Turkey's Recep Tayyip Erdogan says Syrian Kurds do not want Iraq's Kurdish peshmerga fighters to help them fight Islamic State jihadists in Kobane
'Muslims discovered America in 1178, not Christopher Columbus'-Erdogan

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Saturday that the Americas were discovered by Muslims in the 12th century, nearly three centuries before Christopher Columbus set foot there.

"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.


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  • John Smith
    November 21st 2014 - 08:01pm

    Muslim/Islamic leaders do only one thing...LIE. The Asians came over the land bridge across Alaska THOUSANDS of years ago, and the Vikings came to North America via Newfoundland in the late 10th century to early 11th century. In 1960 archaeological evidence of the only known Norse settlement in North America (outside Greenland) was found at L'Anse aux Meadows on the northern tip of the island of Newfoundland. Columbus never settled in North America, but in the out lying Island chains EAST of the continent.