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Sinéad O’Connor changes her name to Shahuda’ as she accepts Islam

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Sinéad O'Connor changes her name to Shahuda’

Last updated on October 29th, 2018

Playing a significant role in the present world, social media has become a crucial part of every person’s life, be it the lawmakers, commoners or celebrities. Amongst the various platforms, Twitter is being used by the prominent figures to either influence the masses, represent their opinions or to communicate.

Lately, an Irish singer, Sinéad O’Connor used her Twitter handle to make one important announcement regarding her conversion to Islam. Besides, she also informed about changing her name to Shuhada’ Davitt, and that her acceptance of Islam is the ‘conclusion’ of her religious journey.

On October 19, the world-renowned singer tweeted, “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’,” she added.

The meaning of her name is “one who bears witness” in Arabic, and is spelled with an apostrophe in the end. In Arabic, the name also means ‘martyrs’.

Shaykh Umar Al-Qadri also posted a video on Twitter where O’Conner recited the Shahada — an Islamic declaration creed, stating the belief in the oneness of God (tawhid) and the acceptance of Muhammad as God’s prophet — with him, which is the act of converting to Islam. Al-Qadriis the head imam and theologian of Islamic Centre Ireland and chair of the Irish Muslim Peace and Integration Council [IMPIC].

Following her announcement, the 51-year-old replaced the profile picture on her account with an image that read “Wear a hijab just do it” alongside the Nike logo. She also posted her selfies wearing hijab, and wrote a tweet expressing that she is “very, very happy.”

The ‘Nothing Compares 2 U’singer recently posted a video singing the Islamic call to prayer, the Azan. She also apologized her 31.9K followers for mispronouncing some Arabic words in the video.

A press release by the IMPIC highlighted the idea that O’Conner has taken the step thoughtfully. It stated, “”Her coming to Islam has been a careful and informed decision and follows a lifetime of searching and study … At this early stage, she has asked for her privacy to be respected so she can focus on her own spiritual well-being.”

In a statement, Al-Qadri said, “Shuhada has faced many challenges in her life. Where there is light, darkness has tried to envelope it, the greater the light, the greater the struggle with darkness.”

O’Connor has struggled with mental health issues quite publically in the past. She talked about her challenges on the Dr. Phil show, saying, “I’m hoping we can save some lives. There’s a certain group of people who are absolutely afraid to open their mouth about mental illness — and that is rockers. People in the music business. Famous people. I think it’s important that those of us that are in the entertainment industry actually do begin to open up.”

Speaking about her early life, the singer had alleged that her mother abused herphysically and sexually. Last year, she had announcement of changing her name to Magda Davitt. Giving a reason, she wrote, “Sinéad is dead. And a happier woman has been born. Free of the patriarchal slave names. Free of the parental curses.”

O’Connor’s decision broadly welcomed by fellow Muslims. One of them commented, “Salaam (a greeting that means “peace”) and keep up the good work.You have 1.7 billion brothers and sisters now.”

A week after the announcement, O’Connor tweeted, “Thank you so much to all my Muslim brothers and sisters who have been so kind as to welcome me to Ummah (the Muslim community) today on this page. You can’t begin to imagine how much your tenderness means to me.”

While the Muslims seemed about the singer embracing Islam, many criticized the decision and made anti-Islamic remarks.

One of them wrote, “Doubt this will last long, this woman seems to constantly be searching for some kind of fulfilment. I think she needs help.”

While another said, “You are lucky leaving Catholic Church is not punishable by death or anything.”

Well, we hope the religious journey of O’Connor has concluded for real! Considering the journey, the doubts do exist!

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Partaking Royal Crisis, Prince Harry Prioritises Mental Health Awareness

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Prince Harry

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s recent decision has brought more eyes to the emerging disputes within the royal family. From moving out of the Kensington Palace to their announcement of stepping back as senior royals, both the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have been a part of huge criticism from the royal insiders.

