One of two applications to have the South Pole declared a Muslim holy site by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee is predicted to pass by a large majority despite threat of a walkout by the Norwegian delegation and a hotly contested rivalry between the two claimants.
A joint application submitted by Egyptian, Palestinian, and Syrian committee members claims that the South Pole was discovered by Saladin’s seventh son, Mas’ud, in 1194, a year after his father’s death in Damascus.
A rival petition by Turkish representatives states that the South Pole was discovered instead by an expedition sent by Suleiman the Magnificent in 1540, two years after the capture of Aden in present day Yemen. “Muslim sailors were trading with North America centuries before Columbus, it’s a known fact,” said Yūsuf ibn Haddagan, Head of the Turkish delegation. “The expedition sailed from Istanbul in three ships, and reached the South Pole with a team riding 70 fast camels.”
“These claims are ridiculous. Everyone knows that in December 1911 Roald Amundsen was the first man to reach the South Pole,” said Norwegian representative Thor Hedd. “I will not stand for politically motivated attempts to change history, even by the peaceful Palestinian people who lived in Palestine centuries before the Jews.”
Palestinian Minister of Misinformation, Mahmoud Taqiyya, offered copies of photographs taken on the Mas’ud expedition as well as a diary of the twelfth century polar explorer as historical evidence of the claim that Saladin’s son was first to reach the Pole.
“PHOTOSHOPPED!” charged ibn Haddagan.
“A Turk couldn’t find the South Pole with both hands,” countered Taqiyya, throwing the photos into the air.
“Mas’ud used WAZE, and I can show you a screen shot” replied Haddagan, prompting a tumult in the conference room. When he regained the microphone, he continued “I mean Google Maps, not that Zionist piece of garbage, which was stolen from an engineering student from Ankara by the Mossad anyway…”
The Norwegian delegation was heard to protest that neither photography or GPS was available in the twelfth or fifteenth centuries. Shouted down, they threatened again to walk out of the hearing.
UNESCO has scheduled a vote on the applications next week, along with nominations to declare the Vatican and the Sistine Chapel Muslim holy sites.