(Columbus Dispatch) At the entrance to the National Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City is an inscription that includes the following declaration: "Valor and confidence to face the future is found by people in the grandeur of their past."
Many popular misconceptions of the past are based on fabrications of ancient grandeur that became popular because they appeared to fulfill this role for various nations, religions or classes of people.
Richard Francaviglia, an adjunct professor of religious studies at Willamette University in Salem, Ore., argues that claims about pre-Columbian Muslims in the Americas, which have become increasingly popular since 9/11, provide a sense of ethnic pride for some contemporary Muslims. In an article in the current issue of the journal Terrae Incognitae, he writes, "The once seemingly esoteric subject of pre-Columbian Muslim exploration of the New World is now front and center in the so-called 'Culture Wars' of the early 21st century."
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