In the previous installment of this series I examined Muslim Wiki's claim that Native American languages and tribal names showed a clear Islamic or Arabic influence.
Now let's take a look at some of Muslim Wiki's other statements.
Mulsim Wiki makes repeated reference to black Muslim slaves transported to the New World. By their own estimate, 10-30% of all black slaves were Muslim. Fair enough. But in Muslim Wiki's narrative, runaway slaves brought Islam to Native Americans.
And there the logic begins to erode.
Let's look at this mathematically for a moment. If 30% of the slaves were Muslim- Muslim Wiki's highest estimate- then 70% were non-Muslim. Given a roughly equal rate of escape, this would mean the 3 in 10 runaway slaves were Muslim and 7 in 10 were non-Muslim. This would seem to make the non-Muslim influence on Native Americans far greater than the Muslim influence. Are we meant to infer that Native Americans instinctively rejected non-Muslim runaways in favor of Muslim runaways?
To bolster this claim, Muslim Wiki notes that an 1835 census lists 10% of the Cherokee Nation as being of African descent. This is not surprising given that, until 1866, some of the Cherokee were slave owners. Is Muslim Wiki suggesting that Muslim slaves converted their owners?
The authors at Muslim Wiki do not content themselves with speculating about language origins and slave populations, however. They are eager to claim both legal documents and historical figures, and here the site crosses the line from wishful thinking to outright falsehood.
Let me give you just two examples:
Under the heading "American Treaties and Laws with American Muslims," Muslim Wiki lists The Treaty of Peace and Commerce "signed in the Delaware river in 1787, which bears the signature of Abdel Khak and Muhammad Ibn Abdullah."
The Treaty of Peace and Commerce is part of the Barbary Treaties, which were negotiated between the United States and Morocco. It was signed by Taher Ben Abdelhack Fennish (Abdel Khak) on behalf of the Kingdom of Morocco and Thomas Barclay on behalf of the United States. Muhammad III was the ruler of Morocco at the time. It has nothing whatever to do with any Muslims living in the United States and was not "signed in the Delaware river" (although that is an arresting mental image).
The complete Treaty of Peace and Commerce- in fact, all the Barbary Treaties- have been placed online by the Avalon Project at Yale Law School.
Muslim Wiki also posts a brief list of names under the heading "Famous Native American Muslims." I scanned the list and one name leapt out: "Ramadhan Ibn Wati of the Cherokees in 1866."
I showed this list to a friend of mine who is a Civil War buff. He burst out laughing on the spot. When he calmed down he began fetching history books.
"Wati of the Cherokees" is known to legitimate historians as Stand Watie, the only Native American to achieve the rank of General in the Civil War. He was born at Oothcaloga in what was then the Cherokee Nation in 1806. His family name was also known as Oowatie. "Stand" derives from the translation of his Cherokee name, De-ga-ta-ga, meaning "He stands" or "He stands firm." He also used the English name Isaac S. Watie. Watie attended the Moravian Mission School (a Christian academy) and became an important political voice in the Cherokee Nation.
He was never known as Ramadhan Ibn Watie, either during his life or after, and he was never a Muslim. That is simply a lie.
The issue of slavery caused a painful split in the Cherokee Nation, just as it did in the United States. Watie and his family were slave owners and Watie served with the Confederate Army, participating in 18 battles. The date '1866' affixed to his name by Muslim Wiki probably refers to the Cherokee Reconstruction Treaty of 1866, which he helped to negotiate.
In 1866 the Cherokee adopted their freed slaves, granting them citizenship in the Cherokee Nation, but it appears tensions persisted; in March of this year the Cherokee Nation voted to revoke the tribal membership of the slave's descendants.
I find it curious that Muslim Wiki would first assert that runaway slaves spread Islam to Native American tribes, then try to claim as a Muslim a Native American slave owner who fought to preserve the institution of slavery. Where do such wild fairy tales come from? In the next section we'll take a look at some of Muslim Wiki's sources.
The Civil War: A Narrative-Fort Sumter to Perryville vol. 1/Shelby Foote (reference to Stand Watie on pg. 286 of paperback edition.)