Erdogan: Muslims Discovered America Before Columbus

220px-Recep_Tayyip_Erdogan220px-Christopher_ColumbusTurkish President Tayyip Erdogan appears to have the same fluid understanding of history as he does civil rights. Erdogan became the latest — and certainly highest ranking — person to proliferate the myth that Columbus not only found that Muslims had discovered the New World before him but that there was an actual mosque left on a mountain in Cuba to greet the explorer.

Erdogan is repeating a myth among some Muslim scholars that has been discredited repeatedly and is based on a clearly false reading of the diary kept by Columbus. The claim was made in a widely ridiculed 1996 paper from Youssef Mroueh of the As-Sunnah Foundation of America. Mroueh wrote that “Columbus admitted in his papers that on Monday, October 21, 1492 CE while his ship was sailing near Gibara on the north-east coast of Cuba, he saw a mosque on top of a beautiful mountain.” It is a bizarrely false reading of a clear metaphor used by the explorer in a log of Columbus’ first journey in 1492. Tt was made on October 29, 1492 and recorded by colonization historian Bartholome de Casas: “Remarking on the position of the river and port, to which he gave the name of San Salvador, he describes its mountains as lofty and beautiful, like the Pena de las Enamoradas, and one of them has another little hill on its summit, like a graceful mosque.” “Like a graceful mosque” was taken as literal while such a structure would have prompted considerable attention and action from the Christian explorers if it was a literal observation. There is no evidence to support the claim.

Nevertheless, the myth has grown in Muslim circles and led Erdogan to tell an audience of Latin American Muslim leaders summit in Istanbul (people with more than a passing knowledge of such subjects) that “The religion of Islam was widespread before Columbus. Muslim sailors had arrived in the shores of America in 1178. In his diaries, Christopher Columbus referred to the presence of a mosque on top of a mountain in Cuba.”

The myth shows the danger of academics who strive to validate or advance their own religion in history. Islam has an amazing history of scholarship, inventions, and exploration. However, there has been growing effort to prove that it was Muslims who first discovered and colonized the New World. Whatever the truth of such accounts (and there could have been such explorers), the use of the Cuban myth discredits anyone seeking to establish such a connection. Some scholars have even claimed that words like “Seminole” comes from the Turkish ‘Sami nal’ or “Semites who ran away.”

No archeological evidence has been found to support such claims. Erdogan went further in his speech to compare the role of Christianity and Islam — arguing that Christians forced people to convert and killed those who did not. He insisted that “Converting people by force, by the sword, has never been a part of Islam. Our religion has never been a tool of exploitation.” I assume that he is not speaking of the widespread use of apostasy and blasphemy abuses in Islamic countries or such radical groups as Islamic State. However, he is certainly more accurate in describing the abuses of early Christian explorers than he is the discovery of Columbus in Cuba.

Source: BBC

66 thoughts on “Erdogan: Muslims Discovered America Before Columbus”

  1. Oh, really, Islam has never forced conversion?

    Well, someone should explain that to Boko Haram, who forcibly converted all their Christian sex slaves.

    I have read journals from hundreds of years ago in which a pirate was identified, in part, because of a circumcision he was forced to undergo when captured by Muslims. His choice had been convert or die.

    But you know, the fact that this easily disproved theory gained such legs in the Muslim community reminds me of the similarly absurd claims making the rounds that the Holocaust never happened, or that the Jews found out about 9/11 beforehand, and all stayed home, without warning the non-Jews, so that no Jews were killed. It’s so foolish, it’s heartbreaking that so many people believe these urban legends.

  2. You have not experienced Shakespeare until you’ve read him in the original Klingon.”

    –Chancellor Gorkon

  3. Forgot to mention that according to Muslims , Armstrong had also heard the Muslim prayer sound on Moon.

  4. Well, the mosque story is a little far out there, but there is an actual basis for some of Erdogan’s claim, to wit:

    There is some scholarly debate over whether the 20 charts and mappae mundi in Piri’s inscriptions includes the eight Ptolemaic maps, the four Portuguese maps, the Arabic map and the Columbus map.[20] From one perspective, the number of charts and mappae mundi used by Piri equals 20,[16][21][22] while in the other, it could mean a total of 34.[23][24][25][26] Some have claimed that the source maps were found in the ancient Library of Alexandria,[27] based on Piri’s allusions to Alexander the Great, the founder of Alexandria, Ptolemy I, who ruled Alexandria in the 4th century BC, and Claudius Ptolemy, the Greek geographer and cartographer who lived in Alexandria during the 2nd century AD.[20] Gregory McIntosh states “Arab writers often confused Claudius Ptolemy, the geographer of the second century C.E., with Ptolemy I, one of Alexander’s generals… Piri Reis has undoubtedly made the same error, resulting in his believing the charts and maps were from the time of Ptolemy I instead of Claudius Ptolemy.”[28]

    The map was discovered serendipitously on 9 October 1929, through the philological work of the German theologian, Gustav Adolf Deissmann (1866–1937). He had been commissioned by the Turkish Ministry of Education to catalogue the Topkapı Palace library’s non-Islamic items.[29] At Deissmann’s request to search the palace for old maps and charts, the director Halil Edhem (1861–1938) managed to find some disregarded bundles of material, which he handed over to Deissmann. Realizing that the map might be a unique find, Deissmann showed it to the orientalist Paul Kahle who identified it as a map drawn by Piri Reis.[30] The discovery caused an international sensation, as it represented the only then known copy of a world map of Christopher Columbus (1451–1506),[31] and was the only 16th-century map that showed South America in its proper longitudinal position in relation to Africa. Geographers had spent several centuries unsuccessfully searching for a “lost map of Columbus” that was supposedly drawn while he was in the West Indies.[13]

