The viral claim that Sunita Williams converted to Islam after seeing the lights of Mecca and Medina from space is false. In a press conference, she had accepted that she carried a statue of Lord Ganesha with her.
On July 27, Facebook page M Rahman shared a video explaining why Sunita Williams decided to accept Islam. Sharing the video, he writes in Bengali, which can be roughly translated to "This is why Sunita Williams accepted Islam right after returning from space".
You can watch the video here:
When we searched for relevant information, we found that the claim is viral since 2008 when a Pakistani blog had posted this claim.
Sunita Williams ( First Indian woman who went on a space journey few months back) accepted “ISLAM” Masha Allah, bcoz when they were on the moon, they saw towards EARTH, the entire EARTH looked dark, but 2 places on the EARTH GLITERED & looked like SPARKS (Roshni). They were shocked to see that and saw them with the help of telescope and came to know that those two places were “MAKKAH” and “MADINAH” Masha Allah!. Then they decided that after reaching to earth they’ll accept “ISLAM”. So be proud u’r a muslim. Allah Hafiz…!
In an interview of Sunita Williams in 2010 with the lifestyle magazine Condé Nast, she was asked: "Are rumours that you converted to Islam after seeing the lights of Mecca and Medina from space true?" To this she 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 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.
On April 2, 2013, in a press conference after returning from space, Sunita Williams 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."
Conclusion: The viral claim that Sunita Williams converted to Islam after seeing the lights of Mecca and Medina from space is false. In a press conference, she had accepted that she carried a statue of Lord Ganesha with her.
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