Michael Jackson converts to Islam - report

Changes names to Mikaeel after ceremony in Los Angeles, says British tabloid.
By Arabian Business staff writer
Sun 23 Nov 2008 02:39 AM

US pop singer Michael Jackson has converted to Islam and changed his name to Mikaeel, British tabloid The Sun has reported.

The news comes days before the financially troubled Jackson, 50, is due in a London court to give evidence in a case brought against him by the Crown Prince of Bahrain, Sheikh Abdulla bin Hamad Al-Khalifa.

The singer, who was raised as a Jehovah's Witness, converted to Islam in a ceremony at a friend's house in Los Angeles, the paper reported.

He is said to have sat on the floor and worn a small hat while an imam officiated, it said, he was recording an album at the home of Steve Porcaro, a keyboard player who composed music on his Thriller album.

The former Jackson 5 star was counselled by David Wharnsby, a Canadian songwriter, and Phillip Bubal, a producer, who have both converted to Islam, it added.

A source said Jackson had appeared a "bit down" and added: "They began talking to him about their beliefs, and how they thought they had become better people after they converted. Michael soon began warming to the idea."

His brother Jermaine, now known as Jermaine Friday, became a Muslim in 1989 and is reported to have last year that his brother would convert having taken an interest in Islam since his conversion.

Youssef Islam, formerly known as Cat Stephens, was also involved in Jackson's post-conversion celebrations, the Sun added.

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