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17 Celebs You Didn’t Know Were Muslims

Cynthia Brooke

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In these last years, Islam has been related to several important events, for instance, 9/11, the rise of ISIS, the anti-refugee sentiments in Europe, and certain anti-Muslim postures in the US produced by some presidential measures taken in the last decade. In this spiral of confrontations and polemics, people have forgotten that some famous people, from Muhammad Ali to Aziz Ansari are actually Muslims. You won’t believe there are many other Muslims in the showbiz world.

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Dave Chappelle

Who would ever imagine that this comedic genius is a Muslim? However, Chappelle is not a strict practitioner. He actually smokes, drinks, and eats pork; these things are forbidden in Islam. He converted to this religion in 1998 but he hasn’t too evident about his adopted faith except calling it “a beautiful thing”. Nevertheless, nobody can deny his talent and cool attitude.

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Cat Stevens

The British singer-songwriter was born in a largely Christian family, but he began questioning this religion and decided to explore other faiths. Then, he adopted Islam and feels no regrets about it. Cat, or Yusuf Islam after his conversion, is a devout Muslim who has shares his Islamist political views and believes that his new adopted religion is the “true religion.”

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Aasif Mandvi

Before his role as a contributing correspondent on The Daily Show, Aasif acted, wrote and produced in the HBO show The Brink (which is now canceled). He is also the author of “No Land’s Man,” which reflects several aspects his life as a Muslim-British-American actor. Plus, he has recognized to have a complicated relationship with Islam, but that it always will be a part of his life.

Hollywood Reporter

Mike Tyson

Mike Tyson converted to Islam during his 3-year sentence in prison for rape. The former heavyweight champion has claimed that his new faith has helped him a lot and now is an essential part of his life. Although he is not considered himself as a strictly devout of Islam, Mike has visited the Mecca and got married to the daughter of a Muslim priest. It seems that this faith has made him be a calmer and less aggressive person.

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Shaquille O’Neal

The basketball icon is actually a devout follower of Muslim. In fact, Shaq has revealed his intention to travel to Mecca. However, the basketball star lives a quiet life as a practitioner of Islam. In fact, he considered himself as a “people person” who always respect and welcome other religions such as Judaism and Buddhism.

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Ellen Burstyn

Perhaps this one may give you a big surprise: the Emmy-award winner and Academy-award nominated actress Ellen Burstyn is actually a practitioner of a moderate form of Islam (to be more specific, a Sufi Islam); that’s why we don’t see her wearing a traditional burqa. However, the famous actress has said that she also follows some tenets of Buddhism, Hinduism, and Christianity.

Variety

T-Pain

The rapper-producer T-Pain (or also known as Rashad Najm) was raised is Muslim family, however, he has claimed that he believes in “everything” and actually religion restraints free will, that’s why he will never associate with a single faith. Therefore, T-Pain cannot be considered as a strict follower of Islam taking into consideration his lifestyle and song lyrics. Besides, he got married to a Christian woman with whom he shares an open relationship.

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Q-Tip

Q-Tip was a member of the critically-acclaimed hip-hop trio “A Tribe Called Quest.” In the 1990s, he decided to adopt Islam after reading the Qu’ran and has stated that it helped him to be a more spiritual man after his unpleasant experience with agnosticism.

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Craig Hodges

Craig Hodges is a retired basketball player who won two NBA championships with the Chicago Bulls. He went into the spotlight after wearing a dakishi and saying some declarations against the Gulf War during his visit to the White House after achieving the championship. In fact, Craig has been an active advocate for the rights of minorities in the U.S.A.

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Akon

Akon is one of the richest hip-hop artists in the industry. He is an active Muslim who has mention Allah in his songs. However, he considers himself to be more spiritual than religious. But is also believed that Akon is the father of 6 children with 3 different women.

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Lupe Fiasco

Lupe Fiasco, or also known as Wasalu Muhammad Jaco, is a rapper and entrepreneur who was raised in a Muslim family in New York. Even though he is devout, Lupe has criticized the extreme postures in Islam. Besides, he doesn’t like to use his faith as a badge and has expressed his worries about the militant Islamic terrorism and also has questioned some atrocious practices such as female genocide using the Islam as an excuse.

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Janet Jackson

Janet Jackson is married to the Qatar business magnate Wissam Al Mana and she has converted to Islam as a requisite to get married to him. In fact, Janet has followed the steps of her brother Jermaine Jackson who was converted into Islam in 1989 after a music tour in the Middle East.

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Dr. Oz

Mehmet Oz had admitted that he has struggled with his Muslim identity many times due to his mother was secular but his father was a strict believer. According to Dr. Oz, he has only followed the spiritual aspect of his religion and has claimed he also has been influenced by the mystical points of view of his wife’s religion: Swedenborgian Christianity.

Variety

Busta Rhymes

In 2007, the rapper-producer Busta Rhymes made the announcement that he is a Muslim. Plus, it’s rumored he is a member of the “Nation of Gods and Earths,” a branch of the Nation of Islam. Busta has admitted his life is ruled “by Islam,” in fact, the rapper has written the word “Qu’ran” in some of his lyrics.

