Oct 12, 2012
Columbus Day follows the Muslim Day celebration in New York City by just a few weeks, so it is not surprising that Muslim leaders have tried to steal the credit for that historic achievement. After all, taking something that does not belong to them is part of their ideology (Surah 48:20) and the cherished traditions of their prophet. (Bukhari, Volume 1, Book 7, Number 331)
The discovery of America by Columbus was one of the most remarkable human achievements of the 15th Century, just as landing on the moon was in our own lifetime. But those two events would have been only historical footnotes had Christopher Columbus and Neil Armstrong merely made one-way journeys. In fact, the expeditions would have been remembered as foolish, ill-conceived, and inhumane stunts. With that in mind, let’s consider the claim that Muslims discovered America before Columbus.
On September 25, 2011, American Muslims held their 26th Annual Muslim Day Parade in New York City with banners, leaflets, and of course, the now-predictable mass prayer in the middle of Madison Avenue. One of the leaflets that got my attention, mostly for its lack of syntax, was headlined, “Islam is Not Anti-Systemic” by a local African-American Imam, Aiyub Abdul-Baqi.
Based on the title, one might think that the leaflet was a denial of the anti-Semitism that is infused throughout the Quran (e.g., Surahs 5:60, 5:82, 9:28-30, and 62:5). Actually, there was no mention of Jews anywhere in the document. Instead, the hand-out argued that Islam “is as American as apple pie.” Furthermore, “Muslims were here before the Christian European conquest of America  and we are here today.” Imam Abdul-Baqi arrogantly upped the ante by adding, “For those seeking to obtain knowledge, they can read ‘They Came Before Columbus’ by Dr. Ivan Van Sertima and ‘Deeper Roots’ by Dr. Abdullah Hakim Quick, which documents (sic) Muslims [sic] history in America and Caribbean [sic] up to the present.”
So I tracked down those books along with several other supposedly scholarly works that contend that Muslims reached American before Columbus. The arguments were based on four different indicators which are discussed greater detail below: 1) 8th to 7th Century B.C. South American Olemic statues appear to depict Negroid figures; 2) Some South American plants, artifacts, and root words seem to have African origins or similar names; 3) there are reports of large numbers of Africans leaving for America in the 14th Century A.D., and 4) Muslims/Arabs had the necessary navigational expertise and maps of America prior to 1492. Note that none of this “evidence” demonstrates that Muslims ever documented claims to territory or actually settled in America. Still, there was enough truth to the indicators to make a great Islamic myth.
The discovery of America was the result of deliberate search for a sea route to the Far East. Europe fell into its “Dark Age” when Muslims gained control of the Mediterranean beginning around the end of the 7th Century. (See Henri Pirenne, “Mohammed and Charlemagne,” pg. 155.) Ultimately, the Ottoman Empire, which had reached its zenith with the siege and capture of Constantinople in 1453, had cut off all land routes to the Far East and monopolized the trade in spices, silk, and other commodities in great demand in Europe. Navigators like Columbus believed that a sea route lay Westward, straight across the Atlantic. King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain were persuaded to finance the exploratory trip which promised to reap great financial rewards. Columbus would get 10 percent of the profits plus a hereditary governorship of the new territories “in the region of the Indies.”
While Columbus is generally given credit for discovering the Americas, Muslims today are advancing arguments that contend that they were the first to discover this New World. What are the merits of those arguments?
“They Came Before Columbus – The African Presence in Ancient America,” by Ivan Van Stertima (1976)
Professor Van Sertima was born in Guyana in 1935 and was a professor of Afro-American studies at Rutgers University. His book centers on the archeological evidence of early African contact with America. The cover of Van Sertima’s book shows a 10 foot high Olmec Colossal Head found at San Lorenzo Tenochtitlan near Veracruz, Mexico, which bears a striking resemblance to African facial features. These statues are impressive for their size and their apparent likeness to African Negroid races. They have been dated to 800 to 700 B.C., which might make them African in origin, but certainly not Muslim. There are also many plants and artifacts that indicate some contact between the two continents, but there is no record either in Africa or in America confirming that these contacts were other than accidental and very occasional. Van Sertima relies heavily on a 1922 study by American philologist Leo Wiener, “Africa and the Discovery of America.” This book documents the common plants, monetary artifacts, and even similar words to demonstrate extended cultural contact between Africa and America, but the actual relationship between the people of those two continents is pure speculation. One could draw similar conclusions from flotsam and jetsam washed up on a distant shore. (See more on Leo Wiener below.)
