January 22, 2004
Jacko’s Jewish Kids Going Muslim?
New allegations are being thrown Michael Jackson's way, but this time they're not child molestation charges. The reclusive Debbie Rowe, Jackson's Jewish ex-wife and the mother who surrendered custody of their two children, is worried that the singer is allowing Prince Michael I and Paris Michael Katherine to be converted to Islam.
Since Jackson brought the Nation of Islam (NOI) into his home, Rowe has complained to friends that she does not want her children being exposed to their teachings, because she, and by extension her children, are Jewish, Fox News reports.
Rowe could not be reached for comment. However, Iris Finsilver, Rowe's attorney, confirmed that her client is Jewish.
"The fact that all along Prince and Paris, who we were very close to, were Jewish is remarkable," Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, a once close friend of Jackson, told The Journal.
"It seems incredible to me that Michael Jackson would not have told me that Prince and Paris are Jewish, unless he did not know," Boteach said. "It's possible that Michael never knew that Debbie Rowe is Jewish. I don't know that she's a committed Jew that would have evidenced itself in any particular way."
Jackson, who pleaded not guilty Jan. 16 to charges that he sexually abused a boy during a sleepover at his Neverland Ranch, is free on $3 million bail and currently living with his children in a rented Beverly Hills mansion.
Security for the home and its grounds is being provided by NOI. Business associates and employees of Jackson are claiming that the Islamic group has also taken control of his business affairs.
Jermaine Jackson, Michael's brother, has been an NOI member since 1989, and Grace, the Rwandan nanny Jackson employs to care for his children, is also a member of the group. It is not known if Jackson, a Jehovah's Witness, has either converted to Islam or joined NOI.
"What Michael Jackson seeks to do is bring people into his life who he thinks will rescue him from his downward spiral," Boteach said.
Following his divorce from Lisa Marie Presley in 1996, Jackson married Rowe, a nurse who worked for one of the singer's doctors. The couple had known each other for 15 years, and Rowe was six months pregnant with their first child when they married. Jackson and Rowe had two children together before divorcing in 1999.
The mother of Jackson's third child, Prince Michael II, has been kept a secret.
Rowe met with two Jackson associates on Jan. 12 to say that if the situation with the nanny and NOI doesn't change she will be forced to take steps to ensure that change happens, according to "Entertainment Tonight."
Boteach was pleased to see Rowe taking a public stand for her children.
"I was shocked to hear that [Rowe] was Jewish," Boteach said, "but since Prince and Paris are Jewish, I think they should be raised Jewish."