| Hugh Fitzgerald: Columbus and His Muslim Connection
| Friday, November 10, 2017
Jihad Watch : John Hamed, Jr. repeats as fact several myths about Muslims. The first one, discussed in the previous piece,
is the claim made by the zoologist and amateur epigraphist Barry Fell,
of an Arab presence in the New World as early as 700 A.D.
followed by the three distinct claims made by Muslim “scholars” about
Muslims and Christopher Columbus. These are: first, the assertion that
Columbus’s navigator was an “Arab” and “Muslim”; second, that the Pinzon
brothers, one of whom was captain of the Nina and the other the captain
of the Pinta, were Muslims (or Moriscos, outwardly converts to
Catholicism); third, that Columbus recorded in his papers having seen a
“mosque” on top of a mountain in Cuba. Note that word “admitted,” as if Columbus had wanted to hide any evidence of a Muslim presence in Cuba. Why did Youssef Mroueh not quote Columbus?
Here’s why: Columbus wrote “Señala
la disposición del río y del puerto…, que tiene sus montañas hermosas y
altas…, y una de ellas tiene encima otro montecillo a manera de una
[unnamed editor] Relaciones y Cartas de Cristóbal Colón (1892), p. 49
In English: “Remarking on the position of the river and port…, he
[Columbus] describes its mountains as lofty and beautiful…, and one of
them has another little hill on its summit, like a graceful mosque.” — Clements R. Markham (tr.), The Journal of Christopher Columbus (1893), pp. 62-3
Columbus did not write that he had seen a mosque but, rather, that he
had seen one hill atop another, looking “like a graceful mosque.”
Youssef Mroueh surely knew this, but didn’t want to let his readers know
it. So he didn’t quote from Columbus, changed the description from a
simile (X is like Y, the hill is like a mosque) and made it a straight
description (“there’s a graceful mosque on the hill”), and hoped he
could get away with it. And in fact, his version has been accepted by
some Muslims, including Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who claimed in 2014 that
“In his memoirs [sic], Christopher Columbus mentions the existence of a
mosque atop a hill on the coast of Cuba.” Columbus never did.
Columbus and His “Arab” Navigator
The next claim made by Muslims is that Columbus had an “Arab” navigator. But where did this particular story, about Columbus’s “Arab navigator,” come from. It came from Muslims themselves. And it is based on a case of
mistaken identity. For it was Muslims who, when they learned of an
“Arabic-speaking Spaniard” on Columbus’s first voyage, decided that this
must refer to a Muslim Arab.
In fact, the reference was to one Luis de
Torres, a converso (a Jew who accepted Catholicism). Luis de Torres knew
Hebrew, Spanish, Portuguese, and some Arabic, and was taken on not as a
navigator but as an interpreter by Columbus, who thought his knowledge
of Hebrew would be useful if in Asia they ran into any Jewish traders
(who were known to travel far and wide) or into members of the Ten Lost
Tribes of Israel.
But Muslims, in their eagerness to put themselves into
the picture with Columbus, have committed two historical errors: first,
they thought that the interpreter, the “Arabic-speaking Spaniard” Luis
de Torres, was the navigator, and then they assumed that if someone on
Columbus’s crew spoke Arabic, as Torres did, he must have been an Arab
and a Muslim. Wrong on both counts.
Read it all here...................
|posted by D Swami Gwekanandam @ 9:00 PM