Snooker champ not Muslim after all

Former world snooker champion Ronnie O'Sullivan has dismissed reports he ditched Roman Catholicism for Islam.

    Ronnie's appearance at a London mosque and his mother's comments were misleading

    Nicknamed "The Rocket" for the speed in which he can clear a snooker table, O’Sullivan has shown little of his famed speed when it comes to denying month-old rumours.

    He said his visit to a London mosque in September had been misinterpreted.
      
    "I went along to a mosque because I'm interested in Islam, but I didn't know anyone would be interested in converting me.”

    Wrong impression

    Speaking to journalists on Monday, O’Sullivan said there had been some confusion and confirmed he was not a Muslim.

    "I'm the kind of person who doesn't want to offend, and I just thought I'd keep everyone happy"

    Ronnie O'Sullivan
    2001 snooker champion

    “However, I am privileged with the friendship of Muslims who have been there for me and I value as true friends. Perhaps I've been naive and given people the wrong impression, and if I have I'm sorry," he said.
      
    The former world champion is a friend of boxer Prince Nasim Hamid, a Muslim, and has expressed his interest in Islam.

    But the champ has also publicly expressed his interest in Buddhism and Christianity too.
      
    The controversial star, whose father is serving a life term for murder, has suffered from depression and drug abuse. 
      
    What went wrong

    The misunderstanding began when Muslims greeted O’Sullivan on a Friday visit to a mosque, many assumed he had come to convert and the snooker star was brought to the front of the mosque.

    "They were very friendly, and in my ignorance I thought it was just a social thing - their way of welcoming a stranger," he said.

    But once The Rocket caught on to what was going on, he felt too embarrassed to let the worshippers know that he was just visiting.

    "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."

    What he didn't explain was who told a UK newspaper: "Ronnie is a lot better in himself since he converted. I hope it will steady him."

    SOURCE: AFP


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