Michael Jackson turns to Islam. What then? BY AJAZ UL HAQUE

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According to a report on the website of Arab-Israeli newspaper Panorama Pop star Michael Jackson has officially announced his conversion to Islam.
Mike Tyson did it once. Twice. Thrice perhaps. Princess Diana, they say was inspired by Islam and why not as Dodi might have made her count the blessings. British tabloids would every now and then carry some scoops about her conversion. So has happened with many such fame gods and goddesses whose sketches adorn the trendy garments their fans wave on their bodies. And now the rock star Micheal Jackson � nay � Mikaeel.
He too has turned to Islam many times before, but this time it’s `official’. Good news as he has finally decided to embrace Islam as his way of life. Should it excite Muslims? Why? We are not here to comment on the universal appeal Islam as a religion carries and the way it continues to attract those in search of truth. Of course there is a parallel plot of the story. Conversions have been happening and conversion is a spiritual metamorphosis. Statistics are only for population experts who club people according to the community they belong to thereby reducing religion into a mere denomination. By this logic Jackson’s conversion adds one more to the number making it one billion, twenty million and one.
As reports have it, the singer has gone bankrupt. Who knows this bankruptcy induced frustration too might have spurred him to get a new name with a new religion. (Insolvency makes companies change banners, individuals are too small). Otherwise how could have he thought of buying a new house in Bahrain. Once again, we must hold back our cynicism as we don’t know his can also be a change of heart as no one is born to fathom the innermost secretes of one’s soul. But certain indicators are too obvious to be overlooked. If a Yousuf Youhanna turns Muhammad Yousuf, it might well be after a thorough thinking and study we don’t deny, but ostensibly the conversion seems to be because of the constant loneliness the man must have been experiencing in the team of all Muslims. One cock in the flock of peacocks will always prefer to be a peacock to make his future safer and brighter. May be his religion would have ultimately come in the way towards becoming the captain of the team of an Islamic Republic, so conversion comes handy. Even then, we can’t underrate the spiritual aspect that the man knows, God knows.
Back to Jackson. O yes, his child abuse file is still too fresh to be forgotten. His turning a female too created a great sensation like his turning a Muslim is doing at present. Since religion amuses us more than it stimulates, we are more swept by the cosmetics than by the reality of conversion. In essence, we as Muslims or Hindus or Christians stay same, change always comes from within. Why should someone’s embracing Islam delight us or why should someone’s joining Christianity sadden. Evangelists spend all their energy in hooking people around to add to their bulk. Likewise priests turn a pure message to a game of sophistry where we try to overpower our opponent and wait who wins in the end. That is neither needed, nor desirable. Religion is a choice which even God leaves open. Influences are personal, decision is all based on volition. Extraneous factors can only play their part, but revolution a man experiences from within. Considering all this, Jackson’s latest freak might not be all that funny. But given the profile of the man and the situation that is believed to have lured him to Islam, it appears to be another ice cutter to stave off the boredom of his fans.
For his millions of admirers across the world, it may be a great news. Only pop lovers have a reason go either mad with joy or dead with grief according to the belief they hold about their respective religions. Beyond that, it can’t be taken as a breakthrough, a change at a global level where world famous celebrities are increasingly getting conscious of Islam. The news is a pure sensation that can soon fade out into oblivion.
Of course there have been some serious conversions in the history, but that is a subject of profound study, not fun. What if tomorrow a male turned female turned male again turns back to Christianity after having twice turned to Islam?

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