Charles Taylor Has Become a Jew, His Wife Says

Former warlord being tried at the Hague for alleged crimes against humanity.

ByABC News
May 4, 2009, 1:38 PM

June 9, 2009— -- Former Liberian president Charles Taylor, on trial in the Hague for alleged war crimes committed during the civil war in Sierra Leone, has adopted Judaism, one of his wives said, adding that Judaism is all they talked about during her recent visit with him at the Hague.

"He has decided to become a Jew. And he wants to follow the true religion according to him. He wants to know deeply about God," Mrs. Victoria Taylor told BBC radio.

Mrs. Taylor said her husband found Judaism only after his trial began.

"When he got to The Hague, he got to know that he really, really wanted to be a Jew. And he wanted to convert to Judaism. And that's what he has done… He wants to know deeply about God and all about creation, and he wants to serve God accordingly and immediately," she said.

Mrs. Taylor said that while her husband has questions about the teachings of Christianity, he still believes in Christ: "He wants to follow the two religions," she said.

The former warlord, who served as Liberia's president from 1997 to 2003, is charged by the Special Court for Sierra Leone with 11 counts of war crimes, crimes against humanity and other serious violations of international humanitarian law committed in Sierra Leone during the country's roughly 10-year conflict that officially ended in 2002.

Taylor, the first former African head of state to appear before an international war crimes tribunal, has denied all of the 11 charges against him.

Asked if her husband believes his newfound faith will help his defense in court, Mrs Taylor suggested that he does.

"Oh yes, I have seen a lot of transformation in my husband," she said, "and I know he truly wants to serve God with all his heart, all his mind and all his might."

When asked if Taylor has admitted to having done wrong and if he is seeking forgiveness, Mrs Taylor said she has not discussed the matter with her husband.

"To be honest with you, I have never raised that question with him,' she said. "I have never talked to him about that. I know he has a lot of regret concerning all that happened during his presidency …and in the war... We don't talk in detail concerning that."