|If you have found this page through a search engine, here is what you need to know: BILL GATES DID NOT CONVERT TO ISLAM. He is not a Muslim. The Christian Science Monitor did not publish that article. The entire story is a HOAX. It was not even a Jewish or Crusader plot; it was perpetrated by a Muslim website as a joke with Muslims as the intended audience.|
It reputedly started as an April Fools’ joke on secularkuwait.org, and then spread though message boards throughout the Arab Middle East and in the Islamic immigrant communities in the West. By an unfortunate (or serendipitous?) coincidence of keywords, Gates of Vienna became a major target of google searches on “Bill Gates Islam” and similar phrases — “Bill” from “Bill’s Comments” in our blogroll, “Gates” from our blog title, and “Islam” from innumerable posts. The meme created by the hoax proved to be tenacious, and (despite my best efforts), the debunking of the hoax never made it into the MSM or the major blogs. Neither about.com Urban Legends nor Snopes ever picked it up, so the gullible continued to search for “Bill Gates Muslim” and thus continued to wash up against the Gates of Vienna. For a couple of weeks in April, more than half of our (admittedly meager) traffic came from such referrals.
The initial surge has slowed, but a steady trickle of search engine referrals keeps coming in even now. Over the July 4th weekend the “Bill Gates”-related searches were as follows:
|bill gates and islam||Canada|
|bill gates and islam||Jordan|
|bill gates islam||Arab Emirates|
|bill gates islam||Europe (2)|
|bill gates jew||Sweden (2)|
|bill gates jew religion||Australia|
|bill gates muslim convert||UK|
|bill gates converted to islam||Europe|
|bill gates converts to islam||Europe|
|bill gates converts to islam||Saudi Arabia|
|bill gates islam||Albania|
|bill gates islam||Egypt|
|bill gates islam||Europe|
|bill gates islam||Saudi Arabia|
|ryach “christian science monitor” bill gates||Saudi Arabia|
That makes for 17 referrals out of about 1,500 hits during that time, or somewhat over 1% of our traffic.
So the meme will not die. The idea of Bill Gates converting to Islam must be attractive to Muslims because he is a rich and powerful American, emblematic of the Internet Age. There also seems to be an assumption that he converted from Judaism to Islam; presumably, since he is a rich infidel, he must have been a Jew!
Make of it what you will; in a few months I will report back on the latest status of the hoax.
In the meantime, this post, with its surfeit of the most popular search phrases, will catch most of the faithful looking for information on this topic. One hopes they will read the intial notice, and help stop the spread of this disinformation.