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Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Madonna Practicing Islam? Singer Reveals She's Studying Muslim Holy Text

Madonna made waves in the mid-1990s when she began studying
the Kabbalah, a Jewish esoteric tradition that draws from the
mystical and prophetic visions described throughout the Torah.
Now she's causing uproar with the news that she's begun studying
the Koran, the sacred text of Islam, joining celebs like Janet
Jackson, Dave Chappelle, and Yasiin Bey (Mos Def), who
reportedly also practice Islam. Is this a Madonna-worthy publicity
stunt or an earnest attempt to deepen her spirituality?
Madonna is no stranger to scandal, from her famous cone bra to
the Britney Spears kiss to her highly sexualized music and
performances. It's little wonder her religious beliefs would catch
the public's attention too, but perhaps Madonna's fame isn't the
only ingredient in this buzz. Sure, she's a mega celebrity and her
every move will be of interest to the media. But religion is a
divisive topic, and, unfortunately in a post-9/11 U.S., Islam is a
particularly sensitive faith to discuss.
Observers might criticize Madonna for having a casual
relationship to her faith or they might say her interest is inspired
more by romance than by belief (her boyfriend, Brahim Zaibat,
apparently practices Islam, as well). But viewed in a more
forgiving light, Madonna's statement might be an important step
toward religious literacy and tolerance.
In an article for Harper's Bazaar, Madonna writes:
I am building schools for girls in Islamic countries and
studying the Qur'an. I think it is important to study all the
holy books. As my friend Yaman always tells me, a good
Muslim is a good Jew, and a good Jew is a good Christian,
and so forth. I couldn't agree more. To some people this is
a very daring thought.
She goes on to say the "idea of being daring has become the norm
for me," which suggests that, a) Madonna believes Islam is
inherently "daring" or b) she knows any major life change or
conversion she undergoes will naturally seem daring to her
audience. Either way, it's a bold statement that we hope Madonna
carries through with the utmost tact and respect for the 1.5
billion practitioners of Islam worldwide.

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