Rock Star Sinead O'Connor Converts to Islam, Changes Her Name to Shuhada

Published October 26th, 2018 - 12:00 GMT
Sinead O'Connor performs live (Shutterstock)
Sinead O'Connor performs live (Shutterstock)

Sinead O'Connor has converted to Islam and changed her name to Shuhada which means 'martyrs' in Arabic.

The Irish rockstar, who was ordained a priest by a fringe Catholic group in the 1990s, announced the news on Twitter where she shared a pictured of her wearing a hijab.

The mother-of-four, who has struggled with her mental health, wrote: 'This is to announce that I am proud to have become a Muslim.'

She added: 'This is the natural conclusion of any intelligent theologian's journey. All scripture study leads to Islam. Which makes all other scriptures redundant. I will be given (another) new name. It will be Shuhada.'

She spelled her name with an apostrophe at the end, writing her full name as Shuhada' Davitt.

O'Connor also changed her twitter profile image to a Nike tick with the caption 'wear a hijab. Just do it.'

The singer said she was given her first hijab by her friend Elaine and 'got chills all over' her body when she put it on.

Last Friday O'Connor posted a video of herself singing the Islamic call to prayer called the Adhan.


She wrote: 'Here is my attempt at singing the Azan [sic]. I got some pronouncition [sic] wrong because emotions took me from my page…but there'll be hundreds of others onstage to come.'

O'Connor later added: 'Sorry re all the mistakes in my Azan…1st attempt. When I've practised it 30 times I'm Gonna make the world stop turning.'

Since announcing her conversion, O'Connor has been inundated with welcome messages from Muslims, she said.

At 11.30pm on Thursday she tweeted: 'Thank you so much to all my Muslim brothers and sisters who have been so kind as to welcome me to Ummah today on this page. You can't begin to imagine how much your tenderness means to me.'

O'Connor last changed her name in 2017 to Magda Davitt, saying in an interview that she wished to be 'free of parental curses'.

She was ordained a priest by the Irish Orthodox and Apostolic Church in the 1990s, shocking members of the Roman Catholic Church where women can't be priests.

O'Connor has had a fraught relationship with religion. In a July 2007 interview with Christianity Today, she stated that she considers herself a Christian and that 'God loves everybody.'

In an October 2002 interview, she credited her Christian faith in giving her the strength to live through and overcome the effects of her child abuse.

In 2011, she slammed the Catholic Church over the child sex abuse scandal, in an article for the Sunday Independent.

She labelled the Vatican as 'a nest of devils' and called for the establishment of an 'alternative church', saying that 'Christ is being murdered by liars' in the Vatican.

O'Connor was born in County Dublin in 1966 and rose to fame in the late 1980s with her debut album The Lion and the Cobra. She has since produced ten solo albums.

In August 2017, she sparked concerns with a powerful video from a Travelodge in New Jersey in which she said she was battling suicidal thoughts.

In the video filmed from the bed of her room in Hackensack, the mother-of-four said: 'I am now living in a Travelodge motel in the a**e end of New Jersey. I'm all by myself.

'And there's absolutely nobody in my life except my doctor, my psychiatrist - the sweetest man on earth, who says I'm his hero - and that's about the only f***ing thing keeping me alive at the moment... and that's kind of pathetic.

'I want everyone to know what it's like, that's why I'm making this video.

'Mental illness, it's like drugs, it doesn't give a s*** who you are, and equally what's worse, it's the stigma, it doesn't give a s*** who you are.

'Suddenly all the people who are supposed to be loving you and taking care of you are treating you like s***. It's like a witch hunt.'

The troubled Irish singer-songwriter said she was 'fighting like all the millions of people' battling a mental illness.

One of those who offered her a hand after her public breakdown was Russell Brand.

O'Connor responded by sending him a sexually explicit plea for the comedian turned DJ to give her a 'good rogering'.

O'Connor has spoken previously about how she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder more than a decade ago and has struggled with depression and post traumatic stress for years.

She told Oprah Winfrey in 2007 that before her bipolar diagnosis she had struggled with thoughts of suicide and overwhelming fear.

She said at the time that medication had helped her find more balance, but 'it's a work in progress.'

O'Connor said in later interviews that she was misdiagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2011.

The mother-of-four sparked a police search in May 2016 when she failed to return from a bike ride in suburban Chicago.

About two hours after she left on the ride, a rambling message was posted on her official Facebook page that referred to emotional trauma she had been through over the years, prompting fears she had disappeared to take her own life.

She was found by police later that day at an unidentified hotel.

O'Connor, who is a mother to four children from different relationships, took to Facebook in 2015 to say she had taken an overdose at a hotel somewhere in Ireland.

Irish police later said she had been found safe. The next month, she posted on Facebook that she had been detained in a hospital for mental health evaluation.

Comedian Arsenio Hall dropped a $5million lawsuit against O'Connor in 2017 after she apologised and retracted comments she made on Facebook that he had supplied drugs to Prince.

In 2015, the Nothing Compares 2 U singer said she was ordered to receive hospital treatment in Ireland under the mental health act because she wouldn't agree to supervised access to her son Shane, then 11.

She wrote on Facebook: 'So get this development. And welcome to Ireland. Where it is still a crime to be a woman. Last week I get the all clear from social services. That I'm a perfectly fit mother.

'Today I get detained against my will under the mental health act by St Patrick's Hospital, and Tusla [Ireland's children and family agency] because I refused to be subjected to the humiliation of 'supervised access', as if I were ever a harm to my child.

'Two men arrive. Commence telling me what I may say or not say when I see my child. I'm to smile for example. Not to howl crying, as I am once they tell me this is not a f***ing joke. For real. I refuse.

'I say I wish to leave the hospital. I'm then given a leaflet. A f***ing leaflet! And told I'm now being detained against my will.'

The singer went on to threaten to 'smash' the hospital and anyone 'even remotely responsible' for what has happened to her 

She added: 'I'm ready to smash the f***ing place to pieces. and every f***er who is even remotely responsible for doing this to my son and me.

'May God forgive you because I never will. I don't care who you are, You're scum. And you're dead to me.'

It came as she was locked in a custody battle with Donal Lunny, Shane's father.

O'Connor is a vocal supporter of a united Ireland, and has called on the nationalist Sinn Féin party to be 'braver'. 

Following the Brexit referendum in 2016, O'Connor wrote on Facebook 'Ireland is officially no longer owned by Britain'. 


This article has been adapted from its original source.

© Associated Newspapers Ltd.

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