In another forum I am subscribed the resident islamic fundamentalist argued that the Islamic religions was already known in America prior to Columbus arrival.
Now, I know that the theory of the Vikings “discovering” America is more likely but still been argued… but this?! Is there any tiny bit, a sleever, a drop, a shadow of truth on this article? God I hope this is just crap… I must have lived under a rock all these years.
Well if that don’t prove it, I don’t know what would. You people are just blind to the obvious facts. Come on, “Moorish-looking”…it’s so in your face, you can’t possibly ignore the evidence. Old man in a fez, JUST LIKE EGYPTIANS!!
I don’t see any problem with Africans coming across America prior to Columbus. If they did, they almost cerainly weren’t unique in doing so. I think the Native Americans still get to claim the credit of doing it first.
I can’t, however, see any relevancy at all on whether they were muslim or not. Nor do I believe, as the article linked to would have us believe, that Native Americans and Africans were linked in some ancient pan-continental muslim brotherhood. If the Americas featured so significantly in North African civilisation’s trade then I think we wouldn’t now be scrambling around trying to find evidence to prove it. It would be a documented fact.
Some of the evidence also appears to me to be rather flimsy. Words sounding like Arabic, statues ‘moorish looking’, a hat ‘resembling’ a fez, clothes that are ‘Islamic’.
And it’s all very well quoting religious idealism, but you can find just as many fine words in christian theology. The early European settlers also thought highly of Native Americans, though rather patronisingly regarded them as noble savages. But when push came to shove and there was gold and land to be had, fine word and thoughts didn’t count for much. It didn’t stop European christians taking the country by force, and call me a cynic, but I don’t believe African muslims to be significatly nobler. So the suggestion that Africans and Native Americans were extensively, happily and quietly co-existing before the christian Columbus came along to ruin things seems to be subjective and unlikely interpretation
“…in the time between 300 and 900 C.E.” doesn’t necessarily mean all of the time between 300 and 900. The year 889, mentioned in the article, would qualify as being in that time frame.
That said, the article fairly reeks of begging the question, tenuous and debatable relationships presented as fact, and “facts” that somehow seem to have escaped the notice of 99% of the educated world. I can’t say I’m convinced.
There are several possible sources for claims about Africans or Muslims preceding Columbus to the Americas. Some are less credible than others.
Among the slightly more credible sources (although they do not always support the claims) are references to the discovery of shipwrecked or marooned muslim sailors, as reported by Spanish explorers in the early sixteenth century. Several of Columbus’s sailors were either Muslim or Moriscos (forced converts to Christianity). It was not unusual for a ship’s master, seeking a good crew, to ignore the dictates of the land-based religious laws and there were probably many Muslims (or Moriscos) among the dozens of voyages of discovery to the Americas. That some survived shipwrecks and that a few of them would be discovered by later explorations is not surprising.
Among the claims that I consider less believable are the attempts to link some ancient African expeditions to the foundation of the Olmec empire. A number of people look on the heads of various Olmec statues as being classically African in nature. (I will certainly grant that there is a resemblance.) From there, however, they link together claims of Malinke (West African, Saharanand Sahel–inland) explorers using ships patterened on Egyptian (Eastern African) designs that traversed the Atlantic and established the Olmec Empire (at a time when the Malinke, while having established agriculture in the Sahel, had not, themselves, established an empire with the resources to outfit such explorations). (There are a number of eager proponents of the African/Olmec connection, but I have not found their arguments plausible and do not want to hijack this thread.) From the Malinke/Olmec connection, there are a few people who have decided to posit a steady trade between Africa and Mexico that went on for 2,000 years or more, adding Islam to the things carried Westward acrosss the Atlantic, without quite explaining how the trade conveniently disappeared just before the arrival of Columbuus and how the flourishing Muslim groups all suddenly reverted to American religions, with an occasional Muslim cultural carryover, in the same short period of time.
I find most of those claims to be rooted in wishful thinking.
While I do not deny that it is possible for Africans to have made such trips on one or two occasions, I think that several points argue strongly against them: no African livestock made the transition to the Americas; the few plants that are supposed to have been “introduced” by the sailors all have seeds that can be carried by known ocean currents; and the diseases known to have been endemic in each of those areas do not show any evidence of having been exchaged between the continents at that time in the way that smallpox and measles made such a dramatic leap following the explorations of Columbus.