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Hughes Muslim claim is denied; Prison conversion to Islam laughed off.

Byline: By STEPHEN HALLMARK stephen.hallmark@mrn.co.uk

THE family of disgraced former soccer star Lee Hughes have rubbished claims that he has converted to Islam while behind bars.

It has been reported that former West Bromwich Albion star Hughes, serving six years for causing death by dangerous driving, after drinking, had become a Muslim in prison.

But his dad Bill, of The Oval, Smethwick, yesterday laughed off the claims.

He said: "This story is not true."

The report said Hughes had taken part in a ceremony to convert to Islam after being befriended by Muslim prisoners and was praying barefoot five times a day.

He was also said to have renounced drugs and alcohol, which he blamed for his devastating fall from grace, and taken up reading the holy book the Koran.

Hughes, aged 29, was jailed last year after his powerful Mercedes ploughed into a Renault carrying father of four Douglas Graham, aged 56.

Mr Graham, from Coventry, was killed in the crash near Hughes's Meriden home. His wife Maureen, aged 52, died last December.

Hughes fled the scene of the crash. After he was sentenced last August he was sacked by West Bromwich Albion.

Reports in a daily newspaper said former fellow prisoner Rafaqat Hussain, aged 29, from Birmingham, claimed he introduced Hughes to the faith.

Mr Hussain said: "Drink was his downfall.

"He was troubled by what he had done but now seems a lot calmer.

"Lee said his wife's dad was a Muslim and started to ask questions. Some people didn't think he would stick at it, but he proved them wrong."

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'RENOUNCED ALCOHOL': Lee Hughes
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Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:May 4, 2005
Words:274
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