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Below are select passages from the article linked.

>Jefferson, as a trade commissioner and then ambassador in Paris for six years (1784-90), faced almost daily the tragedy of American hostages enslaved by violent Muslims and his own frustrating inability to liberate them.

>Jefferson foresaw catastrophe and thus spent the fall of 1784 reading up on Islam and probing fellow diplomats in Paris on how their countries dealt with the problem. He discovered that for a thousand years the Muslims of North Africa had plagued Europe with their hijacking, hostage-taking, and enslaving.

>Jefferson learned as well of a major turning point in history that occurred in the 1680s when Protestant England of Max Weber’s The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism became the first Christian state to dismiss religion and see the problem pragmatically. British merchants reasoned that it would be better to pay the tribute that the Mahometans were demanding to refrain from their barbaric attacks. It made better commercial sense to pay the “tribute” and free the Royal Navy for safeguarding their burgeoning global empire elsewhere. Why remain bogged down in the Mediterranean to protect the increasingly smaller percentage of their business?

>Two years later, Louis XIV of France copied England and before long, every maritime trading country in Christian Europe was paying for the right to do business in the Middle East unmolested.

>But Jefferson also learned that the purchase of peace was at best temporary. The Mussulmen would always find some excuse to break the agreement, claim it was the European country’s fault, renew the hijacking, and force new negotiations for higher tribute.

>Jefferson also discovered that the ‘tribute” was in reality less a demand for cash and jewels, spices and fine fabrics, and more about weapons. The “tribute” was largely a demand for arms shipments of ammunition and naval supplies without which the “pirates” could not be pirates at all. The Muslims were much too backward to have their own foundries capable of producing cannon and shot, iron spikes, gunpowder, and the nails required for wooden sailing ships.

>For the next three years, Secretary of State Jefferson was the No. 1 hawk for war in America pressing Congress and President Washington to build a navy to rescue the hostages and put an end to hijacking, hostage taking, and enslavement in the Mediterranean.

>In late 1793, Secretary of State Jefferson wanted to retire, and in his last report to Congress on any subject he dealt again with the menace of militant Islam and the recent, dreadful news that Algiers had struck again, this time hijacking eleven more American merchant ships carrying over one hundred seamen and passengers. He outlined the blow to the American economy. When word reached New York of the mass hijacking, the stock market crashed. In the few days it took for the news to travel up and down the Atlantic seaboard, voyages were canceled in every major port; seamen were thrown out of work, ship stores merchants went out of business. What 9-11 did to the U.S. economy in 2001, the mass hijacking by Muslims in late 1793 did too.


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