When it comes to recording actual American contact with African people, Van Sertima is a bit more specific:
Peter Martyr, the first historian of America, reports about Darien in the Isthmus of Panama, “The Spaniards found Negroes in this province. It is thought that Negro pirates from [Africa] established themselves after the wreck of their ships in these mountains. The natives of Quarequa carry on incessant war with these Negroes. Massacre or slavery is the alternate fortune of these peoples.” Darien and Columbia were easily accessible to African ship-wrecked mariners. These places lie within the terminal area of currents that move with great power and swiftness from Africa to America. . . . [I]t is important to point out here how many small, isolated black communities have been found on the American seaboard at the terminal points of these currents. It is evident that the more or less pure black elements have been brought from Africa through some accident at sea, they have there mixed with the local races, and have formed those small isolated groups which are distinguished by their color from the surrounding tribes. (page 24)
One of the center-pieces to his book is the story of an African Mandingo king who launched a colonial expedition to America with 200 master boats and 200 supply boats in 1310. The king was, according to accounts, Abubakari the Second, a nominal Muslim who Van Sertima claims “was no more Muslim than were the feathered and masked magicians of his court.” Only one ship from that expedition ever retuned to Africa, having abandoned the voyage early on out of fear. The following year, the king relinquished his throne and joined a second expedition to America. This fleet was comprised of 2,000 vessels filled with supplies and settlers. Such expeditions would have dwarfed all of the early European settlements of America in the 16th and 17th Centuries, including the Mayflower Pilgrims, the Jamestown colony, and the St. Augustine settlements combined. The accounts of the two large expeditions of boats from the Senegambia coast of Africa (near Dakar) are sketchy at best. If the expeditions involved more than 2,400 boats and large numbers of colonists, there certainly would have been much written about the venture. Archeologists have found a few religious artifacts and art depicting African figures in Mexico relating to that time-frame, but no other documentary proof. Van Sertima chalks up the lack of historical evidence as racial prejudice:
It is hard for many to imagine the Negro-African figure being venerated as a god among the American Indians. He has always been represented as the lowliest of the low, at least since the era of conquest and slavery. His humiliation as a world figure begins, in fact, with the coming of Columbus. (Columbus himself was the first to initiate slavery in the Americas, even against the wishes of the Spanish sovereigns.) It was the very decade of his “discoveries” that the black and white Moors were laid low. The image of the Negro-African as a backward, slow and uninventive being is still with us. Not only his manhood and his freedom but even the memory of his cultural and technological achievement before the day of his humiliation seems to have been erased from the consciousness of history. . . Leo Wiener, the Harvard philologist, assumes that the great Mali empire of medieval West Africa owed all of its refinements, even its animist ritual and magic, to the Arab-Islamic civilization. The Mandingo came to America before Columbus, he declares, but carrying another man’s cultural baggage. He sees the Negro-African as simply a conductor of Islamic cultural electricity. . . For them, before and after Columbus, the Negro is still a beggar in the wilderness of history, a porter, a paddler, a menial, a mercenary – the eternal and immutable slave. (pages 29-30)
What Van Sertima seems to forget in his victimhood rant, however, is that there are two distinct periods of archeological evidence of contact by Africans in the Americas – the pre-Classic period (800 to700 B.C.) and the two centuries prior to Columbus. The former displayed what he called, “The most remarkable representation of Negroes in America. . . The people who were host to these Negro-African figures are known as the Olmecs. [The Negroid heads] stood twelve to twenty times larger than the faces of living men. They were like gods among the Olmecs. . . The construction of these Negroid figures is a fact of staggering proportions. Imagine forty tons of basalt block mined from stone quarries eighty miles away and transported to the holy center of La Venta – not in pieces but in one massive chunk . . . “
It was only in the later, pre-Columbian period that Africans in America acquired a more sinister reputation according to Van Sertima’s own narration: “Negro pirates from Africa” “tall black men of military bearing who were waging war with the natives,” “constantly waging war,” “The blacks also killed and made war captives of Indians they caught in these raids along the Isthmus.” I will leave it for the reader to decide if this stark difference between the reception given to the Negroes of the 8th and 7th Centuries B.C. and the Negroes of the 14th and 15th Centuries A.D. had anything to do with their conversion to Islam.
