Sunday, August 26, 2007

Coming to America, or How Islam Won the West

      Did you know that "Muslims" first discovered the Americas? I sure didn't. I mean, I am a product of the American feudal/socialist school system. Or is that the public school system? I can never really remember; most of what they tried to cram into my brain didn't really take. But I do remember something about an Italian, funded by the Spanish, crossing the ocean blue in the year fourteen hundred and ninety-two, or something like that. Now, some have claimed that the Vikings got here first; others say it was the Chinese. However, I've never heard of the "Muslims" (Arabs? Moors? Turks?) discovering the new world, at least not before today. Praise be to Allah for sending his faithful servant Hisham Zoubeir to correct my ignorance of world history. In a ten-year-old article printed in the current issue of The Muslim Weekly, Zoubeir assures us that "We [Muslims] were in the Americas, hundreds of years before Columbus, and of that we can be sure." What's that, you say? You want proof? Well, they've got proof coming out their tarbooshes.

      No, it's not what you think; get your mind out of the gutter. According to the good folks over at the Encyclopaedia Britannica, a tarboosh is a hat. Specifically, it's a little round, cone-shaped hat which you'll probably recognize as a fez. And it is said fez that the learned Hisham Zoubeir would use as proof that Muslims discovered and colonized America. No, really, he's totally serious:
The German art historian, Alexander Von Wuthenau, also provides evidence that Muslims were in America, in the time between 300 and 900 C.E. This was at least half a millennium before Columbus was born. Carved heads that were described as "Moorish-looking" were dated between 300 and 900 C.E. and another group of heads dated between 900 and 1500 C.E. An artifact found in the earlier group was photographed, and when later examined was found to resemble an old man in a Fez, like the Egyptians.
Pretty damn convincing, ain't it? Well, it would be, except for the inconvenient fact that the fez is of ancient Greek origin, was subsequently worn by medieval Byzantines, and later adopted by the Ottoman Turks as they gradually conquered Anatolia. It was the Egyptians who made their own version and called it the tarboosh, but the way I remember history is that the Ottomans didn't appear until some time in the 12th or 13th century, long after Herr Von Wuthenau's first group of artifacts were dated. It may be possible that some Greeks managed to paddle a trireme across both the Mediterranean and the Atlantic, but I'm pretty sure they weren't Muslims. And they definitely don't look "Moorish". Perhaps if he'd claimed that some of the heads resembled the Virgin Mary he could've made a couple of bucks on eBay. I've also heard of a potato that looked like Richard Nixon, but, then again, show me one that doesn't.

      So at this point it's not looking too good for the Muslims-in-America-First theory but, praise be to Allah again, they've more "evidence". Dr. Ivan Van Sertima—the professor at Rutgers, not the mattress guy—claims that African Muslims definitely came to America before Columbus, which must be true; we've all seen the ads for Club AchMed, and who hasn't wanted to spend a delightful week or two at a Sandals & Burqas resort, conveniently located at many exotic locals throughout the al-Caribbean Sea. Speaking of the al-Caribbean, Dr. Barry Fell, of New Zealand and Harvard University, says that Muslims influenced the languages of the Native Americans, most notably the Algonquins. Algonquin sounds vaguely Arabic, i.e. al-Gonq win-Laden, which translated literally means "The Gonk of Laden." Sure sounds authentic to me. Never mind the fact that the Algonquins called themselves the Omàmiwininiwak; Fell's a Harvard linguist and, as far as I know, no Algonquin ever so much as went to Harvard, much less bothered to learn about their own language there, so what the hell would they know? Dr. Fell also claims to have found
…texts, diagrams and charts engraved on rocks that were used for schooling that dated back to 700-800 C.E. The schooling was in subjects such as mathematics, history, geography, astronomy and sea navigation. The language of instruction was Kufic Arabic, from North Africa.
Forget for the moment that Kufic is an Arabic script and not a language. I don't know about you, but I find it absolutely amazing that people so advanced as to be teaching math and astronomy and naval navigation couldn't figure out how to make some parchment or papyrus or paper and had to carve this stuff on rocks. And if they couldn't produce any paper locally, they should've been able to import it through their vast transatlantic trading network. Instead, they were apparently billing the guests at Club AchMed à la Fred Flintstone (Fareed al-Bedroq), chiseling their bar tabs on slabs of granite. How're you supposed to slip that under the door?

