MUSLIM WORLD: King of Pop was about to convert to Islam, Michael Jackson's brother says
Michael's Jackson's brother Jermaine Jackson reached out to the Muslim world in a long, controversial interview with the Dubai-based pan-Arab news channel Al-Arabiya aired Thursday night.
See below the jump for the videos of the interview, Jermaine Jackson's first ever with an Arab news network.
During his nearly hourlong talk, he spoke out about his brother's death, the conspiracies he believed were behind the singer's downfall -- and how he believes the King of Pop was on the verge of converting to Islam.
After spending time in the Gulf (Michael Jackson lived in Bahrain for a while in 2005), "Michael hired a team that was all Muslim,” Jackson told Al- Arabiya, dressed in a red Arab Keffeyeh scarf. “His behavior at the time also showed that he was very close to converting.”
Jackson went on to recount to Arab households how the King of Pop was drawn by Islam, saying his brother loved hearing the Muslim call to prayer and eagerly read books on Islam. Jackson said Islam would have protected his brother from harm.
"I felt that Michael was looking for that divine feeling .... I brought him books from Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, from a lot of mosques. He read all of them. He was studying ... he was ready to make that journey. His protection would have been Islam ... he had a very tough life," he said.
When asked by his interviewer whether Michael Jackson ever suggested that he would convert, Jackson implied his brother may have been a Muslim in his heart.
"I wished he would have made that announcement. Maybe he made it in his soul ... but at the same time we want to hear it," he said.
He added that the amount of time Michael spent in the Middle East and the number of friends he had there also indicated he had embraced Islam.
Jermaine Jackson, a composer and former member of the Jackson 5, himself developed an interest in Islam during a trip to the Persian Gulf in the late 1980s and later became a Muslim. When asked to share his travels with the viewers, he said he "never felt a connection" until he became a Muslim and how he believes his ancestors were Muslims and that Christianity was imposed on them through slavery.
At one point, he explains his emotional and spiritual journey in his pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia.
"We drove from Bahrain to Riyadh (the capital of Saudi Arabia) and then took a flight to Mecca. It was the most wonderful feeling. It felt so pure, so special. I knew that was the connection," said Jackson.
He only wishes his brother had followed his example and become a Muslim too. Islam, says Jackson, would have saved the King of Pop from many hardships.
"I believe that Islam would have helped him a lot. Had he converted, he would have been spared all the problems he had been subjected to throughout his life," he said.
-- Alexandra Sandels in Beirut
Photo: In his first interview with an Arab TV channel, Michael Jackson's brother Jermaine Jackson told the Arab news network Al-Arabiya that he believes the King of Pop was on the verge of converting to Islam. Credit: Al-Arabiya
Videos: The interview in three parts. Credit: YouTube