Van Sertima is a product of the multi-cultural heyday before the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran which exposed the evil nature of the Islamists, particularly their hostility toward “the Great Satan” of America. He writes,
But the whole notion of any race (European, African or American) discovering a full-blown civilization is absurd. Such notions should now be abandoned once and for all. They presume some innate superiority in the “discoverer” and something inferior and barbaric in the people “discovered.” [This book] provides further evidence that all great civilizations and races are heavily indebted to one another and that no race has a monopoly on enterprise and inventive genius. (page 256)
One of the most convincing arguments against Van Sertima’s thesis of extended contact between Africans and Native Americans involves genetic and immunological studies over the past two decades. There is no genealogical evidence of pre-Columbian widespread interbreeding of African or Arab races with the indigenous populations of America. If isolated pockets of ship-wrecked African mariners existed, they were eventually wiped out through warfare or disease. Also, the extensive depopulation of the Native American population following Columbus’ discovery was not due to colonial bloodshed, but rather due to exposure to European diseases, against which the Native Americans had not developed any immunity. Those diseases included small-pox, measles, scarlet fever, typhoid, typhus, influenza, whooping cough, tuberculosis, cholera, diphtheria, chicken pox, and venereal diseases. Each of these diseases brought destruction through sweeping epidemics, involving illness and extensive death. Many Native American tribes experienced extensive depopulation, averaging 25–50 percent of tribal life lost due to disease. These huge mortality rates of the Native Americans after contact with the European settlers indicates quite conclusively that they had been immunologically isolated from other parts of the world prior to Columbus’ discovery. In other words, there was no significant American contact with other continents which had already developed immunity to those diseases.
”Deeper Roots – Muslims in the Americas and the Caribbean From Before Columbus to the Present,” by Dr. Abdullah Hakim Quick (1996)
Dr. Quick claims to be of African and Native American descent. He was born in the U.S. in 1949 and converted to Islam in 1970. He received a B.A. in Islamic Studies (Da’wah and Usul al-Din – Proselytizing and Theology) from the Islamic University of Medina and a PhD in History of Islam in Africa from the University of Toronto, Canada. He was involved in Caribbean Islamic development as the first Amir of the Islamic Council of Jamaica and the Imam of Masjid Bilal in Kingston, Jamaica. (This mosque is apparently defunct today.) Dr. Quick lives in Toronto and is the head of the History Department at the Al Maghrib Institute, a non-profit organization that offers weekend accelerated degree classes in Islam.
Dr. Quick pins his thesis on 1) linguistic similarities between Jamaican Creole and West African
Mandinka dialects and 2) Arabic accounts of navigation in the “sea of darkness and fog.” Most linguists, however, agree that Jamaican Creole is an English-based language developed in the 17th Century when African slaves brought with them their native vocabulary. The Arab/Muslim exploration accounts cited by Dr. Quick are underwhelming in their lack of detail.
Khashkhas ibn Saeed ibn Aswad is said to have crossed the Atlantic with a group of young sailors and returned in 889 A.D. with “fabulous booty. Every Spaniard (Andalusian) knows this story.” However, if such booty were found, it would be likely that those sailors would attempt additional voyages. No further trips were reported.
