When Sinead O’Connor became Muslim and what did she say about Islam and Catholism?

Sinead O’Connor recently passed away at age of 56, reverted to Islam, and also changed her name

By Melanie Aiden July 31, 2023
Sinead O’Connor muslm
Sinead O’Connor muslm

Sinead O’Connor, a legendary singer, died a Muslim at the age of 56.

Sinead O'Connor, who unfortunately died at the age of 56, was brought up as a Catholic, but in 2018 she converted to Islam and adopted the name Shuhada.

The iconic performer had a turbulent connection with religion and the Catholic church throughout her life and was best known for huge tunes like Nothing Compares 2 U but was also a protest singer.

She once called all non-Muslims "disgusting," and tore up a picture of Pope John Paul II on live television in 1992.

How did O'Connor's connection with religion change over time and what were her most contentious statements?

Read till the end to know.

Sinead O'Connor's early life as a Christian

The singer was born at a time when Ireland was heavily influenced by the Roman Catholic Church, and her middle name, Bernadette, is a tribute to Saint Bernadette of Lourdes.

Sinead, however, came to understand a bad aspect of the Catholic Church following the breakdown of her parent's marriage.

She was sentenced to 18 months in a "training center" that had once been a part of one of Ireland's infamous Magdalene laundries as a result of her theft and truancy beginning at the age of 15.

At Dublin's An Grianan Training Centre, O'Connor subsequently recalled having to wash priests' robes for no pay, albeit a nun there did give the musician her first guitar.

How many of the girls who attended the home had been "abused either sexually or physically" was revealed by an O'Connor witness in an online post.

"Prayer was a big part of life there, grace before meals and Mass every Sunday," she added.

She referred to the facility as a "prison," where the girls "cry every day" and she was "deprived of a normal childhood."

She was so enraged by the incident that it immediately inspired her symbolic criticism of the Pope.

Sinead O'Connor's actions towards Christianity

Sinead never truly renounced Christianity, and in an interview with Oprah Winfrey in 2014, O'Connor said, "To me, music is the holy spirit," She said her absenteeism would have just gotten worse if she hadn't found music.

During her memorable SNL performance, the singer initially welcomed the public into her contentious religious views.

The performer, who was 26 at the time, sang an acappella version of Bob Marley's "War" to draw attention to the problem of child abuse.

In front of the solitary camera, she held up a photo of Pope John Paul II and tore it to pieces as she sang the song's last refrain, "And we know we shall win/As we are confident in the victory/Of good over evil."

In a startling action, O'Connor blew out the candles around him on stage and declared, "Fight the enemy," while gazing directly into the camera.

Even before the charges of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church were publicly published, the musician used the shot to make a statement.

Sinead O'Connor became a priest in 1999

Sinead did not appear to abandon all of Christianity, and a few years later, in 1999, the Irish Orthodox and Apostolic Church ordain her as a priest.

Given that women are not permitted to serve as priests, the decision stunned members of the Roman Catholic Church.

Sinead continued to demand a thorough investigation into the extent of the church's role in covering up clerical child abuse despite her obligation as a senior member of the Christian faith.

Sinead was not happy with Pope Benedict XVI's apology to Ireland in 2010 for decades of abuse.

By 2018, the Vatican's involvement was making headlines throughout the world. O'Connor criticized the apology for not going far enough and urged Catholics to abstain from Mass until a thorough probe into the Vatican's role was conducted.

"People assumed I didn't believe in God. That's not the case at all. I'm Catholic by birth and culture and would be the first at the church door if the Vatican offered sincere reconciliation," she wrote in the Washington Post in 2010.

Sinead O'Connor converted to Islam in 2018

Sinead declared her unexpected conversion to Islam and changed her name to Shuhada Sadaqat, which means martyrs in Arabic, at the same time that church abuse was making headlines in 2018's main newspapers.

The Irish celebrity shared the information on Twitter along with a photo of herself donning a headscarf.

O'Connor's public involvement with Islam continued, and she later uploaded a video of herself reciting the Adhan, the Islamic call to prayer.

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

She publicly thanked Muslims for their love after the conversion sparked a wave of their support.

'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,' she tweeted.

However, several people were offended by her decision to convert to Islam, which eventually led Sinead to have an intense outburst in which she said that she no longer wanted to be friends with non-Muslims.

'I'm terribly sorry,' she said. 'What I'm about to say is something so racist I never thought my soul could ever feel it. But truly I never wanna spend time with white people again (if that's what non-muslims are called). Not for one moment, for any reason. They are disgusting.'

The singer eventually admitted to having extreme thinking and apologized, claiming that her outburst was caused by the Islamophobia she had experienced following her conversion.