November 25, 2008
Michael Jackson has become a Muslim - and changed his name to MIKAEEL, Neil Syson reports for The U.K. Sun Nov. 21st.
The skint superstar, 50,
donned Islamic garb to pledge allegiance to the Koran in a ceremony at a pal's mansion in Los Angeles,
The Sun can reveal.
Jacko sat on the floor wearing a tiny hat after an Imam was summoned to officiate -
days before the singer is due to appear at London's High Court where he is being sued by an Arab sheik.
A source told last night how Jacko,
brought up as a Jehovah's Witness,
decided to convert as he used a studio at the home of his chum to record a new 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.
"Jacko rejected an alternative name, Mustafa -
meaning "the chosen one".
Brit singer Yousef Islam, 60 -
who was called Cat Stevens until he famously converted -
turned up to help Jacko celebrate.
It was his pals David Wharnsby - a Canadian songwriter - and producer Phillip Bubal who counselled Jacko.
The pair's new names are Dawud Wharnsby Ali and Idris Phillips.
Jacko 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.
Jacko, who rarely ventures out without a mask,
is due to give evidence on Monday in a 4.7million lawsuit brought by Prince Abdulla Al-Khalif of Bahrain.
The sheik claims he bankrolled the singer's lavish lifestyle in exchange for an exclusive recording contract.
The billionaire sent songs for him to record but claims he was blanked.
He told the court yesterday:
"Many times he confirmed to me he would pay me back."