Cultural Arts Review: “Stereotyping Muslims: One Direction’s Zayn Malik, Pop Culture, and the Diversity of Lived Religious Identity”

Posted on May 1, 2013 by

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Stereotyping Muslims: One Direction’s Zayn Malik, Pop Culture, and the Diversity of Lived Religious Identity”

Music today comes from many different religious backgrounds. Many artists keep their religious identity out of the media and their work. Most artists choose to keep religion out of their work because it creates controversy and can minimize their fan base. Zayn Malik, member of boy band One Direction, is criticized and stereotyped for being a Muslim pop star. Malik does not bring his religious identity to the music of One Direction, but he is judged by the strictly religious Muslim societies.

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Fans who are Muslim and aren’t Muslim have been discussing and debating over Malik’s religious identity and whether or not his decisions and life choices are considered Islamic. This article mentions an anti-Muslim, American blogger Debbie Schlussel who believes that Malik is “pimping Islam” on “millions of young girls” throughout the world. Just because One Direction, which has no religious affiliation whatsoever, directs their music towards teenage girls, doesn’t mean that a single member of the group should be criticized for his religious beliefs.

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The implications of the word “religious” in this article about Malik tend to be taken to the extremes. Just because Malik is in the spotlight of social media, his religion is being questioned. Other pop stars who are Christian are not being stereotyped and criticized for some of their actions. Social media has blown Malik’s religious identity out of proportion. Religion involved with his job, being a pop star, makes Malik seem as if he is a bad person because he does not follow the strict religious law involved with being a Muslim.

In the Muslim religion, being a pop star exemplifies sin. Some Muslims believe that listening to or being a pop star is seen as “totally forbidden in Islam.” Whoever commits these actions is considered a major sinner. In this article, it mentions that those who choose to follow singers will join them in hellfire. There is even note that singing and listening to music in this culture is considered haram, which means forbidden. Therefore a Muslim pop star contradicts many of the Muslims beliefs.

Zayn Malik’s self-identity as a member of the Muslim community should not be associated with his work and music he creates. But as our society seems to do, Malik is judged by non-Muslims and Muslims for his status as an international pop star. The fact that Malik is a pop star with pierced ears and tattoos contradicts what a Muslim is and is not. This mainly upsets those you are deeply committed to the Muslim practices. Some strict Muslims go as far as saying that choosing to be a singer is forbidden by the Muslim religion.

In conclusion based of the article, “Stereotyping Muslims: One Direction’s Zayn Malik, Pop Culture, and the Diversity of Lived Religious Identity,” Zayn Malik, member of boy band One Direction, is criticized and judged because of his actions and behaviors on behalf of his religious identity. Because of his religious background, his every move is criticized because it might not follow the exact Muslim belief and practice. Because Malik keeps his religious identity separate from his work and music, there should not be as much conflict and controversy as there is today.

http://thewasat.wordpress.com/2012/07/12/stereotyping-muslims-one-directions-zayn-malik-pop-culture-and-the-diverse-realities-of-lived-religious-identity/

 

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