Zayn Malik’s Islamic faith ‘will always be with me & I identify a lot with the culture’


Zayn Malik has a new interview with the London Evening Standard to promote… his new clothing line? It’s true. He collaborated with Versace on a capsule collection and he got the Hadid sister who is not his girlfriend to model for the line. Seriously! Bella Hadid and Zayn are the faces of Versace Versus now, I guess. What I like about this interview is that Zayn doesn’t just talk about clothes and Hadids. He also talks about what it’s like being arguably one of the most famous British Muslim men in the world, and how he’s treated when he travels and more. Some highlights:

His level of fame: “It’s a really weird world. I don’t think there’s anywhere I could be anonymous now. In New York [where Hadid is based], you can sometimes get out in the early hours of the morning for a walk. But there’s no underground parking here, no escape routes. So they’re going to get pictures, they’re going to find you. In LA [his own usual US base], it’s more catered to these things — you’ve got back entrances and that.”

His Versace capsule collection: “I’d wanted to do something in fashion for a while, even if it was just to bring out a couple of T-shirts so we just thought, ‘why not do it with somebody that’s got experience and knows what they’re doing?’ You can’t f*** with Versace.” He’s creative director for the collection, which comprises 10 pieces each of men’s and womenswear. “I did sketches and drawings but a lot of the looks came from what I wear every day. It’s my brand and their brand coming together.”

He smokes: He reaches for a packet of cigarettes on the table, then hesitates. I urge him to carry on. “Would you like one?” he asks, hopefully. I would. “Good,” he beams, looking delighted. “Let’s ’ave a cig. A cig and a chat.”

Whether Gigi helped with the collection: “I didn’t want to say but yeah. She’s very good, and she definitely assisted me.”

Don’t call them a power couple: “But I can understand how it can look, that you’ve got these two people in a ‘power couple.’ That’s not something I want to be a part of. I’m with her because I like her and I hope she’s with me because she likes me. When we come home, we don’t really talk about that s**t. We just spend time together as a normal couple, cook food, watch TV, have a laugh. I’ve got into a thing of cooking pies recently. I cook a mean chicken and sweetcorn pie, with Alfredo sauce. I make my own pastry, roll it out and everything.”

Being a British Muslim: “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 practising 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.”

Traveling while Muslim: “The first time I came to America, I had three security checks before I got on the plane; first they said that I’d been randomly selected, and then they said it was something to do with my name, it was flagging something on their system…” he raises one of his lustrous eyebrows. “Then when I landed, it was like a movie. They kept me there for three hours, questioning me about all kinds of crazy stuff. I was 17, my first time in America, jet-lagged off the plane, confused. The same thing happened the next time too. I understand the level of caution that needs to be taken, especially now, in the light of certain events at home. I don’t think there’s any benefit to getting angry — it’s something that comes with the climate. I understand why they’ve got to do it.”

He’s baffled by the radicalization of second & third-generation British Muslims: “I don’t know how to figure out the psychology of why people do it. And I don’t know the remedy for it. I just wish people had more love and care and compassion for other human beings.”

[From the London Evening Standard]

It bugs me that Zayn is asked about being a famous British Muslim – and his answer was great, no shade – and then in the next breath, they ask him about radicalized Muslim youths. Like, does every Bernie Sanders supporter have to answer for the actions of James Hodgkinson (the Scalise shooter) or Portland stabber/white supremacist/Bernie supporter Jeremy Joseph Christian? No, of course not – because those terrorists were white guys, and God help us all if we make white guys answer for the actions of their fellow white dudes.

Photos courtesy of WENN, Versace.

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38 Responses to “Zayn Malik’s Islamic faith ‘will always be with me & I identify a lot with the culture’”

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  1. Red says:

    No offense, but I think Zayn has overestimated his fame. A few years ago, I could maybe see him saying this, but especially now dating a nepotism model, I’m going to have to be skeptical that the paps are just always waiting for him. Big name movie stars are never followed in NYC but somehow the paparazzi are just always following Zayn Malik and the Hadids? Come on. And no one is calling you a power couple.

    • Carolyn says:

      They camp out in front of Gigi’s apartment, where he’s papped going in and out of. I don’t necessarily see him being followed anywhere else. Even when he was out in L.A. he was rarely papped.

