And when you are among them and keep up the prayer for them, let a party of them stand up with you, and shake their bodies down to the ground.

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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.

NEXT: Thomas Kinkade Pulls a Jackson Pollock

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  1. Someone needs to pinpoint the exact moment when Michael Jackson surpassed Howard Hughes for being the world’s wierdest rich guy.

    (And Michael better watch out, as Larry Wachowski seems to be gunning for that title.)

  2. “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.”

    Would Mr. Pipes have written this article if Michael Jackson was following a pattern of black people converting to Episcopalianism?

    I wonder why Mr. Pipes considers the existence of American Muslims, or the conversion of Americans to the Islamic religion, to be “significant.” Actually, no, I don’t.

  3. Will Michael have to wear a burka now?

    Or is that because sunlight aggravates his weird skin disorder?

  4. Yeah, lots of American Blacks are getting nose jobs and lightening thier skin as well as joining the muslim church.

  5. Back in the fall, a friend of mine emailed me a link to a website operated by a very weird Australian who believes Prince Charles converted to Islam. (Sorry I can’t find the link or email anymore.) If both Charlie and Jacko convert, I think we can safely say that the threat from radical Islam is over.

  6. I, I um, I lack the words… to effectively quantify Jacko’s level of weirdness…

    weird-o-meter pegged, needle bending…

  7. “Thus do the actions of an erratic celebrity in distant Bahrain have significant consequences.”

    Fortunately, the actions of an erratic windbag in wherever the fuck it is that Daniel Pipes lives don’t mean shit.

  8. When Jacko dies, will some other weird celeb purchase his skeleton?

  9. Sulla, at least they’ll know what they’re getting, It likely won’t look much different…

  10. Before the Jehovah’s Witnesses panic…

    I’ve a feeling the JWs would be delighted if Jacko joined some other religion and helped people forget the letters MJ and JW were ever connected in any way…

  11. Am I the only one who’s shocked that Jacko didn’t enter a Catholic seminary?

  12. Ig,

    My weird-o-meter goes to 11…

  13. DeWitt, no doubt.. can you imagine that guy (MJ) showing up at your door with a bible and a pamphlet? no way that’s helping the membership drive.

    A friend of mine taught me a really good rebuttal to the JWs: First clarify with them that they believe that there is a finite number of people that will be admitted into heaven, and then tell them that they should not recruit you because you might be the guy that bumps them out of their spot… There will be a long pause in the coversation at this point…

  14. wsdave, HA! Spinal Tap.. “you see? my amp goes to E-LEVEN” Classic! Thanks..

  15. Between Cat Stevens and various Jackson brothers, I think the real question is, “Why is Islam so appealing to musical has-beens”?

  16. When Jacko dies, will some other weird celeb purchase his skeleton?

    Everything but the bone chips from the plastic surgery….

  17. “Why is Islam so appealing to musical has-beens”?

    answer: they lack the social relevance of their glory days, have failed to find a sufficient “cause” to attach themselves to, and being born again is so …done. This is instant underdog down with the underclass cred… Besides by this point they often already look like a full time resident of the Ted Kazinsky Home for the Recluse and Islam doesn’t require that they tidy up!

  18. Three questions:

    1. Why does Dan Pipes fear that more black Americans will convert to Islam?
    2. Does he feel the same way about folks converting to evangelical, fundamentalist Christianity?
    3. If not, why not?
  19. Is Michael Jackson converting to Islam?

    Oh boy, yet another PR coup for Islam! How can they stand it?

  20. Ig, your ignorance of JW beliefs is astounding. It’s true they believe only 144,000 people will go to heaven. But they believe the rest of the good people will live forever in paradise on earth, where no one ever gets old or sick, and their kids can have a pet tiger. Now why are you being such a cynic?? Don’t you want to live forever in paradise on earth?

    And no, you can’t touch it. You can’t even look at it.

  21. You mean Jacko traded a pet tiger for 70, more or less, virgins in the next world? Obviously no one explained this to him. Seems like that would make him reconsider.

  22. You mean Jacko traded a pet tiger for 70, more or less, virgins in the next world? Obviously no one explained this to him. Seems like that would make him reconsider.

