I am not a Muslim, says British snooker ace O’Sullivan
LONDON (AFP): Former world snooker champion Ronnie O’Sullivan has dismissed reports he has ditched Roman Catholicism to become a Muslim.
O’Sullivan, nicknamed ‘The Rocket’ for the speed in which he can clear a snooker table, said his visit to a mosque had been misinterpreted. “There has been some confusion recently. I am not a Muslim,” he said Monday. “However, I am privileged with the friendship of Muslims who have been there for me and I value as true friends.”
O’Sullivan said he was interested in Islam, but also in Buddhism and Christianity. “Perhaps I’ve been naive and given people the wrong impression, and if I have I’m sorry,” he said. “I went along to a mosque because I’m interested in Islam, but I didn’t know anyone would be interested in converting me.”
O’Sullivan is a friend of boxer Prince Naseem Hamed, a devout Muslim. The controversial star, whose father is serving a life term for murder, has suffered from depression and drug abuse. He apologised for any misunderstanding caused by his mosque visit. “Actually, even when they called me to the front of the mosque I didn’t know what was happening,” he said. “They were very friendly, and in my ignorance I thought it was just a social thing - their way of welcoming a stranger. “I felt a bit overawed by all the people around me, especially because they were talking all the time. “I’m the kind of person who doesn’t want to offend, and I just thought I’d keep everyone happy then politely leave. But now I know differently.” —AFP