So Erdoğan is the David Barton of Turkey, I guess. He says “Muslims” (which ones? Indonesian?) arrived in the Americas three centuries before Signor Colombo.
Speaking on Saturday at a gathering of Muslim leaders from Latin America, Erdogan said contact between Islam and Latin America dated back to the 12th century.
“It is alleged that the American continent was discovered by Columbus in 1492,” Erdogan said. “In fact, Muslim sailors reached the American continent 314 years before Columbus, in 1178.”
“In his memoirs, Christopher Columbus mentions the existence of a mosque atop a hill on the coast of Cuba,” Erdogan said, adding that he’d like to see a mosque built on the hilltop today.
A mosque, eh? No chance it was just Colombo assuming a building he saw was a mosque simply because it looked somewhat like mosques he had seen in Spain? After all he assumed the place he was in was the far East simply because it was the first thing he bumped into sailing west from the Iberian peninsula.
Scholars have disputed the claim in Columbus’s writings, saying there is no archaeological evidence of Muslims having lived in the Americas before Columbus, an Italian, made his expedition in 1492 on behalf of the Spanish crown.
Yes but who needs archaeological evidence when you’ve got Colombo’s assumptions and snap identifications?
Erdoğan has been getting some mockery, and he’s mocking back. This should go well.
In an aggressive rebuttal of the criticism heaped on his comments in some quarters, Erdogan suggested that the purported discovery of the Americas by Muslims should be taught in schools.
“A big responsibility falls on the shoulders of the national education ministry and YOK [higher education board] on this issue,” Erdogan said at a ceremony in Ankara. “If the history of science is written objectively, it will be seen that Islamic geography’s contribution to science is much more than what’s known.”
So I wonder how Erdoğan knows that, exactly. A snap judgement by Colombo seems like a weak reed.
His claim had been mocked by some prominent columnists in the Turkish media. Mehmet Yilmaz, of the Hurriyet newspaper, suggested that Erdogan’s next claim should be that a Muslim, rather than Isaac Newton, discovered gravity.
I think Erdoğan should team up with David Barton and the pair of them should re-write all the history.
History books say that Columbus set foot on the American continent in 1492 as he was seeking a new maritime route to India. Some researchers believe Vikings reached America before the end of the first millennium. 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.
There is archaeological evidence for the presence of Vikings in North America in the 11th century. It’s not just a mention of a putative mosque by Colombo.
In an article published in 1996, historian Youssef Mroueh referred to a diary entry from Columbus that mentioned a mosque in Cuba. But the passage is widely understood to be a metaphorical reference to the shape of the landscape.
Metaphors weren’t invented until 1642. By a Muslim, by the way.