    Perhaps he would be dissuaded if someone explains that the promise refers to virgin girls

  23. He’ll have to come up with a new name for his preferred aphrodesiac:

    “Mohammed Juice”

  24. # Does he feel the same way about folks converting to evangelical, fundamentalist Christianity?
    # If not, why not?

    Maybe because you can count the number of fundamentalist Christian terrorists on the fingers of one mangled hand.

  25. Jackson’s move from California to Bahrain raises the average IQ in both places.

  26. It is all a matter of perspective. I am sure that a large number of people in the Muslim world feel that there are a couple hundred thousand Christian terrorists killing people in Iraq as we speak, Bush did claim that they were sent on behalf of his Christian God. A dead baby is a dead baby no matter whether the death was ordained by Jesus or Mohammed, just because they wear the uniform of the US military does not mean that they are not considered terrorists by the grieving relatives.

    It is not surprising at all that a Jew is concerned about the growing number of Muslims. Pepsi doesn’t like it when Coke steals some of their market share either.

  27. OK Pirate, I can take that.. Guess I’ll have to brush up on my JW theology.. right after get a clearer understanding of The Book of Mormon, the Koran, whatever manifesto the Hindu religion adheres to and …Oh times up… guess I’ll find out the who’s right the hard way… C’mon man, let me pet it… pleeeeeeaase.

  28. It is not surprising at all that a Jew is concerned about the growing number of Muslims. Pepsi doesn’t like it when Coke steals some of their market share either.

    What has “market share” to do anything? Jews generally don’t seek converts from other religions anyway.

  29. Ig, in that case, the way to deal with Jehovah’s Witnesses would be to tell them that you are prone to nosebleeds, which means you have swallowed amounts of blood in the past and will likely do so in the future. Tell them that, since even lifesaving blood transfusions are forbidden under the “don’t eat blood under any circumstances” rule, there’s no point in joining a religion when you know damned well you can’t possibly live up to its standards.

  30. So Ig goes to heaven and finds himself waiting in line behind a whole bunch of people trying to get in. St. Peter asks each person a different question about religion, and if the person gets it wrong, they’re jettisoned down to the fiery place. If they get it right, the bells clang and the gates open and the person gets in.

    Ig gets his turn and St. Peter asks him, ‘So, what was the first thing Eve said to Adam in the Garden of Eden?’

    Ig, being a blasphemous heathen, spent his time reading about Hinduism and the Koran, so he has no idea. He scratches his head, trying to remember if he’s read anything about the subject, and finally shrugs his shoulders and says, ‘Gee, that’s a hard one!’

    And the bells clang and the gates open, and they let him in.

  31. “Tell them that, since even lifesaving blood transfusions are forbidden under the “don’t eat blood under any circumstances” rule, there’s no point in joining a religion when you know damned well you can’t possibly live up to its standards.”

    Their Bible quoting refers to scriptures that say to *abstain* from blood. (Which means no eating blood and no injecting it into your veins.) Oddly, there is nothing in their dogma that says you shouldn’t eat rare, red meat – even a steak that just looks like it’s been walked through a warm room. This is especially odd when their interpretation of the lion and the lamb lying side by side in peace in “the new system” means that lambs won’t be afraid of lions anymore, which must mean animals won’t be carnivores anymore. That’s the last I heard of it anyway, and it has been quite a few years. (Yeesh, imagine the mice problems they would have, with herbivorous former birds of prey.)

    They also used to say Armageddon would come before the generation of 1914 ended, so I guess that’s one more speculation that will have to change with the addition of more “new light” from their HQ.

  32. I am sure that a large number of people in the Muslim world feel that there are a couple hundred thousand Christian terrorists killing people in Iraq as we speak

    A large number of people in the Muslim world think that Jews drink the blood of babies, that the WTC attacks were caused by Israel, and that the Protocols of the Elders of Zion are real. So?

  33. It is not surprising at all that a Jew is concerned about the growing number of Muslims. Pepsi doesn’t like it when Coke steals some of their market share either.

    Perhaps that “Jew” is concerned about the growing number of Muslims because of the overt, violent hatred so many Muslims have for Jews. Just maybe.

