This is, of course, utter nonsense, but it has an insidious edge. Islamic doctrine holds that any land once held by Muslims belongs by right to Muslims forever: “Drive them out from where they drove you out” (Qur’an 2:190). So on the basis of this claim, if it became widespread belief (and given the corruption of our educational system, it could), Muslims could begin to claim that America was Muslim land, as they claim that Israel and Spain are Muslim land.
“Muslims found Americas before Columbus says Turkey’s Erdogan,” BBC, November 15, 2014 (thanks to all who sent this in):
Muslims discovered the Americas more than three centuries before Christopher Columbus, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said.
He made the claim during a conference of Latin American Muslim leaders in Istanbul, pointing to a diary entry in which Columbus mentioned a mosque on a hill in Cuba.
Mr Erdogan also said “Muslim sailors arrived in America in 1178”.
He said he was willing to build a mosque at the site Columbus identified….
But in a disputed article published in 1996, historian Youssef Mroueh said Columbus’ entry was proof that Muslims had reached the Americas first and that “the religion of Islam was widespread”.
However many scholars believe the reference is metaphorical, describing an aspect of the mountain that resembled part of a mosque.
No Islamic structures have been found in America that pre-date Columbus.
Mr Erdogan said he thought “a mosque would go perfectly on the hill today” and that he would like to discuss building this with Cuba.
The first people to reach the Americas came from Asia. They are believed to have crossed the Bering Strait about 15,000 years ago.
The first European visitors to North America are widely thought to have been Norse explorers, about 500 years before Columbus.