Friday, July 2, 2010

Michael Jackson Would Have Been Saved by Islam, Brother Says

Taken from here.

In an interview marking the first anniversary of Michael Jackson's death, one of his older brothers, Jermaine Jackson, said the pop icon would still be alive if he had converted to Islam, as Jermaine had long urged him to do.

"I felt that if Michael would have embraced Islam he would still be here today and I say that for many reasons," Jermaine Jackson, who is a Muslim, told BBC World Service radio.

"Why? Because when you are 100 percent clear in your mind as to who you are, and what you are, and why you are and everybody around you, then things change in a way that's better for you. It's just having that strength."

The elder Jackson added that some of that strength came from the Muslim security staff around MJ, chosen by the singer because of their faith:

"All of his security became Muslims because he trusted Islam, because these are people who would lay their lives down and also who were trying to be the best kind of human beings they could possibly be not for Michael Jackson, for Allah," Jermaine said. "So having those people around, you knew that you would be protected because it is protection from God," he added.

All of the Jacksons' were raised as Jehovah's Witnesses, and as they became famous and wealthy they also became generous supporters of the denomination, which is popular among African Americans. Yet as Michael Jackson's woes and weirdness increased, there were reports that he was "disfellowshipped," or effectively excommunicated.

Jackson was interested in many religions and practices; one of his close friends was the Orthodox rabbi and well-known personality, Shmuley Boteach. And Jackson had been photographed wearing a traditional Arab women's veil.

But in recent years, Jermaine Jackson and others apparently pressed Michael to convert to Islam; the elder Jackson said again in his BBC interview that he brought Michael books on Islam from Saudi Arabia and was the one who convinced him, near the end of his life, to move to Bahrain "because I wanted him to get out of America because it was having a cherry-picking time on my brother."

There was at least one report, in 2008, that he had done so and changed his name to "Mikaeel." But according to Jermaine Jackson, that may not have been a thorough conversion.

For a fuller sense of Michael Jackson's spiritual outlook, read a 2000 column that he penned for Beliefnet at the behest of his friend, Rabbi Boteach, titled "My Childhood, My Sabbath, My Freedom."
"More than anything, I wished to be a normal little boy. I wanted to build tree houses and go to roller-skating parties. But very early on, this became impossible. I had to accept that my childhood would be different than most others. But that's what always made me wonder what an ordinary childhood would be like."

"There was one day a week, however, that I was able to escape the stages of Hollywood and the crowds of the concert hall. That day was the Sabbath..."

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