Michael Jackson ‘converts to Islam’
14:00 AEST Fri Nov 21 2008
By ninemsn staff
Financially-challenged pop superstar Michael Jackson has converted to Islam, according to reports.
The Sun claims Jackson, 50, donned traditional Islamic garb while pledging allegiance to the Koran in a private ceremony in Los Angeles.
The singer was raised a Jehovah’s Witness and biographers claim the contradiction between the sect’s strict teachings and the sexual activities of Jackson’s father and brothers while on tour contributed to his eccentric character and alleged paedophilic leanings.
It was reported music industry figures and Muslim converts David Wharnsby and Phillip Bubal guided Jackson through his conversion, for which he chose the Islamic name Mikaeel.
1970s pop star Cat Stevens — now known as Yousef Islam — joined the celebrations after the ceremony.
The Sun also claims Jackson now prays in a chapel in the home Hollywood Hills home of Toto keyboard player Steve Porcaro, who composed music on the singer’s top-selling Thriller album.
The reported conversion comes ahead of Jackson’s court appearance next week in an $11 million lawsuit brought by Prince Abdulla Al-Khalif of Bahrain.
The sheik claims he backed the singer in anticipation of a recording contract that was never fulfilled.
Jackson was recently forced to sell his extensive California estate Neverland to pay some of his debts.