Monday, November 21, 2005

Australian model belted for fake Muslim makeover

Khaleej 21 November 2005

SYDNEY - Australian underwear model and convicted drug user Michelle Leslie was Monday urged to come clean about the claimed conversion to Islam she paraded before the Indonesian court that tried her.

Leslie was released from a Bali jail at the weekend because her three-month sentence was matched by the time she had spent in custody after being arrested for possession of two ecstasy tablets.

Federation of Islamic Councils President Ameer Ali said that going back to wearing next to nothing for photo shoots would prove that her claimed embrace of Islam was just a stunt.

“She can’t have it both ways,” Ali told Sky News. “If she wants to be a Muslim, she has to be very modest in her dress sense, modest in her language, modest in the way that she looks - everything. But if she wants to carry on with the way that she was living before, she must come out clearly and say ’look, this was a stunt I used and I am not a Muslim anymore’.”

The 24-year-old Eurasian beauty wore a Muslim veil during her trial in Bali, but was back to skimpy singlets and stilettos on her release.

She is in Singapore on a shopping spree while her agents hawk a “tell-all” story around Australian media outlets for a rumoured five-figure sum.

Sean Mulcahy, a publicist for Leslie, said the convicted criminal was hoping to cash in on her newfound celebrity before returning to a modelling career.

“She has her own firm belief of her religion and she practises it as she sees fit,” Mulcahy said. He also said marriage to her live-in Sydney boyfriend was not on the cards. “They are in love and very much looking forward to each other’s company, but they are not going to get rushed into something that they are not ready for just yet,” he said.

Mulcahy said Australian Justice Minister Chris Ellison was in error when he said proceeds of crime laws would prevent Leslie from profiting from her story.

“With all due respect to the minister, he doesn’t know anything about this matter, he is only quoting the law and I wouldn’t expect him to do anything less,” Mulcahy said.

Since her release and exit from Indonesia, Leslie’s minders have been scathing about Australia’s big neighbour and the standard of jail accommodation.

“She’s been in jail for three months, pouring cold water from a bucket over her head as a shower and using a toilet that not even a dog should use,” Mulcahy said.

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