Saturday, 11 May 2013

Michelle Leslie, Convert to Islam …

Convert to Islam … Michelle Leslie

MICHELLE Leslie, the Sydney underwear model facing drugs charges in Bali who made her name wearing next to nothing, has declared herself a Muslim and adopted a burqa-style Islamic outfit covering her body from head to toe.

Wearing black pants, shirt and a Muslim headdress with netting covering her eyes as she was led from her police holding cell to meet with her new legal team yesterday, the 24-year-old Antz Pantz model made it clear her week in the Bali lock-up had inspired a new devotion. "Michelle as a Muslim made the decision to wear the hijab (head-covering) to find solace with God, not for any other purpose," family spokesman Sean Mulcahy said yesterday.

However, her Australian solicitor Ross Hill, who is working with Ms Leslie's team of five Indonesian lawyers, earlier said the veil was intended to shield his client from media attention. "That (the outfit) is just something that we all thought about just to keep her covered, you know, we're just trying to keep things down," he said.

Ms Leslie, who is of Australian and Filipina heritage, regularly models underwear and swimwear, and last year appeared in little more than body paint at a raunchy photo shoot.

Mr Mulcahy would not comment on how long Ms Leslie had been a Muslim or whether her career in modelling conflicted with her beliefs.

Leslie dropped out of Adelaide Catholic private school, Sacred Heart College, at 15 to pursue a full-time modelling career.

Ms Leslie has shrouded her face and upper body with a sarong since her arrest at an open-air party in Bali, when police found two small pink pills thought to be ecstasy in her handbag.

Hasan Ali, the Bali chief of the Indonesian Council of Islamic scholars, said everybody of religion was free to practise it as they saw fit. "But if it's a lie," he added, "it's a sin."

Mr Mulcahy said Ms Leslie's parents had been advised not to come to Bali, and the model's friend, Norah Cullen, was comforting her.

Ms Leslie faces a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison for possession of a psychotropic drug.

Meanwhile, police said random urine tests on nightclubbers and party-goers in Bali had yet to net any foreigners.

National police drug directorate deputy director Indradi Tanos said it was possible that foreigners could be arrested and prosecuted as the sweep broadened.

"It has happened to Indonesian citizens. It has proceeded to the court," he said. "They (foreigners) could be deported, but the procedure is still being decided," he said.

Foreign Minister Alexander Downer warned that Australians who tested positive in Indonesia would be arrested and "almost certainly" face a jail term.


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