It appears as if a rift has emerged in the British royal family that has threatened the very essence of the household and royal duties. Anti-Meghans believe that her addition in the royal family is the root cause of the rising conflicts between the royals. From Kate Middleton to the Queen, almost every royal female seems to have shared odd relations with Meghan Markle, putting down the harmonious family image.

Meanwhile, Prince Harry, who was in rumours to fly to Canada with his wife and their eight months old baby son Archie, made his first public opinion after the big announcement, on Thursday. Harry hosted the Rugby League World Cup 2021 draws for the men’s, women’s and wheelchair tournaments at Buckingham Palace, alongside Jason Robinson and Dame Katherine Grainger. He later met with representatives from all 21 nations competing in the event next year.

England was drawn alongside Samoa, France and Greece in the group stage of the 2021 Rugby League World Cup and will play Samoa in the opening match of the tournament at St James’ Park, Newcastle on October 23. Likewise, 1995 and 2000 semi-finalists Wales have been drawn alongside Tonga, Papua New Guinea and the Cook Islands. New Zealand team will face Lebanon, Jamaica and Ireland.  

The royal critics found Prince Harry in a cheery mood throughout the event. Likewise, Meghan Markle was also seen working towards fulfilling her future goals. She visited two charities that helped women and girls in Vancouver.

Though the Queen on Monday, submitted to her grandson and his wife’s wishes to step away from the royal life, there is no confirmation as to when the Sussex couple would actually leave for their destinations. It appears as if Prince Harry, for some time now, is staying to discuss his future role in the royal family, after which the Sussex couple will split their time between the UK and Canada to live a financially independent life.

Over the time, Prince Harry, who was also announced as patron of the Rugby Football League in December 2016, has equally supported Meghan Markle in her decisions, fulfilling his every role of being a husband. The Rugby League World Cup 2021 draws were streamed live across the royal family and Rugby League World Cup 2021 Twitter and Facebook channels, where Harry supported the practice of adopting a mental fitness charter for the tournament.

In the same manner, Prince William and Kate Middleton also talked about mental health awareness during their tour to Pakistan, empowering the citizens about the causes and impacts.

“Rugby League isn’t just a sport, it’s a community. And one that takes care of its own,’ he said. ‘For many years, it has been at the forefront of promoting and supporting good mental fitness, working hard to build a positive mind-set for everyone involved in the sport. So I am proud to support the Rugby League World Cup 2021 mental fitness charter,” said Prince Harry.

Harry’s statements on the sport’s strong legacy of mental health awareness was a recollection of the past incidents, where the royal family remained concerned over the mental health of the Sussex couple.

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Kate Hudson Bashed for Endorsing Dubai Tourism Over Human Rights Issues

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American actress Kate Hudson, well known for her work in Almost Famous, recently took to her Instagram and shared a series of photos and short videos to promote Dubai Tourism. The actress, who can be seen trotting alongside Gwyneth Paltrow and Zoe Saldana, seems jolly as she explores Dubai and its attractive sites.

However, what must have sounded as a really amazing idea to Kate Hudson, has poised to become a permanent stain on her life. In her post, promoted using #astorytakesflight and #dubai, the actress was shunned for turning a blind eye to the nation’s poor human rights record.

Commenting on post, one of her fans named agi564 wrote: “It’s still a dictatorship that oppresses women so it is laughable that you try to argue that this is such a great travel destination!!! Shame on you.” While another user said that the nation does not support LGBTQ+ rights, and instead being of third gender is heinously punishable.

One of Hudson’s photos was immensely criticized, where she posed with a falcon on her wrist. In the UAE, falcons are considered as a significant cultural and traditional icons, who are usually found with their owners in deserts, and are used by Emiratis to be trained for hunting. However, some of her fans on Instagram raised concern over the possible animal cruelty.

Hudson’s photos and short videos are a part of an 8-minute commercial ad posted last November by a UAE official tourism YouTube Channel named “Visit Dubai”. The United Arab Emirates, especially Dubai has been engaged in promoting its tourism for a very long time.

