A screenshot of a newspaper article is being shared on social media claiming that an 87-year-old Spanish Catholic priest living in Indonesia has converted to Islam after being in a coma for 17 months. The article reported that the priest after waking up from coma claimed that Allah had spoken to him and showed him the beauty of the heavens. Let’s verify the claim made in the post.
Claim: News story about a Catholic priest who converted to Islam after being in coma for 17 months.
Fact: The story reported in the article originated from a satirical story published on the ‘World News Daily Report’ website. It is not a real incident. In the disclaimer section, the ‘World News Daily Report’ website described itself as a satirical website that publishes fictional content. Hence, the claim made in the post is FALSE.
When we searched to check the veracity of the story using relevant keywords, we found a tweet made by the ‘Utusan Online’ news website, related to this story of a Catholic priest who converted to Islam after being in a coma for 17 months. ‘Utusan Online’ through the tweet confirmed that the report of a priest embracing Islam after waking up from coma is a fake story. In the tweet, ‘Utusan Online’ shared a link to their clarification article related to this story. This article reported that the news report quoted from the ‘World News Daily Report’ website about a Catholic priest converting to Islam after 17 months of being in a coma is untrue.
When we searched for further details using these keywords, we found the original article published on the ‘World News Daily Report’ website. According to the article, the priest suffered a cardiac arrest while helping local volunteers fix the roof of his church and fell from an incredible two-storey building. This article reported that the priest had managed to survive and came out of his coma, in brittle shape, yet a changed man.
The ‘World News Daily Report’ provided a disclaimer in the ‘About us’ section of their website that states, “World News Daily Report assumes all responsibility for the satirical nature of its articles and for the fictional nature of their content. All characters appearing in the articles in this website – even those based on real people – are entirely fictional and any resemblance between them and any person, living, dead or undead, is purely a miracle”. So, this implies that the story of a Catholic priest converting to Islam after waking up from a coma is also a satirical story.
In 2006, Victor Fenter, a Catholic Priest from the US has converted to Islam after being influenced by the 13th-century Islamic scholar, poet, and Sufi mystic Mevlana Jalaluddin al-Rumi. Before converting to Islam, Fenter used to teach religion classes at US Universities for a decade. After learning about Rumi and Islam, Fenter was very much impressed with the stories, the Sufi dance and the spiritual atmospheres during the ceremonies and converted to Islam. He has also changed his name to Ismail and started living in Konya, Turkey. But the story shared in the post is fictional and was taken from the ‘World News Daily Report’ satirical website.
To sum it up, this story of a Catholic priest converting to Islam after being in coma for 17 months is a satirical one.