After nearly six years behind bars, disgraced football great O.J. Simpson now wants to become a Muslim!
The National ENQUIRER has learned Simpson became interested in Islam through fellow inmates, and his current “cellie,” Smoke, put him in touch with retired pro boxer Mike Tyson, a devout Muslim.
“O.J. and Mike have been communicating the past couple of months,” said a source. “Mike has been encouraging him to study the faith and read the Koran.”
Simpson, 67, has been locked up in Nevada’s Lovelock Correction Center since December 2008 on an armed robbery and kidnapping conviction.
Sources say the Heisman Trophy winner turned to religion when his appeal for a new trial was denied late last year by a Nevada judge, leaving him disillusioned and bitter.
“O.J. really thought that he was going to be successful in a bid for a new trial and eventually be released from prison,” added the insider.
“But now he’s not eligible for parole until late 2017, which has angered him.”
Meanwhile, the former football star’s fascination with Islam is a startling about-face.
As The ENQUIRER exclusively reported in October 2013, Simpson was planning to become a TV evangelist and launch a worldwide crusade called “Holy Safari.”
Simpson’s manager Norman Pardo told The ENQUIRER that Simpson found God in prison and had been ministering to fellow inmates.
He reportedly even converted a white supremacist to Christianity.
“O.J. is very religious now, and he’s been counseling other inmates with Bible studies for months,” Pardo said at the time.
“When I talk to him on the phone, all he wants to discuss is religion. He’s obsessed!”
Simpson was spurred on by watching televangelist Frederick Price, whose faith ministry broadcasts reach more than 15 million followers weekly.
But sources scoffed at Simpson’s plan, pointing out that many people still believe he murdered his ex-wife Nicole Brown and her friend Ron Goldman in 1994, and would be unlikely to join his flock.
Now insiders say that Simpson has turned to Islam instead!
While he studies the Koran and occasionally wears the traditional Kufi prayer cap, sources divulged that Simpson had a tough time observing the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which requires all Muslims to fast.
During the fast, devout Muslims are forbidden to eat or drink between sunrise and sunset.
Muslim prisoners at Lovelock kept their meals, which are delivered to their cells in Styrofoam containers, and ate them after sunset, said one insider.
“But O.J. didn’t quite make it through the entire fasting process,” added the insider. “
He cheated during the day, and bought snacks from the prison canteen. But he’s really serious about converting to Islam.
“O.J. even made himself a prayer rug for his prison cell. He prays on occasion but not on a regular basis.
“He really likes the idea that upon converting to Islam, all of his previous sins are forgiven. O.J. has a lot to be forgiven for.”