    I am sure that a large number of people in the Muslim world feel that there are a couple hundred thousand Christian terrorists killing people in Iraq as we speak,

    And those people are ignorant victims of propaganda, because the vast majority of civilians being killed in Iraq are being killed by Islamist terrorists.

    Bush did claim that they were sent on behalf of his Christian God.

    No, he didn’t. He claimed that he prayed before committing to the war in Iraq. Only someone who is mendaciously partisan or willfully ignorant would conflate the two.

  34. The market share comment was made partly in jest, but also because a growing number of Christians and Jews are starting to panic about the fact that Islam may eventually become the majority religion in countries typically dominated by Christianity and Judaism. It was implicit in the article that a larger number of Muslims in the US or Western world was somehow inherently bad.

  35. PJo, Ha! You’re killing me! I’ll poach that one for certain.

    Jennifer, Blood really?!? I suppose these guys get on well with the Vegans… Maybe I should just invite them in and start up some steaks on the grill.. “I like mine rare. How bout you folks?.. Hey where’ ya goin?”

    Don’t get me wrong here people, I’m not a complete heathen, in fact I consider myself a Christian. I just struggle with the vocal leadership of most religions because it always ends in dogma and doctrine instead of the real quest for meaning and understanding… No harm meant JWs, Hindus, et al.. The problems with every religion ends up being at the hand of man (man in the figurative, not God, variety for all you femenists who are cheering now…)

  36. I believe that Bush has stated publicly that God – the Christian version that he believes in, told him that he was chosen to lead our country during the war on terror, of which Iraq is the central front. It is not too hard to view that as a claim that the Christian God thought it was time to kill some Muslims. Like I said it is all a matter of perspective, our soldiers are clearly commiting some of the same acts that we would condemm as terrorism if they were perpetrated on US soil by a group of Muslim extremists, the shock and awe bombing and Abu Ghraib come to mind. There have been plenty of innocent Iraqi civilians killed directly by the actions of the US military under the direction of Bush, who claims to be on a mission from God to rid the world of evil. Collateral damage is just a fancy label for terrorism, they both involve the deaths of innocent people not directly related to the conflict.

  37. I would challenge the assertion that Bush said he was “Gods chosen leader for war with a Muslim country” if I am wrong show me the quote with when and where context.. I’m no Bush fan altogether, but I hear this alot from those who really hate him and it seems more a product of agenda than fact..
    I do, however, agree that many Muslims hold that perspective, but that too is a matter of convenience with regard to their objectives…
    Danish cartoonist pokes fun at Allah, burn the US flag and trash a KFC.. makes perfect sense…

  38. God told me to strike at al Qaida and I struck them, and then he instructed me to strike at Saddam, which I did, and now I am determined to solve the problem in the Middle East. If you help me I will act, and if not, the elections will come and I will have to focus on them.” –Ha’aretz, 06.25.03

  39. Scott
    Help me out, what is Ha’aretz? Was this at a press conference, or a group address… You know like on tape? Seriously asking….

  40. Ha’aretz is an Israeli newspaper. These comments were made during a meeting with Palestinian PM Abbas while Bush was in Israel to discuss the “road map” peace process.

  41. Q.What turned Michael Jackson into the freakish ?wacko Jacko? in the first place?

    I have been following MJ?s bio since his baptism in the 1970?s as a Jehovah?s Witness.MJ and I are the same age and I can identify with the disastrously dysfunctional oppressive fundamentalist ?freak? upbringing of Jehovah?s Witnesses children.

    Like MJ I had a wonderful life that was ruined by a destructive cult.

    There are a Million Messed up Jehovah?s Witnesses kids out there just like us.

    God have Mercy!

    -Danny Haszard born Jehovah?s Witness 1957 ?i was in the cult and now i?m out?

  42. Is Michael Jackson converting to Islam?

    hope your nose falls off michael

  43. (Would have been slightly funnier if I hadn’t fucked up my e-mail address)

    hope you lose custody of your chimp michael

  44. About Haretz Story

    The actual translation of the Bush statement in Hharetz is “God inspired me to hit al Qaeda, and so I hit it. And I had the inspiration to hit Saddam, and so I hit him. Now I am determined to solve the Middle East problem if you help. Otherwise the elections will come and I will be wrapped up with them.”

