Michael Jackson became a member of the black group Nation of Islam on the eve of being formally charged with child molestation, the New York Post reported today.
The newspaper quoted unnamed sources as saying Jackson became a member of the black Muslim organisation led by Louis Farrakhan on Wednesday night.
“The King of Pop is restyling himself Jacko X,” said the newspaper.
“High-ranking members of Nation of Islam have been working to bring Jackson into Reverend Louis Farrahkan’s flock – and Jackson’s conversion is now well-known in the NOI community,” said the report.
Farrakhan’s organisation, which is controversial because of its leaders’ anti-Jewish and anti-homosexual declarations, would not comment on the report when contacted by AFP.
Fox News reported Jackson’s brother Jermaine Jackson had brought Farrakhan’s chief of staff Leonard Muhammad into Jackson’s inner-circle as “a bodyguard”.
According to Fox, Jermaine Jackson, another ex-member of the Jackson Five family group, converted to Islam in 1989.
The television channel’s report said Jermaine Jackson and Leonard Muhammad were “making the case to Michael that he was a victim of racism and that only the Nation of Islam could save hi..”
Jackson, 45, is on $US3 million ($4.07 million) bail after being accused of multiple counts of child molestation against a boy aged under 14.
Jackson and his lawyers have strongly denied the accusations, calling them “a big lie”.
The singer is to be formally charged today in Santa Maria, near Jackson’s Neverland Ranch at around 1pm local time (8am AEDT).
Jackson was last month handcuffed and subjected to humiliating police mugshots and fingerprinting when he returned to Santa Barbara on his private [airplane] to face arrest last month.