In her first interview since being released from a Bali jail, the Australian model said she was deeply hurt by claims that she pretended to be a Muslim to get sympathy from her Indonesian judges.
“I have found that this is the religion for me,” she said.
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Leslie is expected to fly into Sydney from Singapore early this morning, where she will be greeted by a storm of protest from the Muslim community.
But the 24-year-old was defiant last night, vowing to continue practising her faith with or without a burka.
“I was a Muslim long before any of this happened. You can be a Muslim regardless of your clothes,” she said.
“If I have offended anyone, I’m sorry.”
Muslim leaders yesterday stepped up their campaign against Leslie, claiming that she used the religion to gain sympathy from the Indonesian legal system over her drug conviction for possessing two ecstasy pills.
“It looks as though she used Islam as a stunt to get a judgment in her favour,” Australian Federation of Islamic Councils president Ameer Ali said.
Leslie wore both a burka and hijab during her trial but emerged from jail in a singlet and jeans.
She said yesterday she does not have immediate plans to return to work, but the former Antz Pantz underwear model has already had several offers from some of the country’s top fashion houses.
Debate is raging over whether the convicted drug user should be paid for her story. The Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions, Damian Bugg, is yet to decide whether a paid interview with media organisations would breach proceeds of crime laws.