How Neil Armstrong "became" a Muslim

Among the many rumors circulating in the Islamic world, the claim that Neil Armstrong, the famous Astronaut, has become a Muslim seems to be one that will never die.

Hopefully, the following statement will help to put this claim at rest. Neil Armstrong participated in the Global Leadership Forum in Malaysia on 6 September 2005. The Star Malaysia, currently the most widely read English newspaper in Malaysia, took the occasion to interview him on his moon landing mission with Apollo 11. In the article, Armstrong recalls moon landing, published on 7 September 2005, both in print and online, one finds this statement:

Armstrong, 75, also denied he had heard the Muslim call to prayer on the moon and had converted to Islam.

The rest of this article, originally written in 1996 and updated a couple of times since then, documents the reasons why anyone would even ask Neil Armstrong such an odd question, and explains the necessity for clarifying this issue.

Mid November 1996 the following report reached us:

[Obviously the reference was supposed to be in regard to Neil Armstrong, the astronaut, not Louis Armstrong, the Jazz musician.]

This rumor also surfaces every other month or so on the Islamic newsgroup, examples of one of the more recent appearances:

Here two postings on the newsgroup soc.religion.islam in response to the question and statement by Muslims at least informed that it is a rumor, ... yet Gilberto reporting on some other rumor he heard on how the original rumor might have started (rumors about rumors, getting ever more complicated):


In the following some statements about this issue, authorised by Mr. Armstrong, to speak on his behalf.

Comments: In our possession is a photocopy of this letter which is identical in text to the above, except that the street address and phone number of Mr. Armstrong contained in that copy are deleted. The above also shows where this idea came from, that Mr. Armstrong supposedly lives in Lebanon. Yes, Lebanon is true, yet this "Lebanon" is not in the Middle East, but in the Midwest of the United States of America.

A statement by the US State Department sent to all embassies and consulates in the Islamic world:

Click here to view the scanned photocopy of this above note from the US State Department.

Furthermore, the following letter to the editor was printed in the Journal Arabia, The Islamic World Review, Issue June 1985/Ramadan 1405, page 5:

Click here for a scanned image of this page in Arabia.

Sadly, as documented above, this rumor still goes round and round in the Islamic world, over a decade after it has been denied over and over again. Not only in mouth to mouth propaganda but it is even spread by Muslim radio stations.

Yet even when the Muslims tell their brothers that it is a false rumor, they are not convinced, the newest newsgroup tidbit is

Is this rumor ever going to die? My question to Farzad would be (as to all others who spread the rumor): Were you there when he prayed in this masjid? -- No? Thought so.

Response the above: [Complaint], [Response]

But never shall they be satisfied ...

Anyway, this person gives at least some references for the rumors.

Without making any own claim as to its veracity:
The Jerusalem Christian Review (Volume 9, Issue 4) reports about a visit by Neil Armstrong as being a devout (Christian) believer (with more details in the full story).

Somebody sent me this response:

By the way, I heard from an authoritative source that Sheikh Omar Abdul Rahman has just announced that he has become an astronaut!

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