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Despite stereotyping towards Muslims in parts of Europe and the West, there are many famous names who believe in the religion and have taken it up themselves. Examples of these include rappers, doctors, and even boxers. So without further ado, here are 10 famous people you probably didn’t know were Muslim.
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1. Mike Tyson: The former heavyweight champion converted to Islam in 1992 while in prison for convicted rape. In a recent interview with Fox News, he said, “I’m very grateful to be a Muslim. Allah doesn’t need me, I need Allah.” In July 2010, he announced on his Twitter account that he visited the Holy City of Makkah and “was blessed to have been able to make Umrah… Inshallah,” he said.
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2. T-pain: As of lately, the Grammy-Award-winning rapper spoke out about his being a Muslim. “People don’t even know. Me, Busta Rhymes, Lupe Fiasco — they don’t even know we are Muslim. People think a Muslim has to have a turban or a big beard. It’s stupid,” Business Insider reported him saying. T-pain’s original name is Faheem Rasheen Najm.
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3. Janet Jackson: When she married Qatari businessman Wissam Al Mana in 2013, Janet Jackson reportedly converted to Islam. Her older brother, Jermaine Jackson, embraced the religion while on tour in the Middle East in 1989. “Having embraced Islam, I felt as if I was born again,” he told Reuters.
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4. Dr. Mehmet Oz: Host of “The Dr Oz Show,” Mehmet Oz was born to Muslim, Turkish parents. According to Business Insider, his mother’s family was religiously secular, while his father’s was the opposite. Ultimately, he decided to follow Sufi Islam.
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5. Akon: His full name being Aliaune Damala Bouga Time Bongo Puru Nacka Lu Lu Lu Badara Akon Thiam, Akon is a self-proclaimed Muslim. He’s originally from Senegal, where 92 percent of the country practice the religion. In his song 'Senegal' he says, “So what you know about how God comes first in our lives, everything that we do is for Allah.”
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6. Amal Alamuddin Clooney: The Lebanese-born human rights lawyer, who recently married actor George Clooney, is believed to be a Muslim from the Druze sect, though her mother is Sunni. Last year, the couple slammed rumours from the Daily Mail that Alamuddin might face consequences, such as death, for marrying outside the Druze religion, of which Clooney called, “non-factual and idiotic.”
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7. Ice Cube: Though Rapper Ice Cube converted to Islam in the 1990s, he calls himself an easy-going Muslim. In his song, The Predator, he raps, “You call me a Muslim, no I’m not a resident.” He later explained to Business Insider that this means he’s a “natural Muslim, because it’s just me and God. You know, going to the mosque, the ritual and the tradition, it’s just not in me to do. So I don’t do it,” he told the news outlet.
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8. Busta Rhymes: While his song Arab Money got a lot of criticism for using words from the Holy book of Islam, Busta Rhymes is in fact a Muslim. “I try to understand every aspect of the most high, for me the most high is Allah… the greatest, the magnificent, the merciful, and I live my life by Islam. At the end of the day that’s pretty much what grounds me,” he said in an interview with the Hollywood Life.
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9. Muhammad Ali: Formerly known as Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr., Muhammad Ali converted to Islam in 1975. The three-time World Heavyweight Champion was stripped of his title when he refused to join the US military and declared that he would fight in a war if directed to do so by Allah. Though Ali joined the Nation of Islam (NOI) he later converted to Sunni Islam and then to Sufism.
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10. Malcolm X: Believed to be Muhammad Ali’s spiritual and political mentor, Malcolm X, also known as El Hajj Malik El Shabazz, was an American Muslim minister and human rights activist. Much like Ali, X first joined the NOI, but later converted to Sunni Islam and expressed regret for his time at NOI.