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By Dr. Jerald F. Dirks. Muslims in American History: A Forgotten Legacy confronts the prevalent myth that Islam in America is a relatively recent phenomenon. In reality, there is centuries long history of the Muslim presence in America, which is all too often overlooked or misidentified. Written documentation, linguistic evidence, and reports of early Spanish explorers of the New World suggest Muslim contact with the Americas prior to Columbus. Muslims and Moriscos sailed with Columbus and were part of many of the Spanish explorations of the New World.