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