Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan declared that America was discovered by Muslims, not by Christopher Columbus.
Given this astonishing historic discovery, the Turkish leader has vowed to build a mosque in Cuba if the Cuban authorities grant him the permit to do so.
Erdoğan shared his discovery and his plans when speaking at the closing ceremony of the first Latin American Muslim leaders summit in Istanbul on Sunday, Nov. 15, where he struck a note near and dear to all “oppressed” people: colonialism. He did not mention the conquests by Muslims of any lands.
The “proof” of the Turkish leader’s astounding historic claim comes from a literal, rather than metaphoric – as it was intended – reading of a diary entry by Christopher 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,” Erdoğan said. This, he claimed, was the proof that “the religion of Islam was widespread” when the first European explorer discovered the New World in 1492.
The entry by Columbus is widely understood as a metaphoric reference to a mound on the summit of a mountain, one that resembles the dome or minaret of a mosque. No pre-Columbian Islamic structures have ever been discovered in the Americas.
But facts do not seem to present much of a hindrance to Erdoğan, who used the literary reference as a springboard for cementing an Islamic presence in Cuba. A toehold for colonialism, perhaps?
“Now I will speak to my Cuban brother [representing his country in the summit]. A mosque would be appropriate on top of that mountain today, too. Their permission is enough [for Turkey to build a mosque in Cuba],” the Turkish leader told the Latin American Islamic leaders.
He went on to explain how peaceful the Islamic form of expansion has been throughout the world, as compared to the colonialist westerners:
“Converting people by force, by the sword, has never been a part of Islam. Our religion has never been a tool of exploitation,” Erdoğan said, arguing that “those who colonialized America for its gold and Africa for its diamonds, now do it in the Middle East for its oil with the same dirty plot.”