Turkey: Muslim discovery of Americas on school texts,Erdogan

20 November, 09:55

    A map of America, 1659 A map of America, 1659

    (ANSAmed) - ANKARA, NOVEMBER 19 - Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has instructed Turkey's educational institutions to adopt a policy of highlighting the contribution of Islam to global science and arts, including the discovery of the American continent by Muslim sailors some 300 years before Columbus as daily Hurriyet online reports today. "I have to be clear that there is an important responsibility falling on the shoulders of our Education Ministry and YOK (the Higher Education Board). An objective writing of history will show the contribution of the East, the Middle East and Islam to the science and arts. As the president of my country, I cannot accept that our civilization is inferior to other civilizations," Erdogan said in his address to students at the opening of a religious school in Ankara yesterday.

    He also slammed criticisms from columnists and cartoonists mocking his claims that Muslim sailors discovered the Americas and constructed a mosque in Cuba centuries before Columbus. "Why (do they not believe it)? Because they have never believed that a Muslim can do such a thing. They have never believed that their ancestors could manage to launch ships in the Golden Horn after transporting them across land," Erdogan said, referring to Ottoman Sultan Mehmet II's conquest of Istanbul in 1453. "They have never believed that their ancestors ended the Dark Age and opened the New Age. That's a lack of self-confidence," he added.

    Erdogan defended his claims about the discovery of the Americas and underlined that the suggestion had not originally been made by him. "This claim is not new. It is mentioned in Prof. Fuat Sezgin's books. A number of academics in Turkey and in the world have made this claim," he said, without referring to his suggestion that the Muslims who discovered Cuba built a mosque on a hill there. (ANSAmed).

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