James Holmes, the alleged Aurora, Colorado, movie theater shooter, has reportedly converted to Islam while in jail. Emphasis on reportedly.
Holmes’ rumored religious conversion has been widely rumored, yet scrutinized by some media sources, citing a lack of credible evidence.
The Daily Mail first ran with the story that Holmes converted to Islam in jail and is now a dedicated Muslim who prays five times a day.
The newspaper received the tip from a prison source, who noted Holmes’ beard, in his most recent court appearance, as evidence of his conversion.
“He has brainwashed himself into believing that he was on his own personal jihad and that his victims were infidels,” the source said of Holmes.
He now abides by a Muslim diet and studies the Quran, supposedly.
The prison source said other Muslim inmates are not happy, given that “They don’t want their religion to be connected to that awful shooting.”
Questions about Holmes’ conversion to Islam started circulating once the Washington Times published the story, with Salon offering heavy scruntiny.
The site discusses the questionable sourcing, noting the unnamed prison source as a problem, as well as the Daily Mail’s history of false reports.
Salon’s main point was that people just ran the rumor as fact:
“It’s entirely possible that Holmes has converted to Islam, and even that he brainwashed himself into ex-post-facto justifying his killing,” the site says.
Yet while “James Holmes is severely disturbed, by all accounts, and could delude himself into thinking anything,” ties to Islam are far from established.
Salon contends that Islam itself has become the story here:
“If Holmes suddenly became a devout Pentecostal or Hindu in prison, would bloggers be connecting the religion to the shooting in the way they are now?”