By NPR Staff
Thomas Jefferson had a vast personal library reflecting his enormous curiosity about the world. Among his volumes: a Quran purchased in 1765 that informed his ideas about plurality and religious freedom in the founding of America.
In her book Thomas Jefferson’s Qur’an: Islam and the Founders, author Denise Spellberg draws parallels between the beliefs of the founding father and religious tolerance in the United States today.
“I think that there is anxiety about what Muslims believe, largely because people don’t understand Islam very well. I think that was also true in the 18th century,” Spellberg says. “It strikes me that Jefferson was theorizing for a future that included Muslims — not in spite of their religion, but because of it and because of his notion of universal civil rights.” [Read more…]