EXCLUSIVE: 30 WORLD FAMOUS CELEBRITIES THAT EMBRACED ISLAM compiled by Abdur Rasheed Abubakar, Abdul-Kabir Kuye & Akanji Muh’d Jamiu
Seeing young people trooping into the religion of Islam nowadays is very astonishing! Despite the negative portrayal of the religion of peace as violent and the unfortunate events enveloped the world, young men and women could be determined and openly declared shahada (testimony of faith in oneness of Allah and the Messengership of Prophet Muhammad [SAW]) and embraced Islam.
This was the feeling on Friday, January 4, 2013 at the popular Syrian Mosque, Falomo, Lagos when two gentlemen declared, La ilaha illa-l-llah, Muhammad rasulu-l-Lah, before the congregation who waited to witness the ritual after solatul Jum’ah. It was indeed a memorable day and manifestation of Allah’s words as established in the glorious Qur’an.
“When there comes the Help of Allah (to you, O Muhammad [SAW] against your enemies) and the Conquest (of Mekkah). And you see that the people enter Allah’s religion (Islam) in crowds...” Q. 110: 1-2
AL-FAHM’s correspondents were present at the ceremony conducted by the learned and respected Islamic scholar, Imam Muhammad Solih, the Naibul Imam of the Mosque. The converts are identified as Muhammad Yamin and Issa respectively.
In a chat with AL-FAHM, Muhammad Yamin, an indigene of Taraba State with a Christian background said he came in contact with Islam through a friend, who convinced him that Allah is one not three-in-one as they believe in Christianity. Expressing his feelings, he said he felt relieved and happy being a Muslim.
Conversion to Islam is becoming a global trend. Findings have shown that Islam is the fastest growing religion in Europe with conversion rate over 152, 000 people embraced Islam in 2011. With the increase, the UK Daily Mail investigations revealed that Islam is going to dominate many places in USA and Europe in the next years, and is now a fiery revival sweeping much of the planet from Africa to Asia to Latin America to Europe and to USA.
The recent amongst such was the famous American singer, Janet Jackson whose conversation to Islam took many by surprise! The 46-year-old singer - younger sister of the late Pop king, Michael Jackson - was reported by several showbiz tabloids and blogs across Europe, including National Enquirer magazine to have converted to Islam December, 2012 in order to marry her Qatari Billionaire fiancé, Wissam Al-Manna. The couple are reportedly planning to tie the knot in Doha, Qatar this year.
Although the R&B singer, who now moves around in a ceremonial headscarf, has neither confirmed nor denied the news, AL-FAHM can authoritatively confirmed that Rhythm Nation crooner would not be the first celebrity to have embraced Islam, and will not be the last. Several world famous entertainers, including professional boxers and footballers, even top politicos and creative writers have accepted Islam whole-heartedly, and now harbingers of glad tidings to their teeming fans. In this edition, we x-ray the life of 30 world famous celebrities before and after Islam...
Margret ‘Maryam Jameelah’ Marcus
- Former Jewish, Author
She died October last year unceremoniously, but what is obvious is that the Muslim world would not easily forget the contributions of Maryam Jameelah to Islam and the development of Muslims through her soul inspiring books. May Allah forgive her shortcomings. Born Margret Marcus on May 23, 1934 in New York to a non-observant German Jewish family, she explored Judaism and other faiths during her teens before converting to Islam in 1961 and emigrated to Pakistan, where she was married to and has five children with Muhammad Yusuf Khan, a leader in the Jamaat-e-Islami political party, and resided in the city of Lahore. Jameelah regards these years (1962-64) to be the formative period of her life during which she matured and began her life's work as a Muslim defender of conservative Islam. Before her death, she authored over thirty books on Islamic culture and history, and later became a prominent female voice for conservative and fundamentalist Islam. She’s also known for her disparaging writings on the west.
Bruno ‘Abdul Karim’Metsu
- Former Senegalese Football Coach
Bruno Metsu was born on January 28, 1954 in Coudekergue village in France. He is a retired French footballer and coach; he was previously the manager of Al-wasl, Al-Gharafa and Qatari national football team. He is perhaps most notable in Europe for coaching Senegal to a surprise victory over his own country, France in the opening match of the 2002 World Cup. While in the United Arab Emirates coaching their national team, between 2006 and 2008, Metsu formerly announced his conversion into Al-Islam. He made the declaration before the religious scholars of the Department of Awqaf in Dubai, Shikh Ismail Tojo, saying, “This will make me feel comfortable, peaceful and stable.for many years in my coaching career, I was known as Bruno Metsu, but now, I have taken the name, Abdul Kareem.” He is practising Islam with his wife.
Dawud ‘David’ Wharnsby-Ali
He became popular among Muslims, especially children when he dropped a hit album of nasheed titled, “A Whisper of Peace” in 1996, but only few among his million fans worldwide knew that he was born a Christian in Ontario, Canada in 1972. His birth name was David before he changed to Dawud in 1993 after he converted to Islam. Since then, he has become known for his socially conscious songs, notable among them are Sing, Children of the World, Al-Khaliq and I Look I See among others.
Chauncey Lamont a.k.a Loon
- Former Rapper
An African American, Chauncey Lamont Hawking was formerly part of P.Diddy’s Bad Boy records, where he released his self titled debut album, Loon. Born into a Christian family on June 20, 1975 in Harlem, New York, Loon changed his name to Amir Junaid Muhadith after converting to Islam on December 2008 while on tour in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. He has since been very active doing da’wah through his religious talk show Insight aired on Iqra TV. Visit to his web site, www.loon2amir.com revealed that Amir Junaid was lockdown in a prison in Belgium for charges that predated his conversion to Islam. In one of his quotes, he wrote, “I am just happy to be accepting Islam and finding the peace of mind that I was always searching for in the music industry.
