Did Neil Armstrong convert to Islam, hear Azaan on moon? Ex-Okhla resident has the answer
OT, August 27, 2012 13:50 IST
US astronaut Neil Armstrong, the first person to land on the moon on July 20, 1969, has died at the age of 82. With his death, rumour once again has raised its head. The story making the rounds in Egypt, Malaysia and Indonesia is that after having a religious experience on the moon, Armstrong, who was called a “recluse’s recluse” by Dave Garrett, a former NASA spokesman, converted to Islam.
As reports started surfacing in the media about his death, the rumour spread on social networking site this time around with some Muslim users writing that Armstrong died a Muslim.
However the fact is otherwise.
A journalist, who once resided in Ghaffar Manzil in Okhla, laughed at the rumour. Maqbool Ahmed Siraj, who is now based in Bangalore, told OKHLA TIMES over phone that there is no truth in the story.
In 1983 when the rumour in India was strong that Armstrong had converted to Islam and on the moon he had heard the azaan, M Siraj, who then was India correspondent of a London-based Arabia magazine, wrote a letter to Neil Armstrong to know the real story.
In a few days he got a reply (a letter) – also in possession of OKHLA TIMES – signed by Armstrong’s administrative aide Vivian White.
“Mr Armstong has asked me to reply to your letter and to thank you for the courtesy of your inquiry. The reports of his conversion to Islam and of hearing the voice of Azaan on the moon and elsewhere are all untrue.
“Several publications in Malaysia, Indonesia and other countries have published these reports without verification. We apologize for any inconvenience that this incompetent journalism may have caused you,” read the letter.
At the end it was mentioned: “Also, Armstrong recently held a telephone-press conference with the Indian press, regarding this matter.”
Despite Armstrong’s letter, the rumour about his conversion has yet not died.
Born August 5, 1930, in Wapakoneta, Ohio, Armstrong had undergone heart-bypass surgery earlier this month and died following its complications, according to a statement issued by his family.
Armstrong, a very private man, had become an iconic figure after he set foot on the moon as commander of the Apollo 11 mission. He was 38 years old at that time.
His death was mourned all over the world. American president Barack Obama said that Armstrong “was among the greatest of American heroes – not just of his time, but of all time. ...
“Today, Neil's spirit of discovery lives on in all the men and women who have devoted their lives to exploring the unknown - including those who are ensuring that we reach higher and go further in space. That legacy will endure - sparked by a man who taught us the enormous power of one small step.”
His family said as Reuters quoted: “We are heartbroken to share the news that Neil Armstrong has passed away. Neil was our loving husband, father, grandfather, brother and friend. The next time you walk outside on a clear night and see the moon smiling down at you, think of Neil Armstrong and give him a wink.”
Photo caption: The historic letter sent by Armstrong's administrative aide Vivian White to senior journalist M Siraj
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