Ibn Farrukh sailed from the Canary Islands in February, 999, and then sailed westward to the islands of Caprira and Pluitana, arriving back in Spain in May of that year. Those islands were never identified or confirmed by any other navigators.
Another group sailed from Lisbon in the 12th Century, but the short sailing period of only 25 days would preclude arrival in the Western Hemisphere. The average sailing time for Columbus’ four voyages was 52 days.
Dr. Quick also asserts that a mixed ethnic strain existed in the Americas prior to Columbus. These Black Caribs (Garifuna), according to Dr. Quick, were Muslims. However, he acknowledges that these people were most likely descendants of Africans who were conveyed to America by the currents and winds. When the Spanish settled in Central America, the Garifuna were found to be too independent to work on the plantations. Eventually, they revolted and withdrew to the mountains. Today’s Garfuna are predominately Catholic, matriarchal, and have a culture deeply involved with music and magic. If they were ever Muslim, that religion would have left an indelible imprint of male-dominated families and an aversion to music and magic. Dr. Quick attributes the lack of information on the Garifuna’s Islamic origins to a “massive cover-up.”
After surveying the growing number of archeological, linguistic, and historical proofs for the presence of Muslims in the Americas before Columbus, the researcher becomes totally aware of a massive cover-up. Not only was the presence of Muslims in the Americas known to the early Spanish and Portuguese explorers, but Muslim geographical and navigational information was actually the foundation of European expansion. . . The colonization of the Americas by the Spanish was an extension of the Reconquista (reconquest) of the Iberian Peninsula. Muslims had ruled much of Spain for 781 years, dominating Europe culturally, educationally, and economically. The early explorers were, in many cases, Spanish soldiers who had fought in Spain or Africa and sailed the seas to destroy the power of Islam. They recognized the influence of Islam wherever they journeyed and did everything in their power to convert the people to Catholicism. (page 35)
Such was the plight of the early Muslims who braved the currents, visited new lands, learned new languages and cultures, traded with the peoples of the Americas, and became part of the already thriving civilizations. Yet despite all of these amazing achievements, very little information about their presence is being allowed out to the general public. World History will one day open its arms to all of its participants. (page 37)
Dr. Quick acknowledged that in1550, the King of Spain ordered the American colonies to use whatever resources they had to prevent Moors (i.e., Muslims) from settling there and to try “to convert them or persuade them by good and legitimate means to accept our holy Catholic faith.” This does not reflect a “cover-up” as much as it was a conscious reaction to 781 years of Islamic domination in Spain where churches were converted to mosques and where Jews and Christians were dhimmis, second class citizens burdened with harsh taxes and civil restrictions. The source for these royal orders was a paper by Peruvian Rafael Bazan in the 1966 issue of The Muslim World. The portions of the royal decrees omitted by Dr. Quick clearly contradict his allegations of a “cover-up:”
You are informed that if such Moors are by their nationality and origin Moors, and if they should teach Muslim doctrines, or wage war against you or the Indians, who are subject to us or in our royal service, you are authorized to make them slaves. But the Muslims who may be Indians or who may have adopted the Muslim religion you shall not make slaves by any means whatever. On the contrary, you shall try to convert them or persuade them by good and legitimate means to accept our holy Catholic faith. (Notes Bazan, “All this serves as a starting point to demonstrate how it was that the fierce ‘Islamophobia’ which developed in Spain during the centuries of the Reconquest contained not the least trace of racism. It was, rather, a doctrinal and religious struggle. . . Proof of this is that for centuries past, the Spaniard did not hesitate to mix his blood with that of the American aborigines. There was no such racism, therefore in the Spain of the sixteenth century. . .) Be it known . . . we have decreed that under no condition should [Muslims] go [to America], on account of the many annoyances which seem, from practical experience, to follow those who have gone. And in order to prevent the harm which those who have gone there or those who may go there in the future may cause, since in a new land like that where the Faith is newly established it is advisable that every risk be removed, in order that neither the sect of Muhammad nor any other may be propagated and proclaimed there in offence to God our Lord and to the detriment of our holy Catholic faith. . (pages 177 and 182)
“Africa and the Discovery of America,” by Leo Wiener (1922)
Another book perpetuating the myth of an African pre-Columbian discovery of America is a book by American professor of Slavic Languages and Literature, Leo Wiener, titled “Africa and the Discovery of America.” In the introduction to the book, readers are told that Africans were partners with Native Americans “in the creation of a durable civilization long before the emergence of Europeans in this part of the world” and that the region “could have done without the ‘discovery’ by Europeans and might have been better off.”
