Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan claimed over the weekend that America was not discovered by Christopher Columbus, but rather by Muslims.
Turkish daily Hurriyet quoted Erdogan as saying at the closing cermony of the Latin American Muslim leaders summit that, if permitted by Havana, he would build a mosque on the hill the explorers supposedly touched down on in Cuba.
"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," Erdogan said. He added that the entry in Columbus's diary was proof that "the religion of Islam was widespread" by the time European explorers reached the New World.
According to Hurriyet
, Erdogan's claims were based on the theory of Dr. Youssef Mroueh of the As-Sunnah Foundation of America, who wrote in 1996, "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."