      Now, if you're still not convinced, then how 'bout a few words from the "Admiral of the Seas" himself? Zoubeir claims that
…for the record, Christopher Columbus, the man who so-called discovered America, himself declared that his impression of the Carib people (i.e., Caribbean people) were "Mohemmedans." He knew of the Mandinka presence in the New World (Muslims) and that Muslims from the West coast of Africa had settled down in the Caribbean, Central, South and North America.
Now, I couldn't find any references to Columbus claiming to have found "Mohemmedans" in the Caribbean, but I do know what he had to say about the Caribs, the indigenous tribe of cannibals who apparently managed to secure the naming rights to the vast new sea Columbus had just discovered. That's right, they were cannibals; you should skip the rest of this section if graphic descriptions of cannibalism ain't your cup of tea. Dr. Diego Alvarez Chanca, who chronicled Columbus' second voyage, had this to say about the Caribs:
Limbs of human bodies hung up in houses as if curing for provisions; the head of a youth so recently severed from the body that the blood was yet dripping from it, and parts of his body were roasting before the fire, along with the savoury flesh of geese and parrots.
He goes on to note that the Caribs used arrowheads made of human bones, and
…in their attacks upon the neighbouring islands, these people take as many of the women as they can, especially those who are young and beautiful, and keep them as concubines … they eat the children that they [the concubines] bear to them … Such of their male enemies as they can take alive they bring to their houses and make a feast of them, and those who are killed they devour at once. They say that man's flesh is so good, that there is nothing like it in the world … In one of the houses we found the neck of a man undergoing the process of cooking in a pot. When they take any boys prisoner they dismember [castrate] them and make use of them until they grow up to manhood, and when they wish to make a feast they kill and eat them, for they say that the flesh of boys and women is good to eat. Three of these boys came fleeing to us, thus mutilated.
Them Caribs be some mighty fine company to keep, Mr. Zoubeir.

      That messy business about the Caribs aside, it really is a bloody shame that Muslims discovered America first. Yeah, that's right: right after he says the Muslims were in America long before Columbus he goes on to write
Now, we are all aware of the grave tragedy that befell the various African people after the discovery of America. Many people from there were forcefully taken from their homes to America, to serve the people who had taken over that land. Black slavery.
Shocking, just shocking! That faithful practitioners of that great religion of peace could enslave their fellow children of the great and merciful Allah … well, just perish the thought. No, really, perish it: that's not what he meant. It was the evil Crusaders (likely at the behest of their more eviler Zionist masters, although he doesn't say so) who discovered and conquered the Americas and shipped thousands of Muslims from West Africa to slave away on the sugar and cotton plantations of America. After all, "Unlike Columbus, they had not come to enslave the populations or plunder the land; they had come to trade and they married among the Natives." These must be those mythical, peace-loving Muslims I keep hearing about. I mean, they couldn't possibly be the Muslims who ran the Muslim slave trading networks in East Africa for a thousand years. Nor could they be the North African Muslims who spent a millennium raiding the Mediterranean coasts of Europe, snatching up as many Christians as they could and carting them away into slavery. And there's no way in Jahannum that it could be those enlightened souls in Saudi Arabia who banished slavery way the hell back in 1962. These were obviously the guys who, after a hard day's work chiseling astro-navigational charts and logarithmic tables, just wanted to sit on the decks in front of their cabanas in al-Jamacia, sipping coffee and checking out all the hot chicks in their tropical-print burqas. Would that the New World were ever so lucky. Allahu Akbar.