What follows is a disappointing litany of plants and artifacts common to both Africa and the Americas – cotton, tobacco, and bead money. There is not one chapter about explorers, settlers, or even any written record of sustained human contact between Africa and America. For the commonality of plants and artifacts, those could have occurred by way of drifted objects or occasional shipwrecked seafarers.
The crux of Dr. Wiener’s argument is that if the words associated with those plants and artifacts are similar in two different continents, then there is evidence of human contact. Tobacco seems to have similar names in Africa and pre-Columbian America. The study of philology can provide important clues to the transmission routes of plants and other artifacts. However, it must be used with caution, as Dr. Wiener acknowledges. The fact that Spain was under the control of Arabic speaking Muslims for 781 years prior to the exploration of America would go a long way toward explaining the Arabic influence on place and plant names in the New World. The English language contains many Arabic words, like algebra and alcohol, but that doesn’t make English-speaking people Muslim.
More devastating to Dr. Wiener’s theories is the consensus of contemporary Mesoamerican scholars that there is neither linguistic nor genetic evidence linking Africa to pre-Columbian America:
Some researchers claim that the Mesoamerican writing systems are related to African scripts. These assertions have found no support among Mesoamerican researchers. While mainstream scholars have made significant progress translating the Maya script, researchers have yet to translate Olmec glyphs. [Furthermore,] Genetic and immunological studies over the past two decades have failed to yield evidence of pre-Columbian African contributions to the indigenous populations of the Americas. Additionally, the huge mortality associated with the spread of Old World diseases introduced by Europeans suggests long-term immunological isolation which further shows the lack of any contact with African people in the Americas before Columbus.
The cover of the 1992 edition of Dr. Wiener’s book also reveals another problem. It is a picture of an East African trading ship made of palm or papyrus fiber lashed together and propelled by a square sail. The caption explains that such ships were sailed on the Indian Ocean between Africa and China. Square sails do not allow ships to sail toward the wind as lateen sails do. Neither Muslims nor Africans adopted lateen sails until the 16th Century – after Columbus demonstrated their efficacy in making round trip voyages across the Atlantic. As any ocean navigator or space explorer well knows, the achievement of landing at a distant destination is nothing if one cannot also return to the point of departure and report about the accomplishment.
“Before Columbus – Links Between the Old World and Ancient America,” by Cyrus H. Gordon (1971)
Cyrus H. Gordon (1908 – 2001) was an eminent scholar of Near Eastern cultures and ancient languages. In addition to conducting extensive field archeological research in the Middle East, he taught at Dropsie College, Brandeis University, and New York University. One of his more controversial theories was that Jews, Phoenicians and others crossed the Atlantic in antiquity and settled in various parts of North and South America. He posits that all cultures share elements due to accidental and deliberate contact – or borrowing. However, he admits that parallel occurrences of a simple cultural element may be due to independent invention, e.g., houses.
Gordon’s evidence regarding cultural contact in the Americas prior to Columbus includes 1) ethnic figurines, 2) Greek accounts of travels to the region, 3) similarity of archeological artifacts, 4) inscriptions on Roman coins found in several Southeastern states in the U.S., and 5) the maps of the Turkish navigator Piri Reis. Except for the Piri Reis maps (discussed below), all of the archeological evidence of contact occurs prior to the establishment of Islam in the 7th Century. There is only one reference to “Muslim” in Gordon’s entire book, and that is merely a passing comment that Jews and Muslims avoid pork.