The nation has invited multiple celebrities and social media influencers to promote tourism as a part of its vision to end reliance on oil. However, more than the vision alone, the Gulf monarchy has been called out for using tactics to divert the attention from graving matters of human rights abuse.

An example of which lies within the Dubai Royal Family, where Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed al-Maktoum, the daughter of Dubai’s ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, tried to escape the ruler’s gilded cage, but was caught 30 miles off the coast of India.

Dubai might be a blip in the map, but it has certainly harvested its power via tourism. Yet what remains behind the closed doors is the gruesome reality, conveying how women in the UAE are subjected to persecution and are still fighting for their basic rights.

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Prince Charles Visits Oman to pay respects to Sultan Qaboos

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Sultan Qaboos

The condolence ceremony of Oman’s long-reigning Sultan Qaboos was graced with the presence of Prince Charles and Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Welcoming political divides from all over the world to the Middle East, Muscat’s Alam Palace saw Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed and Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim Al-Thani.

To meet the new Sultan, Haitham bin Tariq, several world leaders including Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, Tunisian President Kais Saied, Kuwait’s Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah and Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi came to Oman. 

The new ruler, Haitham is the cousin of Sultan Qaboos. Oman’s standing as a “Switzerland of the Middle East” is only due to Qaboos’ policy of neutrality and non-interference. The country maintains healthy relations with the US along with the regional powers Iran and Saudi Arabia.

Sultan Qaboos came in power in 1970 and ruled the country for almost half a century. In his younger days, he was a part of Britain’s elite Sandhurst Royal Military Academy, post which he joined a British infantry battalion in Germany.

As per a statement released by the office of Boris Johnson, the UK and Oman have a broad and long-standing bilateral relationship that goes back over 200 years. The statement adds, “Our countries have deep economic ties and shared defence and security interests.” It highlighted how in his ruling days, Qaboos modernised his country and worked to deal with regional and international crisis.

Prince Williams on Jan 11 said that he was “truly honoured” to have met Sultan Qaboos and “it was clear from all those I met that he will be remembered with great affection.” He added, “His majesty was unwavering in his commitment to improve the lives of his people, and in his resolve to work towards regional stability. I am thankful for his majesty’s many years of friendship with my family and the UK.”

According to Arab News, giving support to the University of Oxford’s Islamic Studies centre over several years and graduating from its Foreign Service Programme in 1979, Sultan Haitham is having strong ties with the UK. He was among the people who welcomed Prince Charles and Camilla to the country in 2013 and 2016.

Prince Charles had visited Sultan Qaboos at his palace at Bayt al Baraka on a tour of the Middle East with Camilla on March 2013 and his then wife Diana in 1986.  In December, the Duke of Cambridge met the Sultan at the Palace of Bait al Baraka at the end of a four-day tour of Oman and Kuwait.

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Another Royal Family Conflict: Meghan Markle Gets Centre Stage

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Royal Family

The year 2019, other than some cheerful events, has been a big mess for the royal family members throughout the world with each monarch dealing with a number of conflicts within the family and society.

As known, the 26 monarchies ruling over 43 countries, represent a wide network of kings, queens, sultans, emperors and emirs with the UK being one of them. Because of the country’s marvellous history with other nations, the UK monarch’s high international profile is much known to the world.

Unlike the ruling monarchs, the Windsors don’t have any real and direct political power and thus their conflicts are more or less a result of family disputes. The recent news suggesting that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex will be withdrawing from their roles as senior members of the UK’s royal family has brought shockwaves amongst their fans and relatives.   

Meghan Markle has become the centre of attention following the announcement of step down, many have become critical of her on social media sites. “Megxit”, referring to Meghan’s exit from the royal family has become a trending hashtag on Twitter, along with people criticising, while some praising the Sussexes through memes.