Spin

Mos Def

Mos Def, and now known as Yasiin Bey, is a hip-hop artist, activist, and comedian who was converted into Islam by the influence of his father, Abdul Rahman. The rapper has mentioned his concern about the discrimination of Muslims in the U.S.A and believes that the 9/11 terror attacks were not committed by Islam followers.

Rolling Stone

Omar Epps

Omar is a producer and songwriter who is best known for his role of Dr. Foreman on the TV show “House.” He converted to Islam in the 1990s. He didn’t mention his faith too much but he has criticized President Donald Trump for his openly racist statements and lack of comprehension on the real problems.

TVLine

Ice Cube

Ice Cube, or also known as O’Shea Jackson, is a rapper, actor, producer, and filmmaker who was converted to Islam in the 1990s. Although he has been related to the Nation of Islam, Ice has not publicly recognized it yet. Plus, he has claimed that he actually believes in the spiritual aspects of Islam and not the rituals and traditions associated with that faith.

AllHipHop.com

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The Origins of Memorial Day in America: Rooted in a History of Former Slaves and Bravery

Cynthia Brooke

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Memorial Day is widely celebrated in the United States, as a way to remember the heroism and sacrifice of those fallen American soldiers. The day has become a time of celebration and community gatherings. With parades, food, and fireworks., it’s just like July 4th. But, while we all know the origins of other American holidays (including the 4th of July), Memorial Day is still shrouded in lost and misunderstood history. The full story is not known, and it’s quite a tale! 

Who Invented Memorial Day? 

The first acknowledged Memorial Day is linked with the tragic loss of life in Charleston, South Carolina that took place toward the end of the Civil War. Hundreds of Union soldiers were left for dead at the Washington Race Course, a makeshift prisoner-of-war camp by the Confederate side. With Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s abrupt surrender at Appomattox Court House, Virginia, on April 9, 1865. The war had taken a brutal toll on both sides, but the end of the war inspired a mass exodus of Charleston by soldiers and citizens alike. Former slaves stayed behind. Inspired by patriotic fervor, they called themselves the “Patriotic Association of Colored Men.” They took it upon themselves to bring honor and dignity to the fallen soldiers left in the race-course prison in unmarked graves when the Confederate soldiers fled. 

They excavated the unmarked mass graves and then dug 257 individual graves, surrounded by a fence to ensure a place of honor and security. Once their final memorial was complete, the community turned out for “Decoration Day,” which is now recognized by many as the first Memorial Day, in 1865.  The event included the march on the race track, singing by 2,800 black school children, preaching by black ministers, and the wide-spread decoration of the graves.  It was a way to honor the soldiers, who’d been viewed as martyrs by the Patriotic Association of Colored Men. 

The Rest is History 

Tragic loss and sacrifice are at the center of virtually every version of the first Memorial Day celebrations, but the scale is important. The Decoration Day tradition was later launched in Waterloo, New York (and yes, they claim to have invented the first Memorial Day). Memorial celebrations for Confederate soldiers took place in April 1866, and then Union Major General John A. Logan declared May 5, 1868, to be Decoration Day. There are a number of conflicting reports and claims for the events and meaning of the commemorations that took place following the cessation of hostilities at the end of the Civil War. But that last event took place at  Arlington National Cemetery. The formalization of the event at Arlington, with the mass decoration of graves with flowers and flags, is part of why the 1868 event is widely considered to be the first national Memorial Day event in US History. 

Memorial Day was then set as a May 30th national holiday, and it has continued to evolve. The true history of the day is complicated by historical bias and the fickle memories of the participants, but the role of these men and women who had once been slaves is important. After all, the Emancipation Proclamation, issued on January 1, 1863, was just a few years old when the war ended. Former slaves signed up to become Union soldiers en masse. An estimated 25,000 soldiers fought for the Union Army, but approximately 10% of their ranks were former slaves. They fought bravely and with distinction. In fact, 16 black soldiers were awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for their heroism in battle. It’s about time that we recognized the hidden stories that have for so long gone untold. 

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You Will Not Believe These Classic Era Celebrities Who are Still Rocking Their Golden Years

Anjali DeSimone

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Past and Present

Have you ever watched a classic movie from Hollywood’s Golden Era and wondered where are they now, or just assumed that they were not here? Read on to see some of the biggest stars from days gone by who are ruing their own world in the new millennium.

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Brave Babysitter Steps Up, Saves Child From Dangerous Burglar

Brooke Hurbert

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Making the decision to hand your child over to a babysitter can be a hard one. Every parent has that nagging thought that runs through their head, “What if something goes wrong?”. Jonathan Lai and his wife called on Jenna Lee Baker in order to watch their three-year-old son for an afternoon. What seemed like a regular afternoon soon turned into a nightmare situation. Keep on reading to find out how Jenny turned into a modern-day superhero!

Welcome to Irvine

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Jonathan Lai and his family are based out of Irvine, CA. As a tightly-knit family, Irvine has plenty to offer. The metropolitan area is located in Orange County, CA. The area is known for being home to some truly amazing local attractions. In fact, Irvine is considered one of the best cities to live in the entire United States, at least according to Business Insider and WalletHub! Still, that doesn’t mean that tragedy cannot strike!

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