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LONDON, Nov 21 –Michael Jackson has become a Muslim – and changed his name to Mikaeel. The skint superstar, 50, donned Islamic garb to pledge allegiance to the Quran in a ceremony at a pal’s mansion in Los Angeles.
Jackson sat on the floor wearing a tiny hat after an Imam was summoned to officiate.
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 ceremony took place while Jackson, 50, was recording an album at the home of Steve Porcaro, a keyboard player who composed music on his Thriller album.
The star – whose hits include “The Way You Make Me Feel” – was spotted looking “a bit down” by a producer and a songwriter who had both embraced Islam.
The source said: “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.
“An imam was summoned from the mosque and Michael went through the shahada, which is the Muslim declaration of belief.”
Mikaeel is the name of one of Allah’s angels.
“Jackson rejected an alternative name, Mustafa – meaning ‘the chosen one’”.
British singer Yousef Islam, 60 – who was called Cat Stevens until he famously converted – turned up to help Jackson celebrate.
It was his pals David Wharnsby – a Canadian songwriter – and producer Phillip Bubal who counselled Jackson.
The pair’s new names are Dawud Wharnsby Ali and Idris Phillips.
Jackson now prays to Mecca after the ceremony at the Hollywood Hills home of Toto keyboard player Steve Porcaro, 51, who composed music on the singer’s Thriller album.
Last year his brother, Jermaine Friday, suggested Jackson would convert having taken an interest in Islam since Friday’s conversion in 1989.“When I came back from Mecca I got him a lot of books and he asked me lots of things about my religion and I told him that it’s peaceful and beautiful,” said Friday.“He read everything and he was proud of me that I found something that would give me inner strength and peace.
“I think it is most probable that Michael will convert to Islam.“He could do so much, just like I am trying to do. Michael and I and the word of God, we could do so much.”