Yes, Liam Neeson, the actor who lends his voice talents to the movies based on C. S. Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia series, is considering leaving the religion of his Irish Catholic upbringing and switching allegiances. According to the article, Liam "was recently filming in Turkish city Istanbul and became fascinated with the Muslim faith during his stay. Speaking to The Sun, he said: 'The Call to Prayer happens five times a day and for the first week it drives you crazy, and then it just gets into your spirit and it's the most beautiful, beautiful thing".
Well, speaking as someone who has lived in Istanbul for a couple of months and who has lived in Saudi Arabia for a couple of years, the "azan", or call to prayer, sounds different in different places. He is correct that it is difficult to get used to, and quite startling at first. He is also correct that the azan can sound quite beautiful in Istanbul. It starts is from mosques far out in the distance, then washes over the entire city like a wave, and, especially during the evening prayer, has a haunting kind of sound to it which literally sounded to me like the moaning of ghosts in a lamentable sort of wail. It wasn't something I found particularly stirring, it was more of a bother than anything else, and a reminder of the hold fantasy has over the minds of much of the world's people, and knowing what it means (Allahu akbar x4 for starters, god is great, god is great, god is great, god is great... nauseating!) didn't do it any favors either, but I can definitely understand why Liam would be moved by it.
In KSA (Kingdom of Saudi Arabia) the story is quite different. The speakers blare out from every corner, the guys doing the calling seem intent on making the call as ugly as possible, and there is no haunting beauty to Riyadh. Istanbul is a gorgeous city of multi-colored apartments everywhere you look overlooking a sparkling sea, whereas Riyadh is a deathly-dry, stiflingly-dusty, boilingly-hot desert almost completely devoid of life. If Liam had happened to be doing filming for his movie there instead of Istanbul, he might not have considered Islam as an alternative to Catholicism.
But there is hope! Liam says "I was reared a Catholic but I think every day we ask ourselves, not consciously, what are we doing on this planet? What's it all about? I'm constantly reading books on God or the absence of God and atheism."
So he has been thinking about the deeper issues for some time now, and is looking for something to give him the answers his Catholicism failed to provide. I have been thinking, perhaps I should write him a letter expressing why I think atheism is the right choice, and why choosing Islam would be a mistake. Anyone else feel like having Aslan on our side? We could send him a letter signed by many A|N members. I just can't wait to hear what the Narnia people have to say about this. Will they protest giving the voice of their precious Jesus figure in Lewis' fantasies, a barely-concealed attempt at providing the Christian myths to younger readers, to someone who converts to either Islam or atheism (or de-converts, whatever)? Narnia will never be the same.
It is a terrible thought that in these terrorism infested days anyone wants to be a Muslim for superficial reasons. Sometime back, one well known hollywood actress adopted Hinduism along with her children and named them after Hindu gods. It is pertrubing why some westerners are attracted to other religions. There are many westerners who studied Hinduism deeply, like Max Muller for example, and loved it but did not convert to Hinduism. Converting to another religion without having full knowledge about what it means, indicates intellectual incapacity.