Obama in Cairo:

I know, too, that Islam has always been a part of America’s story. The first nation to recognize my country was Morocco. In signing the Treaty of Tripoli in 1796, our second President John Adams wrote, “The United States has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion or tranquility of Muslims.”

Obama is quoting from the controversial Clause 11, which reads:

“As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquillity, of Mussulmen; and, as the said States never entered into any war, or act of hostility against any Mahometan nation, it is declared by the parties, that no pretext arising from religious opinions, shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.”

Economic Expert notes that:

In 1930, it was discovered that the extant original Arabic version of Article 11 was gibberish. Presumably, it was changed at some point after Barlow certified his English translation on January 4, 1797. Regardless, it was the English version that was approved by President John Adams and Secretary of State Timothy Pickering and ratified by the Senate.

The Treaty was broken in 1801 by the pasha of Tripoli and renegotiated in 1805 after the First Barbary War, at which time Article 11 was removed.

Given that background, it is odd that Obama chose to cite that article in a speech to Muslims. Muslims repeatedly broke the treaty and it was not until the end of the Second Barbary war in 1815 that peace through US victory was attained. Was Obama aware of the context of his quote? Many of his audience no doubt were.

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