Sean Stone hopes Islam conversion aids understanding

Dubai (Reuters) - Sean Stone, son of the acclaimed film director Oliver Stone and adopted friend of Iran, hopes his conversion to Islam will help Americans understand more about the faith, the Iranian media has reported.

The 27-year-old documentary maker became a Muslim on Tuesday during a ceremony in the Iranian city of Isfahan, during which he adopted the Islamic name, Ali.

He travelled to Iran to produce a film about Rumi, the 13th century mystic Persian poet, and has plans to work with Iranian film producers.

"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."

Asked how his conversion would be reported in America, Stone said he was not famous and it would have little effect on his life back home.

"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."

Iranian media has widely covered Sean Stone's conversion and his well-documented Iran-friendly comments.

Stone said 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."

The United States and its allies suspect Iran is seeking to develop nuclear weapons capability under cover of a declared civilian nuclear energy program. Iran says it is enriching uranium only for civilian purposes.

The United States and European Union expressed cautious optimism on Friday over prospects that Iran may be willing to engage major powers in new talks on the nuclear issue, but underscored any new negotiations must be sustained and focused.

On Thursday, Stone received an award from Iran's ministry of culture to mark the end of Tehran's international Fajr film festival.

(Reporting By Marcus George, editing by Paul Casciato)


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