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When bad people want to be Jewish

By Rebecca Dube, The Forward

Can someone be too evil to convert?

That’s one question raised by the reported conversion to Judaism of former Liberian dictator Charles Taylor, who is currently awaiting trial on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity in The Hague. Taylor’s wife, Victoria, told the BBC that the accused war criminal is “now a Jew. He’s practicing Judaism.”

What Conversion? Former Liberian dictator Charles Taylor, shown here as a rebel leader headed toward the capital of Monrovia in 1990, has embraced Judaism, according to his wife, Victoria.The authenticity of Taylor’s conversion is doubtful, to say the least. There is no evidence that he has been studying with a rabbi or that his conversion is anything but self-proclaimed. Victoria Taylor also told the BBC interviewer that her husband still believes in Christ’s divinity, so the former warlord seems to be as unclear on the basic tenets of Judaism as he is on the principles of international human rights.

But what if Taylor sincerely wanted to become Jewish? What if the former dictator – accused of creating an army of child soldiers who went on murderous rampages – actually, genuinely wanted to convert? Would any rabbi take him on as a student? Should they?

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