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Report: Michael Jackson converts to Islam

Nov. 21, 2008 at 11:22 AM
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LOS ANGELES, Nov. 21 (UPI) -- Pop star Michael Jackson has converted to Islam at a ceremony in Los Angeles attended by Yousef Islam, the singer formerly known as Cat Stevens, sources say.

Jackson, whose once-amazing career has been eclipsed in recent years by reports of bizarre behavior, as well as legal and financial troubles, is said to have changed his name to Mikaeel and taken the shahada -- or made a declaration of belief -- as part of his conversion to Islam, Al-Arabiya said Friday.

The religious ceremony reportedly took place at the Hollywood Hills home of Toto keyboardist Steve Porcaro, who composed music for Jackson's iconic "Thriller" album.

Jackson's lawyer said the singer has agreed to testify in person next week at a $7 million breach-of-contract lawsuit brought against him in London's High Court by the king of Bahrain's son, Sheik Abdulla bin Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa.

The sheikh is suing Jackson for allegedly backing out of a business venture that was to produce an album, including songs the royal wrote for and planned to record with Jackson, as well as an autobiography and a stage play.

However, Jackson contends he never signed an official agreement and insists the payments he received from the sheik were "gifts," claiming the royal's case is based on "mistake, misrepresentation and undue influence."

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