This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
To many Americans, the animosity that exists between the West and Islam is a new phenomenon, but it goes back to the early days of our republic.
As a U.S. ambassador in France, Thomas Jefferson tried to negotiate with the Northwest African Berber Muslim states known collectively as the Barbary States, whose pirates were raiding U.S. ships. Tired of paying protection money, he inquired about the "ground of the pretensions to make war upon nations who had done them no injury." Jefferson reported that Tripoli's envoy explained:
"It was written in their Koran, that all nations which had not acknowledged the Prophet were sinners, whom it was the right and duty of the faithful to plunder and enslave; and that every mussulman who was slain in this warfare was sure to go to paradise."
Recently, it was reported that Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev left an anti-American message in the boat in which he was hiding that referred to Americans as "infidels."
Those who feel that Tsarnaev and the Fort Hood shooter are just criminals are ignorant of the long jihadist war some Muslims have waged against us from our very beginnings.