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Nigerian Movie Star 'Lizzy Anjorin' Reverts to Islam
Jolting millions of her fans, Nigerian screen diva Lizzy Anjorin has officially embraced Islam, a religion she said had always been her favorite from childhood but which she could not practice in deference to her father who was a Christian.
“I have always been a Muslim at heart right from childhood. My mother was a Muslim and I have always dreamt of one day practicing Islam,” she said in a telephone interview.
“That day has come and here I am. Alihamdulillah.”
Lizzy Anjorin, a lone child of her parents, is a top-rated award-winning movie artist and producer in the booming Nigerian movie industry – The Nollywood – where she maintains a record of being one of the most enterprising actresses around.
Finding Islam, Lizzy appeared in photos donning hijab and announced that he has taken the name Aisha as her official Islamic name.
Yet, the movie star said she continues to use the name Lizzy Anjorin to feature in movies. She was until her conversion Elizabeth, her Christian baptism name.
“It is not true that my conversion was due to my fiancé being a Muslim,” said Lizzy, debunking insinuations by some of her fans that she may well dump Islam if she parts ways with him, who some reports claim is a Muslim.
Many Nigerian movie actors and actresses, like their foreign counterparts, are plagued with unstable marital relationships.
Her conversion to Islam jolted millions of her fans and the entertainment industry but the delectable actress said she turned to Islam as part of her life’s dream.
Speaking on her conversion, Lizzy said: “Everything came the way it did. It came so sudden though I always expected it.”
“This is a dream I have nursed since I was old enough to know what I want. At birth, I was half Muslim and half Christian. My father was a Christian while my late mum was a Muslim.
“I went to church while growing up because of my father. But the reality is that I have always has interest in Islam so immediately my father died I announced my conversion to Islam, my mother’s religion.”
Lizzy also confirmed performing the 2013 holy pilgrimage. “I have crowned my journey to Islam with a holy pilgrimage,” she said.
The news of Lizzy Anjorin’s conversion has jolted many Muslims across Nigeria, especially her numerous fans who congratulated her “for finding Islam at last.”
“I am happy for her because it is not by her own wish but it was by Allah’s grace that her dream has become a reality,” said Tajudeen Olumide, who calls himself a great fan of Lizzy Anjaorin.
But many Muslims have also urged the movie star to consider changing her lifestyle to suit the code of conducts prescribed by her new religion, Islam.
“I am sincerely happy for her and as a fellow Muslim I wish her a rewarding practice of religion of Islam,” Shakirah Adedo, a chartered accountant, said in response to Lizzy’s conversion.
“But I hope she recognizes the fact that Islam is a beautiful religion with codes of conducts.
“Beyond the news of her conversion, Lizzy may now have to be choosy about the role she takes in movie and her wears. Islam prescribes hijab for women. Islam calls for modesty. Will she abide by these?”
Lizzy is not the first Nigerian to hit headlines with news about her decision to embrace Islam.
Last July, the decision of Charity Uzoechina, a 25-year-old daughter of a pastor, conversion to Islam has attracted nationwide debate between Nigeria’s umbrella Christian and Muslim groups.
The conversion of Charity, the daughter of Pastor Raymond Uzoechina of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), has stirred a controversy about Islam acceptance in Nigeria’s mainly Christian South-eastern.
It also raised questions about freedom of religion in the volatile tribal region.
Nigeria, one of the world's most religiously committed nations, is divided between a Muslim north and a Christian south.
Muslims and Christians, who constitute 55 and 40 percent of Nigeria's 140 million population respectively, have lived in peace for the most part.
But ethnic and religious tensions have bubbled for years, fuelled by decades of resentment between indigenous groups, mostly Christian or animist, who are vying for control of fertile farmlands with migrants and settlers from the Hausa-speaking Muslim north.