Wednesday, October 4, 2023

The claim that US priest Father Hilarion Heagy converted to Islam is true 

Recently, an information titled “US Priest Father Hilarion Heagy Converts to Islam” has been reported on social media and media.

The Claim in brief

Facebook posts claim that America’s top priest, Father Hilarion Heagy, has converted to Islam.

Screenshot source: Facebook

See some such posts here (archive), here (archive) and here (archive).

Fact Check 

According to the Rumor Scanner investigation, The claim that US priest Father Hilarion Heagy converted to Islam is true. He accepted Islam in November last year.

At the beginning of the investigation, we searched for relevant keywords to find out whether any news was published in the international media and found the same information in some media (এই সময়, Zee News, Iqna, Dhaka Mail) of different countries.

Screenshot source: Zee News

Next we found a blog post published on February 22 on the website of the American religious organization ‘Catholic’. Catholic publishing director Todd Aglialoro’s blog cites Heagy’s Medium account to discuss the facts.

Screenshot source: Catholic

In a article published on February 28 in another American Christian news website, The Christian Post, Hilarion Heagyi’s conversion to Islam came from several posts on the Medium account.

The article refers to a post published on February 24 on the Facebook page of the US Christian monastery ‘Holy Transfiguration Monastery’. The post says, “He (Hilarion Heagyi) recently revealed via social media that he has been interested in the Sufi tradition of Islam since 20 years ago.”

Screenshot source: Facebook 

That is, a medium account has been used as the source of all discussion of Hilarion Haigh’s conversion to Islam. 

What’s in that Medium account?

Upon investigation we found Hilarion Heagy’s account on Medium. However, the name of the account is not Hilarion Heagy, it is called Said Abdul Latif. 

Opened in April 2022, the ‘About’ section of this account reveals that Heagy aka Syed Abdul Latif has recently converted to Islam. 

Screenshot source: Medium 

By monitoring Abdul Latif’s Medium account on the morning of March 1, he has posted 10 blog posts on the account so far.

In his first blog published on October 02 last year (2022), he wrote, “Who am I? I am currently a priest in the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. A ‘traditional’ priest. Perhaps you can say ‘Traditionalist’, yet that term has some unwelcome connotations and baggage. At the moment, I am on a sort of semi-private leave while the practical arrangements of my move to Islam are made final.”

Screenshot source: Medium 

Mr. Abdul Latif has described the background of his interest in the path of Islam in his blog. He studied Buddhism, learned about Jalaluddin Rumi and got an idea of ​​Sufism. He had the opportunity to learn about Islam in his childhood. He wrote in his blog that he got the basic knowledge about the main principles or pillars of Islam. The issue of terrorist attacks in the United States on September 11, 2001 is also mentioned in his writings. 

Abdul Latif wanted to become a Muslim in 2003. Wrote, “I saw the beauty of it (Islam). The depth. The truth of it. I spoke with the Imam about conversion. I hung out at the local Islamic Center. I made Muslim friends. It was a beautiful and joyful moment. But I didn’t convert. At the time, I was too fearful of such a conversion.”

Screenshot source: Medium

Behind his fear, he brought forward the thoughts of his parents, family and society in the same blog. 

Mr. Abdul Latif published a second part of the same article on October 05, where he mentioned that he had a ‘love-hate relationship’ with Islam from 2010 to 2018. He was worried about the war in different countries at this time.

He published the third part of the same article on January 10.

But before this, in another blog post titled ‘Heading East’ published on December 27, he wrote, “In order to begin my new life as a Muslim, I felt it important to head back east — to go home — to the place where my journey into Islam began some twenty years ago at a little Islamic center in a university town in the rust belt of Appalachia.”

Screenshot source: Medium 

Abdul Latif wrote in his blog,”  begins my first baby steps into the Ummah. Arriving back east with no home. Little money. Just my old Ford, a bunch of books, and the clothes on my back. Hardly knowing a lick of Arabic.” 

Abdul Latif noted that the warmth and hospitality he received from the Muslim community was extraordinary. He had never experienced such hospitality. His future is uncertain but he still feels at peace. 

He wrote, “My pull towards Islam over twenty years has finally led me home. Now begins the work of entering deeper into the faith. A deeper learning. A love for the Deen. A love for the Ummah. A love for the Prophet ﷺ”

Screenshot source: Medium 

Discussions about Abdul Latif’s conversion to Islam started after his latest blog post. In a post published on February 20, he wrote, “Since news of my embrace of Islam has now officially gone public, my message inbox has been jammed full and my phone has been ringing off the hook.”

Screenshot source: Medium 

In the blog he lists some of the sources that influenced him to convert to Islam. 

That is, by observing the medium account of Said Abdul Latif, it is known that he has embraced Islam and the matter has come to light recently.

Looking for different sources

Regarding the conversion to Islam of Father Hilarion Heagy alias Said Al Latif, we found a report published on April 20, 2019 on the website of the US organization ‘Crux’ about the Vatican and the Catholic Church, which included a picture of Heagy. 

According to the photo’s caption, Heagy was associated with a monastery called “Holy Resurrection Monastery” at the time.

Screenshot source: Crux

A report on Heagy’s conversion to Islam on the website of the Middle East-based news organization ‘The Middle East Monitor (MEMO)‘ also mentions the matter of the monastery. 

According to the report dated February 26, Heagy graduated from Holy Resurrection Monastery to become a Byzantine Catholic priest.

Screenshot source: The Middle East Monitor

Upon investigation we found a post published today March 1 on the Facebook page of ‘Holy Resurrection Monastery’, which stated, “We are currently praying for Troy (Fr. Hilarion) Heagy who recently apostatized.”

Screenshot source: Facebook 

That is, Heagy’s conversion to Islam is also known from different sources. 

What is Said Abdul Latif saying?

The Rumor Scanner team contacted Father Hilarion Heagy aka Daid Abdul Latif to find out about his conversion to Islam. He told Rumor Scanner at noon today (March 1) that his conversion to Islam is true. 

Abdul said that he has recently brought the matter public. However, he has been secretly on the path of Islam since November. 

That is, Father Hilarion Heagy himself confirmed that he had accepted Islam. 

We have found multiple pages (see 1, 2, 3) on Facebook under Abdul Latif’s former name ‘Hilarion Heagy’.

Screenshot source: Facebook 

When asked about this, Abdul Latif told Rumor Scanner, “I don’t have any other social media accounts except Medium. I have told people to report any account using my name.”

Bottom Line

Recently, information about US priest Father Hilarion Heagy has accepted Islam spread on the internet. In view of this, the investigation shows that the claim is true. After accepting Islam, his current name is Said Abdul Latif. He himself confirmed his conversion to Islam to Rumor Scanner.

So, The claim that US priest Father Hilarion Heagy converted to Islam is true.


RS Team
RS Team
Rumor Scanner Fact-Check Team
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