The supporters of the Sussex couple congratulated them for their decision of wanting to make their own way and earn their own money. Many believe that Meghan, being a former actress, would play herself on a Netflix series, The Crown. It appears that Meghan is the only one coming under scrutiny for the couple’s decision.

In the past, the Sussex couple had established various examples that portrayed their “single-handedly modernized” nature. The supporters believe that since the royal family members failed to provide appropriate recognition or support to the couple, it became a major reason behind their decision.

Well it’s not the first time, that a royal family couple has discarded their duties, splitting way. The royal family has a history of internal feuds. Disputes within family members have led to a series of divorces, bringing in new trends, many of which remain unacceptable to the elder royals.

Princess Diana’s divorcing Prince Charles was one big example, which indicated the Queen’s active role in the process.

Likewise, the ruling monarchs from the UAE, Jordan, Oman, Japan also faced a series of disputes due to internal and external conflicts. Last year, the wife of Dubai Emir Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, Princess Haya, succeeded in her second attempt of fleeing the UAE. She is now said to be hiding in London, where several of the British papers made much of Haya’s alleged closeness to a bodyguard.

Similarly, Japan’s Yamato dynasty, mostly referred to as ceremonial or figurehead monarch despite being the oldest continuous in the world, also faced huge debates over expanding the role of royal women, including allowing female emperors about stable Imperial succession.

As the monarchs all over the world welcomed the new year with cheerfulness, the Queen is pretty upset about her grandson’s decision. The start of the new year with Harry and Meghan’s announcement to go freelance has brought a huge blow to the royal family.

“Discussions with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are at an early stage. We understand their desire to take a different approach, but these are complicated issues that will take time to work through,” Buckingham Palace responded over the couple’s decision.

But considering the past instances, where Meghan was targeted for her divorce and racial heritage by the British tabloid press, like Princess Diana, it appears that the Duchess of Sussex now wants to live her life on her own rules, away from the royal family criticisms and her husband Harry is pretty much backing her decision.

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Ugly Betty Creator Silvio Horta’s Death Allegedly Linked to Suicide

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Silvio Horta

Silvio Horta, creator of well-renowned series “Ugly Betty” was found dead in a Miami motel room. The 45-year-old was reported dead on Tuesday, in what has been allegedly linked to suicide. As per the reports, Silvio Horta died after self-inflicting a gunshot wound.

Representative for Horta confirmed about the loss, but did not comment on the nature of his death. Horta worked for all four seasons featuring on ABC, which started as an adaptation of Colombian telenovela ‘Yo soy Betty, la fea’.

The cast members of “Ugly Betty” America Ferrera and Vanessa Williams were among those who mourned the sudden death of Horta. “I’m stunned and heartbroken to hear the devastating news of Ugly Betty creator, Silvio Horta’s death,” Ferrera wrote on Instagram. “His talent and creativity brought me and so many others such joy & light. I’m thinking of his family and loved ones who must be in so much pain right now- and of the whole Ugly Betty family who feel this loss so deeply,” he added.

Meanwhile, Williams also took to Instagram and expressed grief over the tragic loss, “Still in shock after hearing the tragic news of our #uglybetty creator #silviohorta 💔 His creativity and passion will be missed by so many of us that worked with him. May he Rest In Peace,” she wrote.

The television series “Ugly Betty” focused on Betty Suarez, a young Mexican American woman from Queens who lands a job at an upscale fashion magazine in Manhattan. The show also bagged two Golden Globes while it was still being aired, one for the best comedy series and one for Ferrera.

Horta, who was born in Miami to Cuban Parents also worked on a project with Mary J. Blige in development at Fox in 2018. The prospective series titled “Move” was based and inspired by the life of a well-known choreographer and director Laurieann Gibson. The personality who created routines for the likes of Beyoncé, Michael Jackson, Alicia Keys and Lady Gaga.

Silvio Horta got recognition with his break in 1998 when he wrote the screenplay for the horror-thriller “Urban Legend.” The script featured Jared Leto and “Dune” star Alicia Witt, making it a big hit.

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