In the British Vogue, Giles Hattersley writes of Zayn Malik:
...it’s a simple “Zayn” these days, ever since the 25-year-old boyband survivor from Bradford with perfect hair and poptastic falsetto dispensed with his surname and went fully Cher. That was a year after he fled One Direction, in March 2015, when the world’s most successful group was at the hormone-addled apex of its fame. For a brief moment, Zayn was the YouTube generation’s answer to John Lennon (or Geri Halliwell, at least), devastating millions of fans across the globe with his shotgun exit, then thrilling them a year later with a record-breaking, Billboard-topping debut album. He moved to the States, clocked up billions of streams, dueted with Taylor Swift, shot campaigns for Versus and endured the peculiar menace of having a dozen paparazzi camped outside his door every day. He also became an international figurehead for biracial success and anti-Islamophobia. And I mentioned the hair, right?
While he's "routinely touted as Britain’s most famous Muslim," he told the interviewer that he believes in God, but not in Hell, and that he prefers to keep his beliefs private and wouldn't call himself a Muslim today. He simply wants to be "a good person" and "behave well," and he hopes that this will result in his being "treated well" so that "everything is going to go right" for him.
He says: "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."
Some may see this as lending new meaning to the lyrics to his song "iT's YoU" (you can listen to it on Apple Music or buy it on iTunes):
I won't, I won't, I won't
Cover the scars
I'll let 'em bleed
So my silence
So my silence won't
Be mistaken for peace
That is, we cannot consent to let others continue to hurt us, and if they do hurt us, they cannot expect us to take it silently. When we acknowledge what is hurting, we may be seen arguing (not keeping the peace), but that argument is essential to honesty and survival. For some, this may describe how they feel affected by religion.
This week @zaynmalik has received a lot of online abuse from Muslims around the world for coming out as #ExMuslim. Whatever your music tastes, we'd appreciate attempts to counteract that hate with a show of support & respect for his honesty & his courage in being true to himself. pic.twitter.com/fJlNlMV3sX— Secular Students (@SecularStudents) November 13, 2018