    Not that this is a whole lot better, but the report highlights the wording of the quote has come in Arabic from Arabic speakers tranlsating Bush’s original English comments.

  45. Thanks Six..Arabic translation? Hmmmmmm
    that explains a lot…

    6sig huh so are you attacking variation in accuracy here? LOL.. warped manufacturing humor.

  46. It is not too hard to view that as a claim that the Christian God thought it was time to kill some Muslims.

    Yes it is.

  47. “Q.What turned Michael Jackson into the freakish ?wacko Jacko? in the first place?”

    Uh…too much money? at too young an age?

    One thing for sure….if he converts to Islam and stays in the Middle East, he had better learn to let boys alone. From what I have heard concerning attitudes there, he might get his testicles handed to him. That is, if he still has any.

    “It is not too hard to view that as a claim that the Christian God thought it was time to kill some Muslims.”

    Surely you must know that the “Christian” god is the same as the “Muslim” god and the “Jewish” god. Jehova, Allah, Yahwe,…all the same. The god of the Book. And even if you don’t know, I’m sure that Bush does. (And if he doesn’t, Cheney will tell him.)

    “Collateral damage is just a fancy label for terrorism, they both involve the deaths of innocent people not directly related to the conflict.”

    Historically wars have been fought between “peoples” and not just their militaries. “Collateral damage” is just a fancy label for war. Welcome to the real world.

    One thing more: I sure wish y’all would stop using the letters JW to abreviate Jehova’s Witness. It really does pain a non-believer like me.

  48. What has “market share” to do anything? Jews generally don’t seek converts from other religions anyway.

    In fact Jews cannot evangelise. If you try to convert you are refused twice and only accepted on the third attempt.

    Surely you must know that the “Christian” god is the same as the “Muslim” god and the “Jewish” god. Jehova

    That is in fact untrue. Allah is not the same God as worshipped by Jews as Jahweh and Christians as God. The three religions are monotheistic but that does not mean they worship the same god.

    The Jewish & Christian God has its roots in sun worship via the Egyptians; Islam’s worship is based on the Moon; as one example they use the lunar calendar.

  49. ‘Historically wars have been fought between “peoples” and not just their militaries. “Collateral damage” is just a fancy label for war. Welcome to the real world.’

    You all remember people like jw making this point when 2800 Americans were murdered on September 11, right? Hey, war is a confliect between peoples, and they struck at some of our people. You all remember that, right?

  50. Andrew Ian Dodge, Jews use the lunar calendar, too. Not that I claim to be an expert on religions, but that’s one factoid I know. Thus the flexible Passover/Easter schedule.

  51. Andrew Ian Dodge:

    Excuse me, but all three religions DO worship the same god. They worship the “God of Abraham”. Furthermore the belief in that god has its roots in ancient Mesopotamia and the civilizations around the Tigris and Eurphrates Rivers rather than Egypt.

    Joe:

    I’m not certain just what it is you are trying to say, but I can assure you that *I* wasn’t making any points around here (on this blog or any other) on 9/11. I did not have access to a computer at the time. As a matter of fact, I did not even know how to use one. And I have been posting here for less than a year.

    But to reiterate and elaborate on my point: Yes, wars ARE fought between “Peoples” (historically) and not just between militaries. Yes! “Civilians” DO suffer and die. That is part of what has always made war so terrible. Did you think war was only about two groups playing some kind of toy soldiers game? And if you think that the “war” we have been engaged in since 9/11 is only between combatants or non-civilians, you would do well to reconsider. It is most definitely between cultures and/or civilizations. I definitely recall saying AND hearing similar thoughts just after 9/11. I, for one, was not surprised that the other side did not “play by the rules”. The rules of warfare are a relatively modern and Western invention, if they truly mean anything at all.

    Pro Libertate:

    If you have any interest in the calenders and timekeeping methods of ancient peoples, you might find Daniel J. Boorstin’s THE DISCOVERERS to be worth a look.

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