By: Soumadip Dey
Claim: A screenshot of an article shared widely on social media claims that the well-known Irish singer Sinéad O’Connor, who recently converted to Islam, has now converted to Hinduism because she discovered that Muslims don’t drink alcohol.
What Happened: On the 19th of October, 2018, the well known if somewhat controversial Irish singer Sinéad O’Connor announced on Twitter that she had converted to Islam. O’Connor, who is best known for her 1990 hit version of the Prince song ‘Nothing Compares 2 U’, stated that she had changed her name to Shuhada Davitt.
However, soon after the news went international, a number of social media users posted a screenshot from an article on an Irish website that claimed Sinéad O’Connor had further converted to Hinduism, because she found out Muslims don’t drink alcohol,
A great many people also posted this image and narrative on JNU student Shehla Rashid’s Twitter page after tweeted welcoming the singer to the Muslim community.
A fair number of people also pointed out that now Sinead O’Connor has now converted to Hinduism in the comments sections of this tweet as well as on other tweets Shehla Rashid made afterward.
Most people shared this particular article, in the belief that its claim was accurate.
Facts: The screenshots as well as the links in all these various tweets all point to one particular website, Ireland on Craic. This story was indeed published by the website, and it quoted the singer as apparently saying ‘“Did you know those people don’t drink? Why didn’t anyone tell me Muslims don’t drink? I mean seriously, I know I’ve had mental health issues but sweet mother of Jaysus I haven’t gone completely f**king mad.”
However, one look at their website reveals that it is a satirical spoof portal, much like the Onion, though it deals mostly with Irish stories. All of their stories reflect this, with one headline claiming that most pilots are scared of flying, while another described how families were reunited because their internet was not working. Moreover, the About Us section of their website clearly mentions that they produce ‘satirical, comedy, and spoof news’, and they have clearly stated that all the stories on their websites are ‘completely untrue’.
Conclusion: A number of social media users, in their search for a quick retort to Rashid’s perfectly true tweet, failed to do even the most cursory verification, instead themselves posting a false narrative based on a piece of satire from a spoof website simply because it fed into their confirmation bias or because they wanted to embarrass Shehla Rashid. However, they are the ones who ended up facing ridicule online, for tweeting or sharing a satirical article as the truth. As always, we warn people to check what they post beforehand.