In a televised address to an audience of Muslim leaders from Latin America in Istanbul over the weekend, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan claimed Muslims discovered America in the 12th Century.
"Contacts between Latin America and Islam date back to the 12th century. Muslims discovered America in 1178, not Christopher Columbus, Muslim sailors arrived in America from 1178," said Erdogan, "Columbus mentioned the existence of a mosque on a hill on the Cuban coast." Erdogan went on to say that he would like to build a mosque on that site. He bases this claim on an article written in 1996 by aYoussef Mroueh. In the article, Mroueh claims that Columbus made reference to the mosque in his diary.