In what’s sure to send Tea Party members into one of the most epic meltdowns in modern history, Tayyip Erdogan, the president of Turkey, has brought claims that Muslims founded America back to the forefront of international news. While the evidence of such a claim is spotty at best, it will undoubtedly cause the extreme right to throw a hissy fit that’s not to be missed.
Muslims discover America before Columbus
It’s important to be very clear at this point: there’s really no archaeological evidence to support the idea that Muslims made their way to the Americas before Christopher Columbus. You would think, though, that the Tea Party might welcome this interpretation. After all, they’d probably be ecstatic to blame the genocide of Native Americas on Islamic individuals.
The claim made by Turkey’s president, though, is not a new one. Certain individuals have been claiming for decades that Muslims found their way to America in 1178, long before Christopher Columbus graced its shores. The claims stem from a misinterpreted entry in the journal of Christopher Columbus and one Harvard professor’s claim that certain New World engravings resemble Islamic inscriptions.
Erdogan continued with his claim by mentioning the misinterpreted Columbus journal entry, which references a mosque on a hill in Cuba, and suggesting that a new mosque be built upon the mountain. In reality, the entry basically just says that the hilltop resembled a mosque.
Once again, though, history would suggest that Tea Party activists should be all over this story as fact. After all, the overwhelming majority of scholars and experts in the field agree that the theory is bogus, so you’d think that ultra Conservatives would immediately proclaim its veracity. Ah, c’est la vie.
The Beginning of a Tea Party Meltdown
You could easily expect the Tea Party to flip out over this claim. After all, Muslims can’t even gather at the National Cathedral to promote religious unity and an end to extremist violence without certain “accepting” Christians crashing the event and claiming that we did Muslims a favor by allowing them to build mosques in America.
Of course, the beginning of this epic meltdown can already be found online. When the Tea Party News Network, which I guess is something like the “Adolf Hitler Ethnic Acceptance Network” (nonexistent), reported that the Turkish president made these claims, the comments on the story of course took on an immediate bigoted and ignorant tone.
My absolute favorite is Michele Grzywacz’s comment: “Strategy employed by our very own muslim-in-chief: say it often enough and lots of people will believe you!” I enjoyed this comment not only because it’s one of those rare Tea Party posts with decent grammar (Kudos!), but it’s also great because it takes the misinformation tactic of the Tea Party and Fox News and applies it to our president. Oh, and you can’t forget to call President Obama a Muslim whenever the chance arises!
Well, He’s Got a Point
In closing, we should look at one of the Turkish president’s final statements. While he completely ignored history as it relates to the conquests of Islam after Muhammad’s death, he does make a partially-accurate point:
“Converting people by force, by the sword, has never been a part of Islam. Our religion has never been a tool of exploitation[.] [European Christians] colonized America for its gold and Africa for its diamonds, now do it in the Middle East for its oil with the same dirty plot.”
All right, well it’s not surprising that he overlooked some key pieces of information, but he’s sort of right about the whole us colonizing places to take their stuff. That should put a stick in the craw of conservatives everywhere too.