Coronavirus propels legendary Austrian MMA fighter to embrace Islam

Legendary Austrian Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighter Wilhelm Ott has converted to Islam, saying that the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis propelled him to find his “true faith.”

On an Instagram post, 37-year-old Ott proudly announced that he had become Muslim by reciting the Shahada, the Islamic proclamation of faith and also one of the five pillars of Islam, affirming of oneness of God and acknowledging Muhammad as His messenger.

“The corona crisis has given me the necessary rest to find my faith. My faith is now strong enough that I can recognize the one true God and recite the Shahada to be able to say proudly, yes I am a Muslim,” he wrote.

“I let myself be influenced politically. But when going through hard times, the Islamic faith gave me the necessary strength,” he added.

Ott, saying that he had been researching Islam for years, also expressed his gratitude and pleasure regarding positive reactions from his fans and the Muslim communities that have articulated their support for the boxer.

“I am speechless regarding this positive response. It wasn’t my intention that it would be such a big deal. I actually posted it because people around me and friends know about it,” he continued, thanking Burak Kizilirmak, a fellow Turkish MMA fighter, for gifting him the Quran, the Muslim holy book, and a prayer mat.

The coronavirus disease that was first detected in Wuhan, China late last year has spread to 185 countries and regions. It has killed more than 165,000 people and infected over 2.4 million. The U.S. is the worst-affected country with nearly 760,000 people testing positive, and 40,000-plus dying.

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