Muslims discovered the Americas long before Columbus sailed the ocean blue in 1492, the head of a D.C.-based jihad-linked Islamic lobbying group told a Saudi TV station Dec. 27.
“There are historical accounts according to which the Muslims preceded Columbus, who is said to have discovered the U.S.,” claimed Nihad Awad, the co-founder of the Council on American Islamic Relations.
“Some documents and accounts indicate that Muslim seafarers were the first to reach the U.S., [so] the bottom line is that Islam played a part in the establishment and development of the U.S.,” Awad told the Saudi interviewer, in an interview in a New York studio.
CAIR did not respond to The Daily Caller’s request for an explanation of Awad’s comments, which were recorded by the Middle East Media Research Institute.
Awad’s group bills itself as a “civil rights” group, but five of its former employees have been jailed or deported for terror offenses, and FBI officials refuse to meet Awad because of his ties to jihadi groups, such as Hamas.
Awad’s claim was made during an interview in which he argued that Muslims can settle in the U.S. without violating Islam’s myriad Sharia rules about religion, diet, speech, friendships, work and political loyalty.
“Islam flourishes in an atmosphere of freedom, and [it] spreads freedom, justice, and equality,” he claimed. “Every day I live as an American-Muslim citizen, I rediscover the firm bonds between the humane system that the U.S. created for its people, and the values advocated by Islam,” he claimed.
However, Islam’s Sharia laws curb religious freedom, speech, and political activism, and also subordinate non-Muslims and women to orthodox Muslim men. Sharia is enforced in Saudi Arabia, Iran, much of Afghanistan and increasingly in Egypt, Turkey, Tunisia and Libya, all of which were recently governed by secular laws.
Awad’s claim is part of a broader campaign by Islamist groups to encourage Muslims to settle in the United States and Europe. From 610 to 632, Islam’s founder, Mohammad, reputedly urged his followers to spread Islam by both conquest and emigration.