      • Red says:

        My point is that don’t camp out on other big star’s place in NYC. Except Taylor Swift. See a pattern?

    • Cherise says:

      I can see their fans and some paps camping outside. Theres a difference between the crazy Zayn and Gigi would inspire in their fanbase and what Robert Downey Jr would inspire. And also paps camp where they know they will score good money for a pic. These two are very popular on youth oriented publications so thats a quick buck made,

      Also however you feel about her, models have traditionally come from very well off families. Who else is going to allow their lanky 16 year old to quit school to go chase a four year career in Paris? And even among that mix of kids, she has risen to be the most successful model of her generation. Give her her props.

    • Chloe says:

      He’s talking about some really important stuff here and all you got from this interview is omg he thinks he’s more famous than he is. Smh.

      • Red says:

        Well it is a gossip site.

      • Liv says:

        @Red It may be a gossip site but we still try to be a little smarter than the average gossip rag. There are plenty of sites where you can gloss over his comments about being a British muslim today and not be called out for it but this isnt one of those places.

    • Florence says:

      He’s probably not just talking about the paps but also the people randomly asking for selfies in public places.

  2. Kezia says:

    “God help us all if we make white guys answer for the actions of their fellow white dudes”. This X a million

    • QQ says:

      Same… that’s all I’ve Got!!! these interviews GOTTA Stop Asking him sh*t he’s been quite clear, proud and concise about, Unless they plan to Trot the Redneck bigot religious horse out too whenever Chris “God n’ Country” Pratt has something to promote… Is Trash, especially when they could ask about soooo many other things besides that, like about his music, the process of this collaboration, Fave Recipes ffs?! Whatever…

      Also….on the shallowest note, His.Face.Won’t.Quit! That boy is PRETTY, prettier than his odd faced vacant GF, the brows, the hair, the bone structure his coloring.. Just.. mmm mmm mm!

  3. Chloe says:

    This is a really good interview. The story about him getting questioned for hours at 17 is actually so sad and shows the extent of racism Muslims face.

  4. slowsnow says:

    His pov is interesting and I don’t find it awkward that they asked a question regarding radicalization.
    White does not equal a religious background I think?
    It was also a generous question giving a platform for a modern man raised in the muslim religion and culture to say that what extremists are doing is terrible and not understandable by the majority of muslims. I know it’s obvious to us but not to all people.
    What is happening is terrible and escalating. The Finsbury Park attack (white man running over Muslims and killing one) proves that there is a hatred of all muslims spreading in the UK and we forget that the sportsmen we watch, the musicians we listen to are also Muslim or educated in the culture.

    • Chloe says:

      Violence against Muslims is on the rise but it’s not covered by the media to the same extent. A 17 year old Muslim girl was killed by a grown white man last week in Virginia, outside a mosque . If it had been the other way around there would have been no end to the media coverage.

      • slowsnow says:

        I saw that in the newspaper. It’s incredibly sad. Here they decided to say it was a terrorist attack and all the semantics, as far as I see it, are terror-related even if it was “the other way round”, as it were which I find accurate and fair.
        Even the Sun of the DM had on the cover “Imam hero of the day” because the Imam told everyone not to harm the attacker until the police came. Quite the opposite of what is usual but well, one takes what one has.

      • I literally found out about this on buzz feed. Hardly any major media outlets reported it. I saw CNN had a piece but it was at the bottom of the page in smaller font. You’re right though. If the girl was the attacker we’d still be talking about it today days later. I’m white and have been naive to racism. I’ve witnessed it, but never experienced it until I married a Muslim man. I now see the media doesn’t care about people of color unless they’re getting shot by the police or they’re the ones commiting the crime.

      • Maria says:

        It was a Mexican illegal that killed that Muslim girl not a white man.

      • slowsnow says:

        It was on the Guardian’s front page online if it serves as consolation (which I know it doesn’t) and it really troubles me to know that because the murder seemed particularly brutal. That’s painful and unfair.

      • slowsnow says:

        @Maria, yes, you’re right, I just checked.

      • slowsnow says:

        @Maria, yes, you’re right, I just checked.

      • Chloe says:

        @ Maria

        My bad. However,my point is that violence against Muslims is on the rise. According to the FBI it was up 67% lin their latest report.

      • megan says:

        It has now been reported as a case of road rage, not specifically against a Muslim woman. I wish the media would take the time to get the facts straight before they rush out with their preconceived judgments.

