The Latest from Our Friends in Saudi Arabia: Columbus Sailed to the New World to Kill Muslims


A Saudi Imam has followed the footsteps of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and delivered an extensive sermon proclaiming that Muslims had initially discovered America, and that Christopher Columbus’ voyage there was a plot to kill pre-Columbian Muslims.

The sermon, delivered in early January by Imam Issa Assiri at the Sa’eed bin Jubair Mosque in Jedda, Saudi Arabia, also extensively justifies the use of violence against those who do not follow Muhammad.

Imam Assiri’s sermon sounds like it might be coming from “the wrong side of history,” to borrow President Obama’s phrase for what he describes as the completely non-Islamic terrorists of ISIS.

As translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute, which keeps busy translating what Arab leaders say when there are no Western cameras pointed at them, Imam Assiri warms up with a victory lap for the use of violence to censor images offensive to Islam, such as the Charlie Hebdo cartoons. He explains how bloodshed is useful for convincing Westerners to abandon their free speech values:

The sword is more truthful than the book. Its cutting edge separates sincerity from jest. It is the whiteness of the blade, rather than the blackness of the book’s ink, that dismisses any uncertainty or doubt.” When they faced death… This is the language these Jewish and Christian infidels understand. This is the only language they understand. [After the Charlie Hebdo attack] they changed their policy.

The Imam has a tart response for the Western liberals who banged out a thousand pages about how peaceful, tolerant Islam does not actually have religious laws against insulting or depicting Mohammed:

When someone curses or mocks the Prophet Muhammad – what should be his punishment? Cursing or mocking the Prophet is an act of apostasy, as all scholars concur, whether it is done seriously or in jest. Anyone who does this, Muslim or infidel, must be killed, even if he repents.

That doesn’t sound at all like what atheist Western liberals have been assuring us the Koran and hadiths have to say on the matter.

The Imam went on to claim that Muslims were all over the place in the New World of the 15th Century, which is why Queen Isabella sent Christopher Columbus to kill them.

Dear believers, some notions require correction. For example, what we learned in school about the discovery of America is a lie. According to this story, the Spaniards loved spices, and since there was a shortage of spices in Europe and the price was high, they decided to send a sailor called Columbus westwards, so he would reach India and bring back spices. Only he did not get to India. Instead, he reached a land inhabited by redskins, whom he named “Red Indians.” Some time later, another sailor, called Amerigo, reached the same place. This is why America is called America – after that sailor – as if he discovered it. End of story – a fabrication and a lie, which is as far removed from the truth as possible.

What is the truth that they do not want us to know? All that I have just told you is pure nonsense. The truth is that Columbus knew about the “new world” even before he set sail. He also knew that there were Muslims there. He received a personal commission to sail to America from a Crusader queen who hated Islam and the Muslims. She was one of the most prominent Crusader figures in history and she was called Isabella. She harbored deep hatred for Islam. She signed with Muhammad “the Little” the last Muslim king of Andalusia, an agreement in Granada that ended the Muslim presence in Andalusia. That was before this hateful Crusader turned to the American continent, in order to fight the Muslims there. The Muslims were there before Columbus and all the others.

Imam Assiri is not the first to float this alternate history of early America. Months before this lively sermon was delivered, as AFP reported, no less a figure than Turkey’s Islamist president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, was pushing the same load of garbage:

“Contacts between Latin America and Islam date back to the 12th century. Muslims discovered America in 1178, not Christopher Columbus,” the conservative president said in a televised speech during an Istanbul summit of Muslim leaders from Latin America.

“Muslim sailors arrived in America from 1178. Columbus mentioned the existence of a mosque on a hill on the Cuban coast,” Erdogan said. […]

A tiny minority of Muslim scholars have recently suggested a prior Muslim presence in the Americas, although no pre-Columbian ruin of an Islamic structure has ever been found.

In a controversial article published in 1996, historian Youssef Mroueh refers to a diary entry from Columbus that mentions a mosque in Cuba. But the passage is widely understood to be a metaphorical reference to the shape of the landscape.

Commenting on the shape of the Islamic rhetorical landscape, Daniel Greenfield observes, “Islamic history is a pretty unique thing. It’s the story of how everyone hates and conspires against Muslims. Saudi Arabia is a totalitarian state. If the authorities found his views unacceptable, he wouldn’t have been able to preach them. This is mainstream stuff.” As he goes on to note, this also provides a pretext for claiming that America, like just about every square inch of the world, really “belongs” to conquering Islam.

After the Charlie Hebdo horror, part of the instantaneous cultural-elite backlash against the hypothetical anti-Muslim backlash that never actually happens following acts of Islamist terror involved wailing about the unfairness of expecting peaceful Muslims to denounce the actions of violent fanatics. This is a deliberate misrepresentation of the hope that Islamic leaders would loudly and unequivocally denounce the use of force to impose sharia law on non-Muslims. Many Islamic leaders in Western communities step up to denounce violence, but not always unequivocally, nor are they willing to completely discredit the idea of compelling Western legal systems to respect Islamic law.

We might also ask Islamic leaders to sternly denounce the paranoid rhetoric aimed at making many of the faithful feel like victims, viewing secular society and the faithful of other religions with hostility and resentment. That is one of the most urgent tasks awaiting a global Islamic reformation, especially given the ongoing migration of both people and ideas from parts of the world where angry nonsense is standard fare.


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