Daniel ‘Brixton Bomber’ Williams
He was otherwise known by his fans as Brixton Bomber, but his real name is Daniel Williams, an English professional boxer who came to limelight in 1995 for knocking out Vance Ideas in two rounds. He later became very famous when he boxed former world champion Mike Tyson in Freedom Hall, State Fairground, Kentucky in July 2004. Raised alongside his two brothers and a sister by their Christian Indian parents, Brixton turned a new life when he embraced Islam in 1999. An incident in Turkey, when he heard the Adhaan (call to prayer), which guided him towards accepting the faith.
I'm now a Muslim. Why all the shock and horror? These were the words of Lauren Booth, a journalist with the Sunday Times and the Daily Mail. News that Lauren Booth has converted to Islam provoked a storm of negative comments. “My own path to Islam began with an awakening to the gap between what had been drip-fed to me about all Muslim life – and the reality.” Born Sarah Booth July 22, 1967, the half-sister of Cherie Blair, wife of the former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, her journey into Islam began during her first five years of her visit to Palestine to work alongside charities in Gaza and the West Bank. She became fascinated at the way Muslim treats their females, the calmness in their prayers and their peaceful way of life contrary to what the west hold towards poor Muslim women. When asked about how are family reacted to the news, she replied, My 2 daughters who are very practical asked me, Mummy when you’re a Muslim, will you still be our mummy? I said: When I am a Muslim you know what, I will be a better mummy, they said: "Horrayyy!!"
Éric Sylvain Abidal (born 11 September 1979) is a French professional footballer, who plays for FC Barcelona as a left or central defender. In his career, he played mainly for Lyon and Barcelona, winning 22 major titles the two teams combined, including two Champions League trophies with the latter. A French international in the 2000s, Abidal represented the nation in two World Cups – finishing second in 2006 – and Euro 2008. Abidal, who was married to the former gymnast Hayet Kebir, confirmed his conversion to Islam to doha stadium newspaper. Abidal, who later changed his name to Bilal said, my conversion was not due to marriage of an Algerian woman but it was an old story. I always had a wish to be a Muslim and now I complete it.
- Former Anti-Muslim Swiss Politician
The Swiss politician Daniel Streich, who rose to fame as a result of his opposition to mosques in his homeland, has now embraced the faith he reviled. Daniel Streich was a member of the Swiss People's Party (SVP) in Switzerland. A well-known politician, Streich led the calls for a ban on minarets across Switzerland. He was active in building anti-Muslim sentiments throughout Switzerland. This sustained campaign led to him being given a high ranking position in the Swiss Army. Streich attempted to understand the Qur'an and Islamic teachings in order to argue against Muslims on tenets of their faith. In the course of his efforts the ex-Christian began to agree with and acknowledge the proclamations of the Qur'an. Born in a Christian family, Streich had a comprehensive study of Islam merely to malign and confront, but Islamic teachings had a deep impact on him. Eventually he de-linked himself from political activities and he embraced Islam. Streich later termed the SVO activities against the Muslims as satanic. "Islam offers me logical answers to important life questions, which, in the end, I never found in Christianity," says Streich. He is now a committed Muslim, who attends the mosque, recites the Qur'an and prays five times a day. He is vehemently opposed to the Minaret ban and is hoping to establish Switzerland's fifth mosque and the most beautiful in Europe.
Franck Bilal Ribéry
Franck Bilal Ribéry (born 7 April 1983) is a French football player who currently plays for Bundesliga club Bayern Munich. Ribéry primarily plays as a winger, preferably on the left side, and is known for "pace, energy, skill and precise passing." Ribéry was born in Boulogne-sur-Mer, Pas-de-Calais and raised in a low-income neighbourhood on the fringes of the city. When he was two years old, he and his family were involved in a car accident in his hometown, colliding with a truck. Ribéry suffered serious facial injuries that resulted in more than one hundred stitches and left two long scars down the right side of his face. Prior to joining Stade Brestois in 2003, he worked as a construction worker with his father, which Ribéry referred to as a "learning experience". Ribéry's younger brother François is also a football player, and has played for numerous amateur clubs in France. François plays for Bayonne in the Championnat National. Ribéry's wife, Wahiba, is a French national of Algerian descent and the couple have two daughters and a son. Ribéry is a convert to Islam and, following his conversion, adopted the name Bilal Yusuf Mohammed.
James ‘Yusuf’ Yee
- Former US Army Muslim chaplain
James J. Yee is an American former United States Army chaplain with the rank of captain. He’s best known for being subject to an intense investigation by the United States, but all charges were later dropped. Yee, a Chinese American, was born in New Jersey and raised in Springfield Township, where he attended Jonathan Dayton High School. He converted from Lutheran Christianity to Islam in 1991, undergoing religious training in Syria and meeting his wife Huda, a Palestinian, with whom he now has one child. In his appointment role as chaplain, Yee ministered to Muslims detainees held at Guantanamo Bay detention camp and received commendation from his superiors for his work. When he was returning at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, he was wrongly arrested on September 10, 2003, in Jacksonville, Florida, when a U.S. Customs agent allegedly found a list of Guantanamo detainees and interrogators among his belongings. He was charged for five offenses; sedition, aiding the enemy (his fellow Muslims), spying, espionage, and failure to obey a general order. The charges were later dropped on March 19, 2004, but the military leadership refused to clear his name publicly, forcing Yee to surrender his dream of serving his country. Yee tells his story for the first time in his new book, For God and Country: Faith and Patriotism Under Fire.
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