        It was a sad story.

      • Alessana says:

        You mean the media that said the London mosque attack was an accident or the work of a guy with mental health issues? Excuse me if I wait until the trial to see what the actual motives was. All too often attacks on muslims are played down as lone wolf or mental health problems.
        Some Hispanics see themselves as white. Some see themselves as above black people and muslims. The treyon Martin killer was Hispanic racist.

      • megan says:

        @alessana, I’m speaking about the muslim woman who was killed in Northern VA, not the London attack.

      • Rory says:

        Mexican is not a race. Many Mexicans are white.

    • anonymous says:

      Yep, Media are 100% responsible for the dezumanisation of muslims. That’s why I don’t even feel sorry for them anymore when Trump go after them.

    • Meee says:

      @Maria You do realize that Mexican is a nationality and not a race, right? Also, he was from El Salvador, not Mexico.

  5. PIa says:

    I feel that we need to stop assuming everyone who has Muslim parents are super devout themselves. There are Muslims who like Christians and Jews are not super observant.

  6. Monsy says:

    If you think is not awkard to ask a young muslim pop star about radicaluzation, i assume you are ok about US citizens being asked to justify themselves for the actions of the kkk and the westboro baptist church?

    • slowsnow says:

      One has to be carefull with parallels: the whole of the US population is not the same think as someone whose community, culture and religion is being attacked and also taken as an excuse by some a**h*les to kill and control others. Of course I know that pop culture is more Z’s culture than Islam but he says it himself, it is an important part of him.
      Maybe I am just talkative and don’t get offended easily but I don’t see the point.
      Colonization was a while ago and I don’t find it strange if people ask me how my country, who had a big part in it, deals with its past although I highly condemn what happened at the time. [The answer is shamefully badly, we still have monuments to the “Discoveries” etc].

    • QueenB says:

      Honestly I would love for celebs that endorsed presidents to be asked more about their policies. Specifically foreign. For example Obamas drone strikes.

      I dont think asking muslim celebs is fair nor does it really serve a purpose. In the end they are not responsibilty and too far detached anyway. Benny Cumberbatch does not understand anything about the white working class either.

      • slowsnow says:

        It’s not even sure he was asked or if he spoke about it spontaneously. This is also a British newspaper – so a lot of UK recent context to be inserted here – and he says in the interview he is proud to be the first celebrity of his background so the conversation was pretty much around the subject of his Islamic culture (and not religion).
        I think we need to be more like Zayn, laid back and talkative. It’s good to hear a British Muslim say he is baffled by what heppened. Shuts up – temporarily – some white suprematists out there.

  7. Pandy says:

    i thought it was a good interview. He answered very maturely and honestly. Love the “lustrous eyebrow” description too lol.

  8. Alessana says:

    Shane he has anxiety. He articulates very well what it means to be a young Muslim guy in the west today. He is just by being who he is a potentially much more important artists than his former bandmates Harry styles and Niall Horan and the rest. I hope he gets more comfortable in the public eye and speaking about his experiences as a young Muslim.

  9. Florence says:

    I have a soft spot for Zayn. He’s a promising talent and very good-looking. Shame we rarely see him – he’s super lowkey.
    Lots of people I know with a Muslim background in France don’t really practice Islam – they believe in Allah and don’t eat pork but drink alcohol, don’t fast, etc. This is especially true for those from their 30’s. I’m not sure about teens and those in their 20’s.

  10. Bethany says:

    And on a more shallow note – MY GOD! He is freaking beautiful. With that out of the way I just want to say that I have always liked Zayn. He seems to be a decent, kind-hearted, generous guy. Hope he continues to find success in life.

  11. Rory says:

    Comes across very well in this article, intelligent and thoughtful.

  12. SM says:

    I could care less for his music. Not my cup of tea. And I really do not like the Hadid sisters they always look like they either are trapped emo teenagers in bodies of models or that they think they carry the weight of the world on their shoulders. However, I do appreceate him talking about his background and being aware what it means to be a young muslim man in this world we live in now. There is a vast majority of people thinking all muslim people can’t blend into the Western culture and he is a great example proving thr contrary

  13. Gates says:

    He might have been brought up in a muslim family but he does not follow the teachings of Islam and therefore he is not a muslim