Obama's finger

The hand sign that the president appeared to be flashing at the African Leaders’ Conference in August, described by F. W. Burleigh on these pages last week, is not merely a Muslim gang sign.  It has a long and venerable history.

As Burleigh notes, it represents the shahada, the Islamic declaration of faith: there is no god but God, and Mohammed is his messenger.

Here’s a Barbary pirate making the sign.  Note the galley in the background.

The Barbary (from Berber) pirates captured and enslaved at least 1.25 million Europeans from the 16th to the 19th century, according to Ohio State professor Robert Davis.  Davis’s figures don’t include the pirate port and slave entrepôt of Salé, on Morocco’s Atlantic coast, nor do they include the 2 to 3 million Slavs captured by Tatar and Turkish raiders.  In addition to Europeans, around 16-18 million Africans and unknown millions of Cirassians, Syrians, Armenians, and Hindus were enslaved by Muslims.  American sailors were also victims of the Barbary pirates, and it took two wars (both declared by Muslim pashas) before attacks on U.S. shipping ended.

Long stretches of the Spanish, Italian, and French coasts were depopulated during the 16th through 17th centuries.  The index finger of the right hands of their captors pointing skyward in triumph may have been the last thing glimpsed by thousands of European villagers before the doors to the hold were slammed shut.

Thanks to the efforts of British Evangelicals and the Royal Navy, the slave trade was virtually ended early in the 19th century.  But it was never extinguished in Dar al Islam, and it now has been revived with a vengeance.  After all, God’s messenger owned slaves and enslaved hundreds.

In flashing the Muslim salute, if that’s what he was doing, the president was giving the finger to Christians and Jews throughout the world.

The hand sign that the president appeared to be flashing at the African Leaders’ Conference in August, described by F. W. Burleigh on these pages last week, is not merely a Muslim gang sign.  It has a long and venerable history.

As Burleigh notes, it represents the shahada, the Islamic declaration of faith: there is no god but God, and Mohammed is his messenger.

Here’s a Barbary pirate making the sign.  Note the galley in the background.

The Barbary (from Berber) pirates captured and enslaved at least 1.25 million Europeans from the 16th to the 19th century, according to Ohio State professor Robert Davis.  Davis’s figures don’t include the pirate port and slave entrepôt of Salé, on Morocco’s Atlantic coast, nor do they include the 2 to 3 million Slavs captured by Tatar and Turkish raiders.  In addition to Europeans, around 16-18 million Africans and unknown millions of Cirassians, Syrians, Armenians, and Hindus were enslaved by Muslims.  American sailors were also victims of the Barbary pirates, and it took two wars (both declared by Muslim pashas) before attacks on U.S. shipping ended.

Long stretches of the Spanish, Italian, and French coasts were depopulated during the 16th through 17th centuries.  The index finger of the right hands of their captors pointing skyward in triumph may have been the last thing glimpsed by thousands of European villagers before the doors to the hold were slammed shut.

Thanks to the efforts of British Evangelicals and the Royal Navy, the slave trade was virtually ended early in the 19th century.  But it was never extinguished in Dar al Islam, and it now has been revived with a vengeance.  After all, God’s messenger owned slaves and enslaved hundreds.

In flashing the Muslim salute, if that’s what he was doing, the president was giving the finger to Christians and Jews throughout the world.