CAIRO – A land has been allocated to build a mosque in Cuba’s Havana where Christopher Columbus referred to the presence of a Muslim place of worship long centuries ago, according to media reports.
“This idea first came out as our foundation’s project and bilateral visits then took place,” Mustafa Tutkun, vice general manager of Turkey’s Directorate of Religious Affairs (Diyanet), told Daily Vatan on Thursday, November 20.
“The land where the mosque can be constructed is ready.”
A five-acre land in the Old Havana district is ready for building the mosque that was proposed by the Turkish President Recep Tayyip last week.
According to Tutkun, Diyanet has been negotiating the possibilities of the mosque construction between Cuban officials and the Turkish government.
Planning the mosque’s construction, Tutkun suggested its design would be inspired by the picturesque Ortaköy Mosque in Istanbul.
“We are thinking of building a [mosque] similar to the Ortaköy Mosque,” said Tutkun.
Despite Diyanet’s willingness to fund the mosque construction, “Cuban officials would prefer the member states of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to construct the mosque, rather than one country,” according to Tutkun.
“Our foundation is ready to pay the costs of [the mosque],” Tutkun satated.
Plans to construct Cuba’s first mosque were announced last week by Erdogan as a part of his remarks about the discovery of the Americas by Muslims in the 12th century, more than three centuries before Christopher Columbus.
The Turkish president pointed to a diary entry in which Columbus mentioned a mosque on a hill in Cuba.
His claim has been mocked by the west and several Turkish media.
Hitting back at critics, Erdogan assured that Muslims discovered America before Columbus, blaming his critics for lacking confidence.
The Turkish president has also urged schools to teach history of Muslim scientists.
The idea raised by Erdogan was first suggested by historian Youssef Mroueh in his article in 1996.
In this article, he refers to a diary entry from Columbus that mentions a mosque in Cuba. His idea was contested by analysts who said the passage is widely understood to be a metaphorical reference to the shape of the landscape.
Evidence exists from the Arabs, West Africans, and Ottomans of Muslim voyages to the Americas well before Columbus and Christian Europe.
For whatever reason, the textbooks continue to extol the voyage of Columbus and the courage of his crew, the “first” to make it across the Atlantic.
Source : http://www.onislam.net