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August 24, 2020

Reader’s Digest Misleads About America’s Founding Fathers


While ignoring America’s Judeo-Christian heritage, RD magazine provided this misleading item in the “Facts Left Out of History” column in the September 2020 issue:

The Founding Fathers embraced Islam

George Washington invited Muslims to work at his home. John Adams praised Muhammad as one of history’s greatest “inquirers after truth,” alongside Socrates and Confucius. Thomas Jefferson taught himself Arabic using a Koran and even hosted an iftar dinner at the White House during Ramadan.

Why was there such openness to Islam in the early United States? One reason: Morocco’s Sultan Muhammad III was the first head of state to formally recognize the 13 colonies’ independence from Great Britain, in December 1777. Following the Revolutionary War, Jefferson, Adams, and the sultan signed the U.S.–Morocco Treaty of Peace and Friendship in 1786. After more than 230 years of conflicts and crises, it remains the longest unbroken treaty in U.S. history.

However, this potpourri of unsupported claims and twisted information is misleading. The reality is that the Founding Fathers were interested in Islam because they wanted to understand why the Barbary Pirates were attacking U.S. ships and taking Americans as hostages and slaves. After they learned a bit about Islam they sent the U.S. Marines to “explain” to the Muslims why they needed to stop. And once again contrary to the Reader's Digest, the United States fought against the Sultanate of Morocco in the first Barbary War, 1801-1805.

Legend has it that Marines are called "Leathernecks" because they wore heavy leather collars to protect their necks from attackers, especially Muslim attackers, who following the Koran liked to use swords to strike the necks of their opponents.

Bruce Kelley, Editor-in-Chief of Reader's Digest magazine, has failed to respond to a letter asking for a clarification. RD will be monitored for repeats of such irresponsible journalism.

Posted by MK at August 24, 2020 11:27 AM


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