Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said Muslims, not Christopher Columbus, were the first foreigners to set foot in America, suggesting the construction of a mosque on a Cuba hill where he said there used to be a mosque built by those Muslims.
“Latin America’s contact with Islam dates back to 12th century. Muslims discovered America in 1178, not Christopher Columbus. Muslim sailors arrived in America 1178. Christopher Columbus mentions the existence of a mosque on hill along the Cuba coast. I would talk to my brothers in Cuba and a mosque would suit well on the top of that hill today as well. It is enough they [Cuban rulers] say okay. Islam had expanded in the American continent even before Columbus arrived,” Erdoğan said on Saturday while speaking in İstanbul at the 1st Latin American Countries Muslim Religious Leaders Summit hosted by Turkey’s Directorate of Religious Affairs.
Cuba, one of the few remaining communist countries in the world and one of the most populated in the Caribbean with a population of 11 million, has a tiny Muslim minority. Muslims in the country have long complained that they have not a place to practice their religion collectively.
Turkey is known to be willing to build a mosque in the Cuban capital of Havana. A Turkish delegation travelled to Havana earlier this year to seek permission for a mosque in the capital. Turkish media reported last month that Cuban authorities rejected the request submitted by Turkey’s Religious Affairs Foundation (TDV)… see more