Sun, Aug 10, 2008
The Star
Jeanne Abdullah: I am proud to be a Muslim

KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA: The Prime Minister's wife, Datin Seri Jeanne Abdullah who converted to Islam more than 30 years ago, said she is happy with the religion.

Describing Islam as a "beautiful religion", Jeanne said she had no regrets ever since she converted at the age of 23 for marriage.

"I am proud to be a Muslim. It is about being good and doing good things," she said yesterday at the inaugural national-level Muslim Convention.

"My most favourite time is when Pak Lah (Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi) reads the Quran with me during subuh (dawn). I read it in English and he reads and explains to me."

Jeanne and Abdullah married in June 2007.

"I enjoy reading the Quran without rushing and relish every word," she said.

Previously known as Jeanne Danker, she was born in 1953 to a Catholic Portugese-Eurasian family.

Her mother was understanding when she told her she wanted to convert to Islam and advised her that if she wanted to be a Muslim, she should be a good one and talk to someone who could help her.

"I practised being a good Catholic. I went to church, attended catechism classes and read the scriptures," she said.

"My mum and dad were happy that I was happy and accepted that I wanted to be a Muslim. We became closer after that. She passed away 21 years ago," she added.

Jeanne encouraged Muslims not to forget their parents even if they were of a different religion and to have a new zest to share the religion with others.

"Islam is not about race or where you come from but it is about doing good."

At the event, Jeanne presented Anugerah Saudara Muslim Cemerlang award to long-time converts Toh Puan Dr Aishah Ong and Ann Wan Seng @ Ann Abdullah in recognition of their contributions. Also present was Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

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Jeanne Abdullah: I am proud to be a Muslim