Sean Ali Stone

Sean Ali Stone Interview: CNN, Face Time, Feb 22, 2012

FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Iran and Islam both critical topics of the news right now. Barely a day goes by that they are not in the headlines. But add one film-maker from a very famous family to the mix and you get a fascinating story. We're talking about Sean Stone. His father is Oscar-winning director Oliver Stone and Sean is a filmmaker in his own right. But now it's his new faith that's getting a lot of attention. Sean, his dad, is Jewish, and mom is Christian, is now also a Shiite Muslim. He became a Muslim on Valentine's Day in Iran while working on a documentary there. The trip has given Sean an interesting perspective on Iran, its people, politics, and even its president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, which is why we're getting some Facetime right now with Sean Stone, he's joining us now from New York. Good to see you.

SEAN STONE: Thank you, Fredricka.

FREDRICKA WHITFIELD So Sean, what happened on this journey to Iran that then lured you to Islam?

SEAN STONE: Well, I wouldn't call it lure so much. You know, being there, seeing Islam in practice, I -- and having read Koran, having studied Islam at Oxford and Princeton both, I just feel that it's an extension of the Judeo-Christian heritage and Mohammed is a prophet in that same line going back to Abraham. So, why not simply accept it publicly? I stated it publically rather than holding it privately. That's the only thing that makes me a Muslim, actually.

FREDRICKA WHITFIELD So, you actually were interested in becoming a Muslim well before you even went to Iran?

SEAN STONE: It's not that I feel like I've become a Muslim. I don't feel any more Muslim than I am Christian or Jewish. I believe that I worship the same God I always have. And I have -- I reaffirmed my faith in that One God. And I think my purpose in this regard -- in the sense is to help explain Islam to Americans and to the West, hopefully to let them see that it's not a, you know, a religion of fanaticism. I mean, Muhammad Ali, one of our hero boxers of all time, was a Muslim. But right now, there's a lot of Islamophobia, and I just feel like it's important for me to accept that as well as my other beliefs in Judeo-Christianity and bridge them.

FREDRICKA WHITFIELD: So, what is it that you want people to have a better understanding about Islam that you think you'll be better equipped to kind of convey?

SEAN STONE: I'm not saying that I'm better equipped than anyone else to convey it, but to simply -- you know, to be a white face, first of all, it's important because as, you know, people think of Islam, they think of Semitic peoples, Arab peoples, or black people but very few white who are Muslim. But Christianity and Judaism come from the same region. And now, you know, they're white -- you know, that's white America. So, what's wrong with accepting Islam and also showing respect for that religion?

FREDRICKA WHITFIELD: OK. So, you're not denying or replacing your association with being Jewish or even Christian, but you're now incorporating the Muslim faith into that.


SEAN STONE: Well, as I stated actually at a press conference in Iran, I never converted to Islam. I accepted Mohammed as a continuation of the profits. So, by accepting that, you know, Mohammed's work was a continuation of that same tradition, I've always reaffirmed my belief in the One God. And so, however you choose to serve Him, however you choose to worship Him, whether -- even in Judaism and Christianity, we have different churches.
You can be a Catholic and, you know, there's a lot of anti- Catholicism, for example. Even, you know, when Kennedy became president, right, this country was very wary of it. Judaism as well, there's Orthodoxy and then there's liberal Jews. The same with Islam. You know, you can be a liberal Muslim who doesn't -- you know, doesn't stop to pray five times a day and you can be, you know, pray and show all your -- you know, all your devotions. So, it's really a question of do you believe in the one God? And then, are you willing to accept other people's forms of practice?

FREDRICKA WHITFIELD: And Sean, before I let you go, your Islamic name will be Ali. How will you use -- you use it?

SEAN STONE: I will be Sean Christopher Ali Stone.

FREDRICKA WHITFIELD: All right. Sean Christopher Ali Stone, thanks for your time. I appreciate it.

SEAN STONE: Thank you.

2012-05-17 20:52:39

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