Fact Check Validated

FACT CHECK: No, Sunita Williams Hasn’t Converted To Islam

Sunita Williams
Sunita Williams

WHAT’S HAPPENING?

The social media buzz is about an Indian origin astronaut is heard to have accepted and converted to Islam. Sunita Williams, who happens to have a fine timeline of great work, is brought into the rumor by a common facebook user M Rahman.

THE CLAIM

Amidst all the communal conflicts A user on facebook named M Rahman posted a video on facebook and claimed that Indian Astronaut Sunita Williams decided to convert into Islam.
The caption and the video text is in the Bengali language.
the translation reveals,

“This is why Sunita Williams accepted Islam right after returning from space.”

Till the time of reporting this story, the video had around 105,000 views and approximately 5,700 shares. Here’s is the video.

THE TRUTH

GOVT fact check theme found the claims false as the research on the internet brought various factors which represent the accusations wrong.
The google search engine on keywords SUNITA WILLIAMS CONVERTED TO ISLAM showed several articles. Most of the information claimed or covered false accusations, or the headlines were clearly stating the open-ended case.

We came across an interview with Williams from 2010 in the lifestyle magazine. During the interview, she was asked: “Are rumors that you converted to Islam after seeing the lights of Mecca and Medina from space true?”

To this, the Astronaut replied, “I don’t know where that started. It’s not like I mind and I don’t have favoritism for any religion. But my dad is Hindu, and I grew up trying to understand, what Krishna, Ram, and Sita mean. My mother is Christian, so then, what does Jesus mean? Me personally – not something to do with NASA – I do think there is a God and it’s somebody looking out for us and trying to guide us to live a very happy, productive life. There is further meaning. That’s just my thought.”

The articles mentioned that the fine interview was taken a just after she returned from space – the time mentioned in the viral post.

The other event after her return from space dated back on April 2, 2013, , Sunita Williams in a press conference had said she carried a small statue of Lord Ganesha with her.

In an interview to India TV, she repeated the same thing. She added, “There are many things to do in space. I didn’t always find time to read the Gita or Upanishads. But I used to read them at night sometimes.”

AFWA has found that this claim has been doing the rounds on social media since 2008. A Pakistani blog had then made this blatantly false claim. The archived version of the post can be seen here.

CONCLUSION

It is safe to say that Sunita Williams has not converted to Islam. This rumor has been spread time and again on social media.

 

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