Wayne Parnell has converted to Islam. South Africa left-arm fast bowler confirmed in a statement that he converted to the Islamic faith in January, 2011. Parnell said that he will “continue to respect the team’s endorsement of alcoholic beverages.” His complete statement is given here:
“I converted to Islam in January 2011, after a period of personal study and reflection and it is a faith that I have always been interested in.
While I have not yet decided on an Islamic name I have considered the name Waleed which means Newborn Son, but for now, my name remains Wayne Dillon Parnell.
I will continue to respect the team’s endorsement of alcoholic beverages. I am playing cricket in Sussex and this is my immediate focus. As I am approaching my first period of fasting, I ask that this special time is treated with respect.
I am a young man, a professional cricketer by trade and while I can appreciate and am grateful for the publics’ interest in my personal life, my faith choice is a matter which I would like to keep private.”
Hashim Amla the other muslim in the South African team does not wear a beer logo on his playing kit because of his religious beliefs. Other South African players said that they were all very impressed by the discipline and strict adherence that Amla showed to his religion, staying extremely committed to his prayers five times a day even while on tour and not wearing a beer logo on his playing kit. However, they endorsed that Amla or Imran Tahir had never tried to convert any of them to the Islamic faith.
There have been other sporting greats who have been converted to the Islamic faith because of the truth and justice they said they found in the faith. Muhammad Ali, the world heavy wieght champion from the USA, Muhammad Yusuf from Pakistan, Mike Tyson again from the USA, Kareem Abdul Jabbar basketball great from the USA, Nicolas Anelka footballer from France, Ahmad Rashad from the USA and there are so many other great players who have all said they found peace in Islam. Some great celebrities also included in the list are Yusuf Islam formerly Cat Stevens British musician and singer, Jermaine Jackson American singer, composer and member of The Jackson 5 and brother of Micheal Jackson, Omar Bongo, President of Gabon, Omar Sharif Egyptian actor, Snoop Dogg American rapper, A.R. Rahman Indian composer, Tansen one of the greatest musicians of the pre-partition India – Pakistan, Sharmila Tagore Indian film actress.
Parnell might change his name to Waleed, an Islamic name meaning the ‘Newborn Son’ but for the moment we keep our fingers crossed.