At the Museum of Hoaxes site, commenter Arabian has translated the mysterious page from the Arabic. He says, “This hoax has been doing the rounds of Islamic forums for a month. I’ll try to translate the Arabic page you posted (I’m bored:- ))”:
|—- Anwar Tunis No 213, Thusday 10 February 2005 —-|
|At the center of shock and condemnation in the centers of American Science|
|THE EMPEROR OF WORLD COMPUTING AND SOFTWARE BILL GATES..CONVERTS TO ISLAM|
|al-Habib Sadiq al-Zeen- Washington|
|“I have gained everything..money..leadership..science but all my life I have been looking for something that’s missing..this is the peace of mind I have found in Islam”|
|This is how Bill Gates started his speak in a party in his honour organized by the American society for the homeless and the dispossessed RYACH in New York on the 5th of this month.|
|And this is how the emperor of computer building Bill Gates suprised those present with news that shocked them and stunned them all. And the American journal Christian Science Monitor, which broke the story, mentioned that with this speech Bill Gates put a stop to the speculation concerning his frequent repeated visits to American Muslims such as the American Muslim Louis Farhan.|
|The journal also asks: “Will Bill gates aim his future software to aid Islam?” The mentioned journal also notes that Gates explained to its journalist that the attacks of 11 September 2001 were a turning point in his life, which made him turn his attention to the study of Islam and understanding Islamic thinkers which in turn convinced him that Islam was the religion he has been searching for.|
|Moreover, several scientific communities in the united states condemned the speech of Gates and the Eisenhower center for software development in Chicago issued a statement in which the petitioners state that scientific progress in recent times was nothing but the result of the separation of religion from science, hoping that this new direction of Gates does not affect the future production of software.|
|But will we as Muslims benefit from the conversion of an important identity such as Bill gates? We hope so..|
This is quite a perplexing hoax: I googled eight different ways on the keywords involved and still can’t find any indications of an event used as the basis of the post. Apparently the hoaxer made it up out of whole cloth.
But where is Snopes on Gates-gate? When I search there, I still get: “Sorry, no matches were found containing bill gates islam.”
Not wanting to post any additional keywords to our blog and thus draw in even more searchers, I hereby abandon this topic. Unless, of course, any more interesting or amusing information turns up.
(Previous posts on this topic are here and here.)
4/14/05 Update: An entertaining variant on one of the searches came in this morning: “bill gates” jew islam. Did the searcher assume Bill Gates was Jewish because he is rich?
Microsoft Logs all of Bill Gates speeches on the MS website. No mention of any speech on the day in question. Must have been a secret speech held in a cave where he revealed this devine revelation. If you get my drift 😉
Or another possibility — one of Bill Gates’ android replicas actually gave the speech.
Maybe Steve Jobs hacked into the droid’s software… 😉
Of course the real question is how believable was this to the intended audience? To us it is a joke, but to them? They have no cultural referents to work from in determining its truth or falsity. However, it may also be that to them, who cares? Survival is more important.
Bill, I don’t know — the whole thing is mystifying to me. I submitted it to Snopes and about.com Urban Legends, and I hope that someone with more time and expertise than me will track the thing to its origins.