A powerful official in Iran asserts famed scientist Albert Einstein converted to Islam.
The claim was made by Ayatollah Mahdavi Kani, head of Imam Sadeq University and the Assembly of Experts in Iran, a powerful organization that is heavily influential in choosing the rogue nation's leaders and policies.
A video, which had gone viral on the Internet, and a translation have been posted on the Azarmehr blog, authored by a Londoner who aims to help establish a secular democracy in Iran.
"Most countries that have adopted [democracy, secularism, nationalism and meritocracy] have been prosperous, why shouldn't our people be one of them?" he asks.
His translation of the ayatollah's comments:
"Einstein wrote something in which he said he had converted to Islam and had become a Shiite Muslim and that he was a disciple of Imam Jafar Sadeq, says so in foreign books. Einstein says 'when I heard about the ascension of the prophet Muhammad' where he had ascended to heavens and come back and the house door was still shaking, a process which was faster than the speed of light. The prophet went quicker than the light that walks, I don't know how much is it? 300,000 km per second! The door knocker was still shaking and the prophet had come back and he had seen all the heavens too. This is the very same relativity movement that Einstein had understood. Similar to what Mullah Sadra had understood before him, a quintessential movement, not a positional movement like crossing the road taking ten minutes, a movement of light or rather a spiritual movement faster than the light moves, Einstein said 'when I heard about the narratives of the prophet Muhammad and that of the Ahle-Beit [prophet's household] I realized they had understood these things way before us."
The blogger addressed the claim about Einstein and Islam several years ago, citing reports of "secret correspondence" between an ayatollah and Einstein that purportedly was being held securely "in a safe box in London."
Israel National News reported the Iranian claimed that Einstein was a follower of eighth century Shiite Imam Jafar al-Sadeq.
Kani, the report said, also claimed that Einstein "got the idea for his Theory of Relativity from Islam."
Einstein, a German-born Jew, was a theoretical physicist who was offered the presidency of the state of Israel in 1952, even though he wasn't a citizen, the report said.
"I am the more distressed over these circumstances because my relationship to the Jewish people has become my strongest human bond, ever since I became fully aware of our precarious situation among the nations of the world," Israel National News reported he said in a 1952 letter.
Islam expert Robert Spencer, on his Jihad Watch blog, commented that outlandish claims of this kind are "how most of the items on those lists of great Muslim inventions are compiled."
The American Enterprise Institute several years ago noted the claim had been put forward by "the grandson of the late Grand Ayatollah Hossein Borujerdi."
"The unnamed grandson's answers are no less remarkable than the question posed. He admits that he has 'no precise and demonstrable proof of Mr. Einstein's conversion to Islam and Shiism,' and stresses that Grand Ayatollah Borujerdi had no direct relationship with Einstein but corresponded through the Iranian scientist Prof. Mahmoud Hessaby, whose alleged relationship with Einstein has never been proven either."
AFI's investigation found that "the grandson also admits that a search into his grandfather's archives has not produced any example of correspondence between Grand Ayatollah Borujerdi and Einstein."
"Ashamed of the fact that Islamic civilization has not managed to produce a single scientist of Einstein's stature in the modern age, Shia News makes a Muslim out of Einstein," AFI said. "In the short term, such acts of self-deception may make the unbearable burden of underdevelopment and backwardness more bearable to the target audience, but deep inside the readers of Shia News know better."