Actor Liam Neeson is known for his high-speed action roles and his voiceover work as the Jesus character “Aslan” in “The Chronicles of Narnia.” But this week, he’s making headlines for leading some journalists to question whether he’ll make a conversion from Catholicism to Islam. While working on his new film, “Taken 2,” in Istanbul, Turkey, Neeson says that Islamic prayer “got into his spirit.”
The Sun, a tabloid in the United Kingdom, quotes the actor, 59, as saying:
“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.
There are 4,000 mosques in the city. Some are just stunning and it really makes me think about becoming a Muslim.”
This is particularly striking, because Neeson was raised in Northern Ireland, where he was a devout Catholic. In fact, the actor was even named after a local priest, Sun reports.
In the past, the star has spoken about challenges he’s faced regarding his faith. In 2009, his wife, actress Natasha Richardson, tragically died in a skiing accident at the age of 45.
“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?,” he recently said. “I’m constantly reading books on God or the absence of God and atheism.”
You may recall that, back in 2010, Neeson came under fire for claiming that Aslan, the character in the Narnia films (he is the voice behind the giant feline) is not a symbol of Jesus Christ.
“Aslan symbolises a Christ-like figure but he also symbolises for me Mohammed, Buddha and all the great spiritual leaders and prophets over the centuries,” Neeson said. “That’s who Aslan stands for as well as a mentor figure for kids – that’s what he means for me.”
As you can imagine, these comments didn’t go over well among Christians fans of the film series.
It’s important to note that he didn’t definitively announce that he’ll be making a conversion. Instead, he said that certain elements of the Islamic faith — mainly prayer — cause him to think about such a change.
(H/T: NY Daily News)