Sunita Williams Converted to Islam After Trip to Moon: Fact Check


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Image about Sunita Williams Converted to Islam After Trip to Moon
Sunita Williams Converted to Islam After Trip to Moon

Story:

Indian-American Astronaut Sunita Williams Converted to Islam After Trip to Moon

Other Versions

Sunita Williams Embraced Islam after coming back from Space

(Hindi)
नासा ऐस्ट्रनॉट सुनीता विलियम्स ने इस्लाम अपनाया

Fact Check:

Various messages doing rounds online since many years claim popular Indian-American Astronaut Sunita Williams Converted to Islam after Trip to Moon. Some versions also say she embraced Islam after seeing the lights of Mecca and Medina from Space. No, the claims are not true.

Image of Sunita Williams, American astronaut of Indo-Slovenian descent
Sunita Williams, American astronaut of Indo-Slovenian descent

About Sunita Williams and Islam Conversion Claims

Sunita Williams is an American woman astronaut and United States Navy officer of Indo-Slovenian descent. She is in fact the 2nd Indian descent woman after Kalpana Chawla to fly in Space. Notably, some people confuse her with Kalpana Chawla, who died in Space Shuttle Columbia disaster in 2003 and mistake she is dead.

Screenshot of claims in an article on a Pakistani blog
Screenshot of claims in an article on a Pakistani blog

The claims about Sunita Williams converting from Hinduism to Islam after visiting Moon appear on various websites, blogs and forums among others. Such messages started circulating online and offline through chain emails and mass SMS messages since at least 2008. Back then a Pakistani blog claimed she converted to Islam after seeing the lights of Mecca and Medina from space. On 25th July 2019, Facebook page Makka Madina = মক্কা মদিনা shared a voice over video claiming to explain same in Bengali language. The Facebook post garnered hundreds of thousands of views as of this writing.

Longstanding Rumor

Firstly, NASA astronaut Sunita Williams was a member of Space Expeditions 14 and 15 to International Space Station (ISS) in December 2006 and November 2012. Like the stories in question suggest, she did not visit or land on Moon. In her first visit to space in 2006, Sunita Williams carried a copy of Hindu sacred book Bhagavad Gita, a small statue of Lord Ganesh and her father’s letter written in Hindi. Besides, she also carried some Samosas in a special container. Responding to the popular question of Islam conversion in a 2010 interview, Sunita Williams clarified the rumor:

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 means? 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.

So, the claims saying Sunita Williams converted to Islam after trip to Moon/Space are just hoaxes. Nonetheless, the false stories keep surfacing online again and again.

Hoax or Fact:

Hoax.


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75
16 shares, 75 points
Prashanth Damarla
Debunker

One Comment

  1. Hello there debunker. As Indonesian, this kind of hoaxes is not a surprise to me. I used to believe those things since there’s no way to prove any of them. But now, we have internet. This is one of the most disgusting form of lies, Imo.

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