What’s making headlines today? Only that 23-year-old Bostonian Jennifer Grout has converted to Islam! Jen shot to fame on the Arabic version of Arabs Got Talent last year. Jennifer didn’t win the competition , but was runner up to the winner, dance troupe “Sima.”
The young American singer can’t speak a word of Arabic, yet sings renditions of some of the top classical Arabic hits with an almost-perfect pronunciation.
Now, a new YouTube video of the rising star has surfaced the Internet. The posted video shows her declaring, in the presence of two men, the shahada,  the declaration of faith that is one of the five pillars of Islam. In the shahada, the person states that “there is no God but Allah and Mohammad [PBUH] is His prophet”.
However, Jennifer told Tabloid! that she hasn’t gone to the mosque to officially document her conversion.
Where did the mysterious video come from? Grout explained to Tabloid! that the video is a scene from a Moroccan film she took part in before auditioning for AGT.
“Actually the video that everyone has seen is part of a Moroccan film I made before my performance aired on Arabs Got Talent.”
“And I originally was upset, and mostly scared, that it ended up on the Internet, because I hadn’t even gotten the chance to tell my family and closest friends about Islam before there were headlines everywhere saying I’d converted. However, now that it’s out there, maybe it’s a positive thing — I am not ashamed of what I believe in,” she added.
A newly “Muslim” Jennifer revealed that she is currently praying five times a day, as required in Islam, and is giving more to charity, as part of Islam’s “Zakat.” Jen will also be fasting in Ramadan this summer.
“Those are the most important things, and of course I’m trying to educate myself about it, to know more about the meaning of the Quran, Islam’s history... I read somewhere that Islam is not a state of being, but a process of becoming, and that really rings true for me,” she said.
But we think there must be an even bigger reason for her conversion; yep, it’s her Moroccan fiance! Two years after being an atheist, and as someone who thought religion was “more harmful than good,” the singer met her fiance in Morocco, and the rest was history.
He is, she says, “the most courageous, persistent and loving person I know... I admired him, and so I wanted to make the relationship work — he being Muslim, one of the biggest factors in doing that was to at least understand Islam. By making an effort to understand and opening my mind to it, suddenly strange and amazing things started happening to me, like huge coincidences and feelings/sensations I’d never had before. That’s how my “process of becoming” originally started. So it is a fairly recent thing for me.”
Young Grout lives and works in Marrakech with her fiancee, a Berber musician, with whom she performs. Jen regularly performs Arabic music solo and with her fiancee at parties, weddings and at a riad, (Riad Kniz, an old house in Marrakesh converted into a hub for traditional cultural activities).