Monday, September 30, 2013

Thomas Jefferson’s Quran: How Islam Shaped the Founders

That's the title to a book review on The Daily Beast. This is the book. A taste from the review:
Spellberg, associate professor of history and Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Texas at Austin, seeks to understand the role of Islam in the American struggle to protect religious liberty. She asks how Muslims and their religion fit into eighteenth-century Americans’ models of religious freedom. While conceding that many Americans in that era viewed Islam with suspicion, classifying Muslims as dangerous and unworthy of inclusion within the American experiment, she also shows that such leading figures as Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and George Washington spurned exclusionary arguments, arguing that America should be open to Muslim citizens, office-holders, and even presidents. Spellberg’s point is that, contrary to those today who would dismiss Islam and Muslims as essentially and irretrievably alien to the American experiment and its religious mix, key figures in the era of the nation’s founding argued that that American church-state calculus both could and should make room for Islam and for believing Muslims.

1 comment:

Tom Van Dyke said...

Nothing new here. Actually, Jefferson abandoned his study of Islam fairly young, and his support of religious freedom was generic, not particularly about Islam atall.