The Staggers 15 March 2010 Amis: I wish my sister had converted to Islam Novelist accused of Islamophobia says the religion could have saved his sister. Print HTML Martin Amis came close to making an apology for his previous comments about Islam at the Dubai Festival of Literature last week. Interviewed for the National, the region's excellent English-language newspaper, Amis declared that he wished his late sister Sally, an alcoholic who died in 2000, had converted to Islam instead of Catholicism. "She might still be alive because of the continence of Islam, the austerity, the demands it makes on you," he said. "I just sort of helplessly think it every now and then. She would only be 56 now and she'd still be here." He also goes into detail about why he thinks "Islamism" is a "useless word" and clarifies just what he has said in the past that has led some to brand him an Islamophobe and a racist. You can find the full article here. The National also reports that on stage, in conversation with the broadcaster Paul Blezard, Amis added: "More than 95 per cent of Muslims are horrified by this ridiculous, nihilistic wing and should not be connected verbally or otherwise with these extremists," and that he "respected Muhammad, not Mohammed Atta", referring to one of the 11 September 2001 attackers. His detractors may not feel that any of these statements lets Amis off the hook. But, as the interview shows, he is evidently keen to clear up a host of misconceptions about himself. At least the vexed question of his teeth didn't come up . . . Follow the New Statesman team on Twitter. › Compare and contrast Sholto Byrnes is a Contributing Editor to the New Statesman From only £1 per week Subscribe More Related articles I'm far from convinced by Cameron's plans for Syria The twelve tricks in George Osborne's spending review It’s been 25 years since the Super Nintendo and Sega Mega Drive were released – what’s changed?