Muslim Maps and Navigation Techniques
There are two scholarly works which lay the groundwork for the thesis Muslim maps indicate navigation to the Americas prior to Columbus – “Mu-Lan-P’i: A Case for Pre-Columbian Transatlantic Travel by Arab Ships” by Hui-Lin Li (1961) and “The Pre-Columbian Discovery of the American Continent by Muslim Seafarers” by Fuat Sezgin (2005).
Regarding Mu-Lan-P’i, a 13th Century Chinese Sung Dynasty document contains the following description: “The country of Mu-lan-p’i is to the west of the Ta-shih country (presumably Moorish Spain). There is a great sea, and to the west of this sea there are countless countries, but Mu-lan-p’i is the one country which is visited by the big ships of the Ta-shih.” The authors claimed that the reports of this country came mostly from Arab seafaring merchants. But a closer look at the so-called Arab reports leaves much to be desired from a historical perspective. Here is one excerpt: “Among the native products are foreign sheep, which are several feet high and have tails as big as a fan. In the spring-time they slit open their bellies and take out some tens of catties [one catty equals 1 ½ pounds] of fat, after which they sew them up again, and the sheep live on; if the fat were not removed, (the animal) would swell up and die.” The author of the article about these reports, Hui-Lin Li, explains that these were probably alpacas or llamas, and that the description of their annual shearing for wool was garbled into extracting fat. The problem with such an explanation is that those particular animals were native to the alpine regions of the Andes Mountains (on the west side of South America) above 11,500 feet in elevation. It is unlikely that the Arab merchants sailing west from Spain (or even the Middle East) would encounter alpacas above 11,500 feet on the far side of South America.
The other study by Fuat Sezgin introduces several Muslim or Arabic navigators who might have visited and mapped North or South American during their travels, namely, Nicolò da Conti and Piri Reis. Critical to mapping that region was an accurate determination of longitude. Arabs had mastered the technique of determining longitude by measuring the elapsed time between lunar eclipses at various locations. However, to accomplish this one needed to observe a very rare lunar eclipse and one had to accurately mark the time. Columbus reported only one lunar eclipse in his four voyages to the New World, and he marked time with nothing more accurate than an hour-glass. Many of his “honest” geographical observations were as much as 6,000 miles off. (These faked observations, it is now believed, were recorded to lend credence to his arrival in the Far East in order to justify his demand to be appointed governor of the “Indies.”) Although some pre-Columbian maps show outlines of South America, there are no logs or other documentary evidence of Muslims/Arabs ever landing or establishing trading posts in the Western Hemisphere. Concludes Sezgin, “. . . the basic proposition that the inhabitants of the Old World reached the landmass beyond the Atlantic Ocean time and again since antiquity appears to be generally corroborated. In all likelihood these encounters between inhabitants of Old and New World came about – up to a certain point in history – by chance rather than on purpose. . . Apparently the Arabic-Islamic navigators and cartographers were hardly aware of the significance which the progress they had achieved for world history.”
Navigation vs. Drifting
We all know that Columbus navigated to the Americas in three ships in 1492. His crew not only plotted their course to America, but they also returned by the same route, bringing ships logs, diaries, and captured Indians as evidence of their successful voyage. In all, Columbus made four round trips to America and back. All of that was a deliberate accomplishment, worthy of historical recognition.
Recently, at a much-touted Friday Jumah prayer event prior to the Democratic National Convention, Jibril Hough, a spokesman for the Bureau of Indigenous Muslim Affairs, claimed that Muslim navigators guided Columbus on his famous voyages. The source of this astounding announcement seems to be an article in Muslim Wiki which lists the Muslim navigators -- the three Pinzon brothers, Pedro Alonso Nino, and Rodrigo De Triana. (See: http://muslimwiki.com/mw/index.php/Christopher_Columbus ) Simple fact-checking, however, will confirm that the Pinzon brothers and Rodrigo De Triana were all Catholic. If African Pedro Alonso Nino was a Muslim, it would be nothing to brag about, as he died in 1505 in prison awaiting trial for allegedly cheating the King out his rightful share of the profits from his later explorations.
