Book Review: When Thomas Jefferson Read the Qur’an

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Law & Liberty


Constitutional Law, Islam, Religious Liberty, Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Jefferson’s Qur’an: Islam and the Founders


In his review of "Thomas Jefferson’s Qur’an: Islam and the Founders" by Denise A. Spellberg, Associate Professor of history and Middle eastern Studies at the University of Texas at Austin, Forte writes that Spellberg "investigates all manner of references among the founding generation to Islam in order to assert two themes 1) that the founders’ references to “imaginary Muslims” led them to include other minorities, such as Jews, Catholic Christians, and Deists, as full citizens, and 2) that America is now in the grip of “Islamophobia,” and many Americans are attempting to “disenfranchise” Muslims from their rights as full citizens. Although her research, interspersed with many tangents, brings forth interesting facts regarding the founders’ contacts with and ideas about Muslims, in the end, her volume proves neither thesis."


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