Written by MosqueAdin
Friday, 09 February 2007
Macon Mayor Jack Ellis converted from Christianity to Islam and is now seeking to change his legal name to Hakim Mansour Ellis. Ellis, who was raised as a Christian in Macon, a city located in central Georgia, announced that he became a Sunni Muslim during a ceremony in the west African nation of Senegal.
He said he has been studying the holy Qur’an for years, and that Islam was his ancestor’s religion before they were brought to North America as slaves.
“Why does one become a Christian?” Ellis said. “You do it because it feels right. … To me it’s no big deal. But people like to know what you believe in.”
The 61-year-old mayor said he would keep his last name at the request of his two daughters.
Muslim converts usually change their name, though the practice is not typically required.
Ellis, whose mayoral term expires this year, doesn’t rule out future runs for elected office. But he said that he hasn’t considered how his conversion to Islam could affect his political career.
He says he is proud to be an American living in a country based on religious freedom.
In January, Rep. Keith Ellison took office as the first Muslim elected to the U.S. Congress. The Michigan Democrat was born in Detroit and converted to Islam while in college.
His election raised debate in the United States, especially after he used the holy Qur’an to take oath of office.
Ellis, who was elected Mayor in July 1999, becoming the first black Mayor in the 176-year history of the city, said Muslims shouldn’t be portrayed as bad people simply because of the acts of a few.
“If anybody wants to know about Islam, I can hold an intelligent conversation,” Ellis said. “What I’ve found is how little we know about the religion.”
The history of Islam in the United States starts in the 18th century, with the first Muslim inhabitants. The sizeable Muslim community in the U.S. has increased greatly over the past one hundred years, mainly due to the increase in the number of Muslim immigrants, and the high rate of Americans who convert to Islam.
According to wikipedia, up to one-third of American Muslims are African Americans who have converted to Islam during the last seventy years.
— AJP and Agencies Last Updated