Zayn Malik has confirmed he no longer identifies as Muslim in a new interview.
Speaking to British Vogue, the former One Direction singer, 25, said he is not a practicing Muslim anymore and no longer believes in ‘any’ of the religion.
He told the publication: ‘I’m not professed to be a Muslim’ and when asked if he would consider himself to be Muslim, he responded: ‘No, I wouldn’t.’
The singer added although he had a ‘spiritual belief’ of a god, that he did not endorse Islam religious practices such as daily prayer and eating halal meat.
It has sparked a backlash on social media from fans who have said they are ‘ashamed’ of the star and criticized him for ‘mocking’ the religion.
He said: ‘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. I just believe if you’re a good person everything is going to go right for you.’
He added that he plans to move through his life in a ‘nice way’ and that his core belief is that he is behaving well, he will get treated the same.
The star said that it was ‘really easy’ for him to drop the religion with his family, after previously attending mosque and studying Islam while growing up.
He said his parents had always given him and his siblings the option to choose for themselves, and added that was pleased to have built his life around Islam.
Zayn’s father Yaser is British-Pakistani and his mother Trisha converted to Islam when she met him, with the couple raising their children Muslim.
The star’s revelation has sparked a backlash online from some fans, while other followers said it was not for them to judge and his lack of faith was a matter for God.
Araiz Butt told the singer on social media ‘you should be ashamed’ and added ‘I hate you’ while one Muslim said ‘shame on you’ and warned him not to ‘mock’ the religion.
Another said they had ceased to be a fan of the performer and another told him to ‘f*** off’ and added ‘f***you’ for good measure.
However, Nayyab Tariq wrote ‘may Allah guide him the right path’ and said ‘we are not perfect Muslims’ but claimed to leave the faith was ‘a big deal’.
One follower tweeted: ‘Can we consider ourselves a true Muslim? I think no. Who are we to decide whether he would be thrown into hell. It’s not your job. Let Allah do his job. ALLAH knows well who is sinner and saint.’
Maajid Nawaz, who works at the counter-extremism think-tank Quilliam and works for reform in Islam, said Zayn’s remarks were a ‘powerful step forward for freedom of religion among young Muslims’ and said the singer was ‘very brave’.
The former One Direction star previously said of his religion: ‘I take a great sense of pride — and responsibility — in knowing that I am the first of my kind, from my background.
‘I’m not currently practicing but I was raised in the Islamic faith, so it will always be with me, and I identify a lot with the culture.
‘But I’m just me. I don’t want to be defined by my religion or my cultural background.’
In August Zayn celebrated Eid al-Adha, also called the Festival of Sacrifice, with his family and supermodel girlfriend Gigi Hadid, 23.
Eid al-Adha marks the end of the Hajj pilgrimage – which is one of the five pillars of Islam – and Muslims celebrate the day with food, gifts, prayers and family gathering
Gigi, who also celebrated Eid with Zayn’s family last year, was raised Muslim by Jordanian-American father Mohamed Hadid and Dutch-American mother, Yolanda.
Whilst Gigi has not spoken at length about her religion, sister Bella openly discussed her father’s heritage and how this factored into her upbringing.
‘He was always religious, and he always prayed with us. I am proud to be a Muslim,’ Bella told Porter magazine.
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