Shuhada’ Sadaqat (formerly Shuhada Davitt, who was formerly known as Magda Davitt, who was formerly known as Sinead O’Connor) has publicly, and rather noisily, announced to the world that she has now converted to Islam. Much of the Western press seemed to think this example of adult-onset Islam worthy of their attention. It’s unclear why, as Sinead O’Connor has been exhibiting signs of dementia for many years, long before she tore up a photograph of Pope John Paul on Saturday Night Live to express her disagreement with him on the question of abortion.
Now she tells us that not only is she a Muslim, but that she hates all white people. Apparently she is not herself white. Was she ever? Here is her latest crazed tweet:
“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.” — Shuhada’ Davitt (@MagdaDavitt77) November 6, 2018
But who made her “say” anything “so racist”? Why does she insist on inflicting on the world her remarkably unedifying spiritual journey from Catholic to hater of Catholicism to ordained priest in a Catholic Church not in communion with Rome, and then to Islam, and finally, as a Muslim convert, to being a hater of all “white people (if that’s what non-muslims are called),” whom she finds “disgusting”? Why must she tell the world urbi et orbi, just like one of those Popes she so deplores, the putative “feelings” of her very likely non-existent “soul”? She could just have quietly abandoned all the “white people” she knew, no fuss, no muss. One wonders if, among those “white people” who are “disgusting,” she includes all her musical collaborators, former friends, family members. Will it be possible for them to cease to be white, and thus no longer “disgusting,” if they convert to Islam? And what about her father? Is he “disgusting”? We know that Sinead was delighted, as she let the whole world know, when her mother died. Sinead was 19 at the time, and hated her mother because, she claimed, her mother Marie ran a “torture chamber” at home. That might help explain why Sinead — Shuhada — has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, and has been, as it is formulaically put, “struggling with mental health issues” her whole life. I’ll say.
So her mother — clearly a “white person” — may have been awful. But are all “white people” really “disgusting”? Are all four of her siblings “disgusting”? Her brother Joseph, the novelist, who was been recognized for his contributions to Irish literature — is he now “disgusting”? Her father Sean O’Connor has loyally stuck by her during her emotional vicissitudes: “I admire and love my daughter and as far as I’m concerned she can do nothing wrong,” he said a few years ago. He’s not a Muslim. Is he disgusting? What must Shuhada think of her own former self? Was she “disgusting” during the first 50 years that she lived before she embraced Islam and ceased to be white?
She’s had a full, rich, utterly nutty life. Four husbands, four children. She now says “I am a dyke.” When did she realize that? Before her four marriages, or after? In 1999, she had herself ordained as a priest in the Irish Orthodox Catholic and Apostolic Church (an Independent Catholic group not in communion with the Catholic Church). She had a hysterectomy in 2015, but she says it turned out badly: “I became very suicidal. I was a basket case.” She blamed her mental state on the hospital that had failed to give her hormone therapy. She changed her name a year ago to Magda Davitt, saying in an interview that she wished to be “free of the patriarchal slave names.” “Sinead” is a “patriarchal slave name?” Who knew?
Her version of a song written by Prince — “Nothing Compares 2U” — made it famous. She describes her meetings with him: “I did meet him a couple of times. We didn’t get on at all. In fact we had a punch-up.” She continued: “He summoned me to his house after ‘Nothing Compares 2U.’ I made it without him. I’d never met him. He summoned me to his house – and it’s foolish to do this to an Irish woman – he said he didn’t like me saying bad words in interviews. So I told him to fuck off….He got quite violent. I had to escape out of his house at 5 in the morning. He packed a bigger punch than mine.”
In August 2018, the tireless Magda Davitt sent an open letter — the whole world needed to know — asking Pope Francis to excommunicate her, as she had previously asked Pope Benedict and John Paul II. So far she hasn’t gotten her wish, but converting to Islam might just do the trick. On the other hand, the Church might want to torment her by not excommunicating her. Or, most diabolical of all, decided not to give her any attention. Is that what drove her….no, she’s already crazy…to do something really insane, like convert to Islam? Because — whaddaya know? — just two months later, she did.
Some Muslims may be delighted at this example of adult-onset Islam. They love it when celebrities convert to Islam. But others may think that Islam deserves a better class of convert, that an Irish girl who started out crazy and has gotten crazier with each passing decade is not what the faith needs just now. Maybe one of the Obama girls?
She received enormous sums for the songs she wrote, and also performed, but somehow she managed, despite all that money that came her way, to end up in August 2017 living in a $70-a-night motel in New Jersey. She never explained what happened to all her money. Then out of the blue came her Announcement To The World: I have converted to Islam. That story put her in the spotlight for a few weeks. And then she announced to the world, in that subliterate way that she thinks adds to her rough charm — that “I never wanna spend time with white people” again. And who are these “white people”? They are those who are also called “non-Muslims.” So she never gonna wanna spend time ever again, see, with those “white people” (a/k/a ”non-Muslims”) whom she calls “disgusting.”
Where does this “disgust” with all non-Muslims (a/k/a “white people”) come from? Most likely from the Qur’an. She learned that Muslims are “the best of peoples” (3:110). Her new Muslim friends, the ones who spotted her as a likely prospect, given her mental state, and helped convert her, no doubt would want her to know that verse. That’s got to have made her feel good. What’s more, they likely also taught her that all non-Muslims are “the most vile of creatures” (98:6). It’s in the Qur’an. That sentiment really appealed to her. It explained her own lifelong problems, such as her mother (“disgusting”), and so many other people, ex-husbands, ex-lovers, ex-collaborators — every manjack of whom were, or are, non-Muslims and “white” (including Prince?) and therefore “disgusting.”
Then there is her music career, such as it now is. This month Shuhada released an album she had recorded earlier this year, when she was still Magda Davitt (no longer Sinead and not yet Shuhada’ Sadaqat) with Ronnie Wood, Mick Mason, and Imelda May. All three of her collaborators are non-Muslims. Shouldn’t Shuhada now distance herself from that album, and tell the world she wants nothing to do with it, given that her three fellow musicians were all non-Muslims and, therefore, it turns out, “disgusting” white people (and because Islam forbids the use of musical instruments)? And from now on, won’t she want to avoid all non-Muslim, “white,” and therefore disgusting, people, including the musicians she used to work with? Perhaps she’ll give up music altogether, as a good Muslim who follows Muhammad’s strictures on musical instruments, and devote her life instead to being brand ambassador for Islam. There are deep-pocketed Muslims who might provide her with a generous stipend for doing such work.
I don’t know where the tragicomic tale of Shuhada/Magda/Sinead Davitt/O’Connor/Sadaqat goes from here. But surely there are many more surprises to come. Her adult-onset Islam is not the last stop on her spiritual journey. She’s a publicity hound, and needs to keep startling her audience. She sang the adhan, apparently unaware that women are forbidden to sing it, and her new Muslim friends did not remonstrate with her, apparently not wishing to offend their plumb new convert. She yearns for more followers on Twitter, and more friends on Facebook. Maybe she’ll change her mind yet again, and decide that “non-Muslims” — “white people” — aren’t so disgusting after all. Maybe she’ll declare her admiration for Donald Trump. Or declare her desire to marry Vladimir Putin. Or demand — and given this giddy globe she might well get — her own reality TV show. Or become a nun. Hold onto your seats. With Shuhada, anything is possible.