DUBAI - Sean Stone, the son of Oscar-winning director Oliver Stone, hopes his conversion to Islam earlier this week would help better understanding about his faith among Americans, Reuters reported on Friday, February 17.
"It's a mistake to believe that Islam is antagonistic towards Judaism and Christianity, he told the ISNA news agency.
"What we need is to understand each other's beliefs and to establish dialogue."
The 27-year-old pronounced the Shahadah (proclamation of faith) in the Iranian city of Isfahan last Tuesday.
Sean, whose famous father is Jewish and mother is Christian, did not say why he reverted to Islam.
Iran's Fars news agency said he had become a Shiite and taken the Muslim first name Ali.
Believing his conversion to Islam would have little effect on his life back home, the new Muslim celebrity said he prays it would allow Americans better understanding of Islam.
"The most important thing is I hope I can help Americans to understand the true nature of Islam," he said.
"I feel good when I enter a mosque. I believe there is only one God and with this view it is not important whether you are Muslim, Christian or Jewish."
Since 9/11, US Muslims, estimated between six to eight million, have become sensitized to an erosion of their civil rights, with a prevailing belief that America was targeting their faith.
A report by CAIR, the University of California and Berkeley's Center for Race and Gender said that Islamophobia in the US is on the rise.
A US survey had also revealed that the majority of Americans know very little about Muslims and their faith.
A recent Gallup poll had found that 43 percent of Americans Nationwide admitted to feeling at least a little prejudice against Muslims.
Reverting to Islam while being in Iran, Stone's son urged the Persian country to disregard the West criticism over its nuclear program.
He added the best Iran could do with regard to the tensions surrounding the country over its controversial nuclear program was not to look to the West.
"Pay attention to the east, and work with its partners like China," he said.
"Try to industrialize the country and bring life to its economy."
World powers led by the United States accuse Iran of masking a weapons drive with what Tehran says is a purely civilian atomic program.
Iran says it is pursuing nuclear technology purely for the peaceful goal of generating electricity.
Sean, who studied history at Princeton, has launched a coproduction company to make movies based on Iranian history and culture.
He said in September that he wants to make films in Iran, "because they're the biggest filmmakers in the Middle East, I'm very international-minded."
His father has also happily taken political positions often seen as outside the American mainstream, by defending Cuban leader Fidel Castro and anti-American Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez.
Reproduced with permission from OnIslam.net