The Africans who arrived in America most likely drifted there by accident. It is well known that the Atlantic Ocean wind and water currents run from Africa to America – the same route as the hurricanes which hit the Western Hemisphere each year. If some African fishermen got caught in a storm and were lost at sea, they would eventually end up in the Americas (provided they could survive for 70 days or so on their provisions and fishing skills). African vessels at the time did not have keels, and their square sails made it impossible to sail into headwinds. We have no actual record of this happening because, unlike Columbus, those who arrived from Africa did not return to their home port and they did not leave diaries of their voyages or routes.
In 1969 and 1970, Norwegian adventurist Thor Heyerdahl of Kon Tiki fame built two boats from papyrus and attempted to cross the Atlantic Ocean from Morocco in Africa. The first boat, Ra (after the Egyptian Sun god), broke apart and had to be abandoned just a week off the coast of Barbados. The second craft, Ra II, made the Atlantic crossing from Safi to Barbados, a distance of 3270 nautical miles, in 57 days. While the experiment proved that boats could sail (and drift with the currents) from Africa to America, it also underscored the dicey 50-50 probability of ever arriving. Returning against the wind in such boats was out of the question.
In January, 2011, a group of adventurists built a raft called An Tiki (named after the famous Pacific raft Kon Tiki). The raft was launched from La Gomera in the Canary Islands and it managed to drift with a small square sail to St. Maarten in the West Indies. The voyage took 66 days, and ended up over 1,000 miles from its intended destination (Eleuthera) because, after all, they were merely drifting with the current and prevailing winds.
Based on the books and documents cited by the pamphlet (and within the cited books), one can come to the following conclusions:
If Muslims can claim any part in the discovery of America it was due to their blockading the Mediterranean and land routes to the East that prompted Columbus and other explorers to seek alternate routes to avoid the Muslim robbers and pirates.
While Muslims, Africans, Chinese, and Vikings may have charted maps of America and even landed in America (the Western Hemisphere) prior to Columbus, none of those cultures actually succeeded in making permanent settlements or writing documented reports on what they “discovered.”
Rather than being “as American as apple pie,” Muslims were the objects of the first laws promulgated in the Americas in the 16th Century prohibiting the immigration of Moors, Berbers, and people from Levant. These laws were based on ideology, not race, and reflected the Spanish aversion to Islam occasioned by 781 years of oppressive Islamic rule.
While thousands of boats and settlers from Africa reportedly left for America, there is no evidence of such large numbers ever arriving. The few who did arrive seem to have drifted there randomly and sporadically after being lost at sea, rather than deliberately seeking and navigating to America, as did Columbus.
The paucity of evidence supporting the African cultural impact on America is not so much the result of racial bias or cover-up, but rather lack of historical documentation on either side of the Atlantic. Genealogy, Immunology, Archeology and History do not have reputations for predetermined outcomes.
Finally, Aiyub Adbul-Baqi’sstatement that Islam is “as American as apple pie” betrays his ignorance.Until the advent of vegetable shortening in 1911, the crusts of apple pies were made with pork lard, a forbidden, haram food for Muslims.To say that Islam is as “American as apple pie” meant that Islam was actually haram for most of America’s history.
Postscript: When the first man on the moon, Neil Armstrong, died on August 25, 2012, at age 82, we were reminded that soon after his historic space achievement, Muslim sources created the false story that while in space, he heard the Muslim call to prayer (azan), converted to Islam, and moved to Lebanon. (Well, he did live in Lebanon, Ohio.) (See: http://themuslimissue.wordpress.com/2012/08/26/usa-laughable-muslim-fantasies-neil-armstrong-converted-to-islam-after-landing-on-the-moon/ )
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