Currently, there are an estimated 1.8 billion Muslims in the world, which is roughly 24 percent of the global citizenry. This makes up a majority of the population in 49 countries.
Supermodel model Gigi Hadid and British-Pakistani singer Zayn Malik are an on-off again duo that sparks people’s curiosity. Although the former One Direction singer, who was brought up in a Muslim family, had previously revealed he “does not ascribe to any religion’s doctrines,” Gigi and her sister Bella Hadid do.
Whether they’ve passively spoken about their faith or are well-known for practicing Islam, here are western celebrities who have confirmed they either grew up Muslim or converted to the religion in recent years.
Gigi and Bella Hadid
The Palestinian-American sisters follow the same faith as their father, Mohamed Hadid, who arrived in the US as a refugee at the age of 14. “He was always religious, and he always prayed with us,” Bella said of her father in 2017.
The younger Hadid sister was especially vocal about her faith when U.S. President Donald Trump called for a travel ban, targeting people from numerous Muslim-majority countries. In an interview with Porter magazine, she described herself as ‘proud to be a Muslim’, confirming her faith publicly for the first time.
Since converting in 2019, the Irish Nothing Compares 2 U singer has started to don hijab and often shares her knowledge about Islam on social media.
The actor-comedian was born to a Tamil Muslim family from Tamil Nadu, India. Though he was raised by Muslim parents, Ansari admitted many times that he’s not ‘so’ religious. His Netflix series Master of None sometimes explores the star’s relationship with his religion.
Janet and Jermaine Jackson
The late Michael Jackson’s younger sister and singer Janet married Qatari businessman Wissam Al Mana and reportedly converted to Islam. The All For You songstress then gave birth to the duo’s son, Eissa, a Muslim name. She has also been seen donning a hijab on multiple occasions with her husband.
While Janet doesn’t speak much about her personal life, her brother, Jermaine, declared his faith a long time ago. Like the rest of his family, Jermaine was raised as a Jehovah’s Witness. In 1989, he converted to Islam after a trip to Bahrain in which he was impressed by the local children’s devotion to their religion.
The human rights lawyer and Hollywood actor George Clooney’s gorgeous wife is from a Muslim background in Lebanon and according to reports is still a Muslim. The duo help fund Syrian refugee schools in Lebanon and also previously described actions against Palestinians as ‘genocide’.
During his incarceration for rape between 1992 and 1995, former heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson converted to Islam, taking the name Malik Abdul Aziz.
“I’m very grateful to be a Muslim. Allah doesn’t need me, I need Allah,” he once to said to Fox News. In 2010, Tyson traveled to Mecca to perform Umrah, also meeting Mufti Ismail Menk.
Renowned singer and songwriter Akon grew up Muslim in Senegal and explained that entering the music industry was considered problematic by a number of people in his hometown.
Victoria’s Secret model Shanina Shaik was a raised a Muslim by her Saudi-Pakistani father and Lithuanian-Australian mother.
The American television doctor Mehmet Oz, the son of Turkish immigrants, once admitted that growing up Muslim was not as easy as a child. “I’ve struggled a lot with my Muslim identity. As a Turk, growing up in America with one parent from one side of the religious wall and one parent from the other side, and of course, America clearly supporting the secular background, I found myself tugged more and more towards the spiritual side of the religion,” he said.