    After reading about the map’s discovery in The Illustrated London News, United States Secretary of State Henry L. Stimson contacted the United States Ambassador to Turkey Charles H. Sherrill and requested that an investigation be launched to find the Columbus source map, which he believed may have been in Turkey.[32] In turn, the Turkish government complied with Stimson’s request, but they were unsuccessful in locating any of the source maps.[33]

    The Piri Reis map is currently located in the Library of the Topkapı Palace in Istanbul, Turkey, but is not usually on display to the public.

    The map was depicted on the reverse of the Turkish 10 million lira banknote of 1999-2005[34] and of the new 10 lira banknote of 2005-2009.

    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter

  5. Erdogan is simply following a well used and unfortunately successful republican formula. When the reign of the three stooges came to an end in 2008 and Americans started to wake up to a recession and the shame of eight years of arrogant incompetence, the republicans used one of the oldest strategies in the book. They hid the stooges from view. They blamed everything on the democrats. Then, they continued to obstruct and create more chaos to blame on the democrats. They targeted a single person, Obama to make it easier for the vacuous mind to focus.

    Erdogan is obstructing a unified effort against the thugs in Syria and Iraq, attaching conditions to Turkey’s involvement, kind of like what the republicans have done for six years every time the democrats tried to serve the public. Lately they have beed called on it and face the finger of shame, just like the republicans when they held the US hostage until they got what they wanted. Erdogan’s claim is irrelevant, regardless of the possibility of it being true. Columbus was not the first to discover or visit the Western Hemisphere. Vikings, European fishermen, and probably the Chinese and Polynesians came and went. Columbus was the beginning of the systematic plundering of the Western Hemisphere, followed by a wholesale take over through immigration.

    When caught in the act, simply create chaos and point the finger at your opponent. Works every time.

    1. issac – for those of us not historically challenged it is called the Columbian Exchange. Goods and ideas moved in both directions. We gave them smallpox, they gave us syphilis. Natives were remarkably poor laborers, so the Portuguese, who were already in the slave trade, started bringing African slaves to the New World as slave labor. We gave them Catholicism, they gave us gold.

  6. Perhaps it was the Chinese who discovered America first in 499 ad
    Hoei-Shin named the place Fusang


    How about the Japanese in South America in the Valdiva culture and Jomon pottery that has been discovered… well as genetic evidence

    That would be about 5000 years ago. ––


  7. Oh goody! Are we going to do this again. Kennewick Man versus Clovis first!!!!!

  8. Considering the Vikings (regardless of the fortunes against the Bears) were in Canada about 1000 AD, it would predate any Turkish claim. This is one of those places where the science is settled gets you in trouble.
    This whole ‘new’ 13000 year old ‘invasion of the New World has caused problems in the scientific world. The accepted date was no later than about 8000-9000, however some scholars were finding evidence of earlier invasions. Fear of ridicule by their peers kept them from publishing and their evidence was suppressed while they conformed with ‘settled science.’ Now that the dates have changed, they and their evidence, have come out of the closet, so to speak and we get a new look at who was really in the Americas first.

  9. Nothing like a “21st centruy” Muslim leader going after Columbus.

    As we are always instructed the Muslims never harmed a fly until they got mixed up with those nasty Christians from the west. What a crock. They were killing each other and non Muslims from the beginning.

  10. Hey according to muslims they even discovered black holes before anyone else did , and the Big Bang theory was already revealed in Quran . Don’t we already know how mentally advanced they were and are the way they act . As far as Islamic state the great Islamic scholar of America , Obama , already informed us that IS is not Islamic . Bush had also confirmed how great and peaceful Islam is , so after hearing from such authorities on Islam , I’m surprised that anyone doubts the greatness of Islam or that it could have discovered America before Columbus did . When did the native Indians discover the Americas ? By the way , Obama discovered “some advisor Gruber on the last Sunday through media , otherwise he had no idea who he was .

  11. The Vikings clearly were incapable of discovering America when they could not even beat the Bears yesterday.

  12. I think I saw on Ancient Aliens, that aliens from the far edges of the universe were here first. Plus, they apparently had crazy hair.

  13. “Discovery of America” can be framed by the views of those who employ that quaint phrase. Let us examine Columbus’s diary for example. Were there not humans here in Cuba and in Manhattan when Columbus arrived? Did they not arrive from someplace else in the world thousands of years before? Was their path across the water from Siberia to Alaska and thence South to greener pastures? Does Erdo really mean dumb in Turkish? Inquiring minds want to know. All you European Americans are really dumb to be arguing over which white guy discovered America when the Indians were already here from India. And this was long before Islam or Christianity reared its ugly uttBay. Get real people.

  14. Sorry about the previous mistake – I cannot figure out how to delete it. :/

    My question – what are you referring to when you say, “…he is certainly more accurate in describing the abuses of early Christian explorers…”?

  15. I actually thought that it was the Vikings…………. who discovered America,

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