Is Michael Jackson converting to Islam? Sunni or Shia? Regular or NOI? Male or female? Daniel Pipes considers the evidence (though he doesn't seem aware that Jermaine—a.k.a. Muhammad Abdulaziz—converted in 1989, and also in Bahrain, where Michael is going through his own apparent transition), and considers the long history of black Americans finding Allah in times of trouble:
These and other examples establish Islam—in both its normative and Nation variants—as a leading solace for African-Americans in need. That helps explain why the United States has by far the largest Muslim convert population in the Western world (about 750,000 adherents). Each black public figure who converts to Islam or accepts Nation of Islam support creates an added impetus for other blacks to change religions, a pattern that has also emerged in other Western countries.
Thus do the actions of an erratic celebrity in distant Bahrain have significant consequences.
Before the Jehovah's Witnesses panic, however, it's worth noting that millions of church-going black Americans have made Madea's Family Reunion the nation's top-grossing film for the second week in a row.