A Pakistani Islamist group, I wrote in 1995, had recently "deemed Michael Jackson and Madonna 'cultural terrorists' and called for the two Americans to be brought to trial in Pakistan."
One Photoshopped vision of Michael Jackson as a Muslim.
Now, in the aftermath of Jackson's death at age 50, Islamists are humming a very different tune from 15 years ago. IslamOnLine.net, a website overseen by the Sunni scholar Yusuf al-Qaradawi, ran a story titled "Muslims Pay Tribute to Jackson" that brims over with accolades and employs words such as "love," "thoughts and prayers," and "icon."
Comments: (1) Interesting how the rumors raging since December 2003 (a month after his arrest on child-molestation charges) that Jackson converted to Islam improved rather than further ruined his reputation among Muslims.
(2) This division of opinion also replicates the reaction to Barack Obama: soft Islamists see him as a boon while the harder ones see him as a threat. (June 27, 2009)