Sinéad O’Connor is returning to the stage after a five-year hiatus from touring.
On Friday night’s episode of Ireland’s The Late Late Show, the 52-year-old singer — who now goes by the name Shuhada Sadaqat — delivered a performance of her 1990 hit “Nothing Compares 2 U” as a tribute to Prince. In addition, she opened up about her decision to “revert” to Islam nearly a year ago during her sit-down interview with show host Ryan Tubridy.
“The word ‘revert’ refers to the idea that if you were to study the Quran, you would realize that you were a Muslim all your life and you didn’t realize it,” O’Connor said. “That’s what happened to me.”
“I’m 52, and I grew up in a very different Ireland than the one that exists now and it was a very oppressed country, religiously speaking,” she continued. “Everybody was miserable. Nobody was getting any joy in God…Whatever they were telling you God said, I thought, ‘Well this makes no sense because everybody is miserable.’ So I started reading the scriptures when I was a very young child and then I started studying scriptures from different religions trying to find the ‘truth’ about God and such.”
O’Connor said she saved studying Islam for “last” because she had “so much prejudice” about the religion. But then, she read chapter two of the Quran and thought, “Oh my God, I’m home. I’ve been a Muslim all my life, and I didn’t realize it.”
“It’s a way of thinking — Islam,” she said. “You can almost be a Muslim without actually, officially being a Muslim. It’s a headset. A Muslim is only a person who believes nothing in the universe should be worshipped except God.”
O’Connor also talked about her decision to wear a hijab, which she wore for her performance and said she only wears when she feels like it.
“There’s no rules,” she said. “I’m not of my age required to wear hijab. I don’t wear it because I’m required to wear it. I wear it because I like it.”
“The hijab is the same as when I used to wear a crucifix,” she later added. “It’s just identifying yourself as being Muslim. It’s a part of a family.”
O’Connor continued to speak out about her decision to convert to Islam on Twitter the next day, writing in a Tweet on Saturday, “Lots saying I’ve changed religions more than once. Not so. I was born into Christianity and I changed to Islam. So that’s one change. For those who have difficulty counting.”
On Sunday, O’Connor then apologized for a Tweet she wrote in November which said, “I’m terribly sorry. 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.”
O’Connor explained that she made the remarks “while angry and unwell.”
“They were not true at the time and they are not true now,” she wrote. “I was triggered as a result of islamophobia dumped on me. I apologize for hurt caused. That was one of many crazy tweets lord knows.”
O’Connor first announced that she had converted to Islam on Twitter in October 2018, writing in a Tweet, “This is to announce that I am proud to have become a Muslim. This is the natural conclusion of any intelligent theologian’s journey. All scripture study leads to Islam. Which makes all other scriptures redundant. I will be given (another) new name. It will be Shuhada.’”
In 1999, O’Connor was ordained as a priest in a dissident Roman Catholic group. She had previously spoken out against the abuses of the Catholic Church, famously ripping up a photo of Pope John Paul II during a Saturday Night Live appearance in 1992.
In recent years, the singer has struggled with her mental health, including suicidal ideation, yet said she was open about her issues in the hopes that it would inspire others suffering to seek help.
O’Connor is next set to perform at the Féile ’19 music festival in Ireland later this month.
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