Sean Stone, son of Oscar-winning U.S. filmmaker Oliver Stone, has converted to Islam while on a visit to Iran, the semi-official Fars news agency reported on Wednesday.
Sean Stone visited Iran’s historical city of Isfahan and went to the office of Shiite cleric Ayatollah Mohammad Nasseri Dowlatabadi where he recited the Shahada, the Muslim declaration of faith. According to Fars news, he also announced his change of name to Ali.
Born to a Jewish father and a Christian mother, Stone has not yet said why chose to convert to Islam. “The conversion to Islam is not abandoning Christianity or Judaism, which I was born with,” Stone said in an interview with AFP. “It means I have accepted Mohammad (pbuh) and other prophets,” he added. The 27-year-old, a filmmaker himself and a graduate from the Ivy League Princeton University, first visited the Islamic republic in September 2011 in connection with the making of a documentary. He said he needed to know more about the country’s culture and civilizations as well as get better acquainted with Iranian traditions and rituals. Upon his arrival to the U.S., Stone spoke about Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iran’s hard-liner president, in an interview with entertainment news website, The Wrap. “He did come to America to extend a hand. And there’s a lot of mistranslation, literally, I’ve seen it. Ahmadinejad will say something and it will be mistranslated,” he said. “A lot of this is bullsh**, mistranslation. It’s an aggressive attitude on both parts, mostly on the American side.” He returned to Iran in early February to attend the 30th annual Fajr International Film Festival. Stone referred to Iran as one of Asia’s major filmmaking centers saying that he “would like to introduce Persian culture and civilization to the West.” One Iranian filmmaker expressed dismay when he heard of Stone’s views. “This is insulting,” said Mazdak Taebi, who has been banned from travelling back to Iran because of his anti-regime statements. “So many people have died. People there are shaking. They’re scared. It’s a police system.” In December 2010 renowned Iran film directors Jafar Panahi and Mohammad Rasoulof, were each sentenced to six years in prison and barred from making films for 20 years. Rasoulof was freed last year but Panahi remains in jail. Also in late 2010, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s sister-in-law Lauren Booth, also converted to Islam in Iran, after having what she described as a “holy experience.”
By Sara Ghasemilee