Turkey's President Tayyip Erdogan, accompanied by his wife Emine Erdogan, attends the opening ceremony of an imam-hatip school in Ankara November 18, 2014. REUTERS/Umit Bektas
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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday hit back at ridicule of his claim that Islamic explorers discovered the Americas three centuries before Columbus, accusing his Muslim critics of lacking "self-confidence".In an aggressive rebuttal of the criticism heaped in some quarters on his comments, Erdogan also suggested that the purported "discovery" of the Americas by Muslims should be taught in schools.Erdogan, a pious Muslim who has been in power for more than a decade, stirred up controversy on Saturday when he claimed the Americas were discovered by Muslims in the 12th century, nearly three centuries before Christopher Columbus.A tiny minority of Muslim scholars have recently suggested a prior Muslim presence in the Americas, although no pre-Columbian ruin of an Islamic structure has ever been found.
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