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Pop superstar, and former One Direction member, Zayn Malik has announced that he has left the religion of Islam.
Malik told Vogue Magazine that he doesn’t “believe any of it” when asked about his reported Muslim faith.
British tabloids had touted him as the biggest Muslim star but he said that they were mistaken.
Zayn is routinely touted as Britain’s most famous Muslim. Does he count himself as especially religious? “To be honest, I’ve never spoken publicly about what my religious beliefs are. I’m not professed to be a Muslim.” Would he call himself a Muslim now? “No, I wouldn’t,” he says thoughtfully. “I believe whatever people’s religious beliefs are is between them and whoever or whatever they’re practicing. For me, I have a spiritual belief of there is a god. Do I believe there’s a hell? No.”
He worries that even discussing faith “becomes a religious fucking debacle of philosophers. I just want to keep it between me and whatever I believe. I feel like that makes me move through life in a nice way. If I behave well, I will get treated well. That’s it. I don’t believe you need to eat a certain meat that’s been prayed over a certain way, I don’t believe you need to read a prayer in a certain language five times a day. I don’t believe any of it. I just believe if you’re a good person everything is going to go right for you.” Was it easy to drop his religion, with his family? “Really easy for me,” he says, nodding. “With my mum and dad, they were always there to educate us – I did go to mosque, I did study Islam – but they gave us the option so you could choose for yourself.” But he’s glad of his childhood years at the mosque. “There’s definitely beautiful parts to every religion,” he says, pleased to have built his life around the tenets of Islam.
These sentiments might sound pretty punchy, but he is speaking softly and kindly. He’s smart – certainly smarter than your average uni student on spliff number two, which makes sense. That was, in many ways, his fate. He was in his first year of A levels when One Direction came calling, studying English, which he still adores. “I did well. I got an A in my first year,” he says, touchingly proud. He keeps saying he’ll go back to study and was “recently looking up courses”. He seems more like an undergrad than an internationally swooned-over famous person. Though his small talk is a giveaway. “She was travelling around in a suitcase,” he says, eyes agog, of his pal Taylor Swift’s ability to avoid the paparazzi.
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