From our “Some Muslims Believe the Craziest Things” department comes words of wisdom from Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Giving a speech before some Latin American Muslims, Erdogan decided to give a little history lesson. He claims that America was discovered by Muslims in the 12th century — there’s even proof via none other than Christopher Columbus, who supposedly wrote in his journal about a mosque on a hill in Cuba.
“Contacts between Latin America and Islam date back to the 12th century. Muslims discovered America in 1178, not Christopher Columbus,” the conservative president said in a televised speech during an Istanbul summit of Muslim leaders from Latin America.
“Muslim sailors arrived in America from 1178. Columbus mentioned the existence of a mosque on a hill on the Cuban coast,” Erdogan said.
Erdogan said that Ankara was even prepared to build a mosque at the site mentioned by the Genoese explorer.
“I would like to talk about it to my Cuban brothers. A mosque would go perfectly on the hill today,” the Turkish leader said.
History books say that Columbus set foot on the American continent in 1492 as he was seeking a new maritime route to India.
A tiny minority of Muslim scholars have recently suggested a prior Muslim presence in the Americas, although no pre-Columbian ruin of an Islamic structure has ever been found.
In a controversial article published in 1996, historian Youssef Mroueh refers to a diary entry from Columbus that mentions a mosque in Cuba. But the passage is widely understood to be a metaphorical reference to the shape of the landscape.
We’ve heard Muslims take credit for all sorts of western inventions, including the airplane (invented 1000 years ago), the windmill, and various medical advances, so Erdogan’s fantasy about Muslims discovering America plows familiar ground.
It may be that Muslims are so aggrieved about their lowly status compared to a few hundred years ago when their armies were feared, their civilization was cultivated, and their mathematicians were light years beyond Europe, that they feel they have to define their worth by making stuff up. It’s a massive inferiority complex that also leads to their young men beheading foreigners and flying airplanes into buildings.
Of course, Muslims didn’t discover America any more than Columbus did. Even if Muslim ships had been capable of an Atlantic crossing, when they “returned” they left no writings, no evidence that they had made the trip.
Columbus, on the other hand, wrote an account of his travels that became a sensation in Europe, leading directly to the exploration and colonization of the New World.
We’ll leave it to history to decide who’s telling the truth.