Hey, if the preshizzle wants to acknowledge Islam during Ramadan, I'm ok with that (just don't forget those warm regards to us Christians on Easter Sunday, Barry!)
But I'm at a loss to understand precisely what he means when he says that "Islam has always been a part of America." Unless some Muslim tourists in England got conned into boarding the Mayflower for a three-hour tour - a three-hour tour - I don't see how Islam has had an impact in America since the early days.
Although, if we're going to rewrite American history, I'd like to go first!
* * * * *
It was a somber George ibn Augustine Washington – emir of the Army of the Continental Brotherhood - who pushed back the flaps of his tent on another day of relentless, bitter cold at Valley Forge. He looked with an aching sadness about the camp. Many of his men had removed their turbans and keffiyehs, and wrapped them around their frost-bitten hands and feet. The chill breeze brought to his nose the disturbing (yet maddeningly exquisite) scent of a haraam meal – bacon, most likely, or perhaps ham. Of all the dangers that beset his troops, it was this violation of Quranic law that bothered him the most; yet, in this valley of icy torment, where starvation seemed always to be standing, like an invisible angel of death, beside the men while they crouched before their pitifully small fires, he could not find it in his heart to condemn them. And in this he was justified, for doth not the Qur’an say, “He hath forbidden you only carrion, and blood, and swineflesh, and that which hath been immolated to the name of any other than Allah. But he who is driven by necessity, neither craving nor transgressing, it is no sin for him. Lo! God is Forgiving, Merciful”?
Washington pulled his Persian lambskin coat more tightly about his tall frame, and settled his qaracul hat securely on his head as he began his rounds.
“As-Salamu Alaykum”, he said, with forced cheerfulness, to a group of men gathered around a tiny campfire.
“Wa alayka as-salam”, the men called in unison.
“Have you eaten this morning, brothers?”
One man – a small fellow with a massive beard – said, through chattering teeth, “Yes, emir. A little falafel in pita bread.”
“May it please Allah,” Washington intoned, “that we will soon be dining on goat meat and rice in our own homes.”
“Oh, emir,” wailed a young soldier, who had lost two fingers of his right hand to frostbite, “when will the French janissaries come?”
“Patience, my son. The Dar al-Islam was not built in a day.”
The cold, thin air was suddenly pierced by the cry of the muezzin, calling the soldiers to prayer. As the camp came slowly to life for the midmorning observances, Washington walked over to a large oak tree, a little way from the main body of troops, removed a rolled-up prayer rug from a large interior pocket, and spread it upon the snow. In the stark gray light, he was struck by how like a pool of blood it seemed.
After performing the ritual prayers, he offered up an appeal from the heart.
“Oh, Allah the Merciful! Be thou our sword of justice, and drive before thee the red-coated unbelievers who taint this land with their eating of unclean flesh and their defilement of our women and their contempt for thy divine law! Send them running into the sea where they may be swallowed by leviathan, let the funereal ululations of their wives and daughters sound throughout infernal Albion! Arm us with the martial prowess of the Prophet – Peace be upon him! – and under thy banner of the crescent and stripes guide us to victory over the infidel British and their pig-eating German hirelings! And if it so please thee that we should be defeated, assist us in accepting the inscrutable workings of kismet.”
Suddenly a rider galloped into camp, the snow muffling the pounding hooves of his charger; Washington ran to the courier and grabbed the horse’s bridle.
“What news have you, lieutenant?”
“Emir Washington! I regret to report that Emir Horatio ibn Robert Gates has declared himself caliph and is seeking to have you deposed!”
“Bismillah!” Washington cried in a rage; he began issuing orders to his staff officers, calling for the assembly of his troops.
“We will crush this upstart’s forces, and I will personally strangle him with my own bowstring!”
“But, Emir,” one of his aides interposed. “What about the British?”
“Bah! They are mere dogs of unbelievers. Gates is a schismatic, a viper nestling in the very bosom of the Continental Brotherhood. I want six volunteer suicide bombers, this instant; they are to assassinate his family. But he is mine! Allahu Akbar!”