CAIRO – Though denying an earlier video claiming her reversion to Islam, US singer Jennifer Grout has confirmed the news, adding that she has started to pray, learn Qur’an and pay Zakat.
“Actually the video that everyone has seen is part of a Moroccan film I made before my performance aired on Arabs Got Talent,” Grout told Gulf News.
“And I originally was upset, and mostly scared, that it ended up on the internet, because I hadn’t even gotten the chance to tell my family and closest friends about Islam before there were headlines everywhere saying I’d converted.
“However, now that it’s out there, maybe it’s a positive thing — I am not ashamed of what I believe in,” she added in an email interview.
Grout is an American singer who fascinated the Arab world after reaching the final three of the talent competition “Arabs Got Talent”.
After the competition, the 23-year-old singer, originally from Boston, went to Morocco to learn both the Amazigh language and Moroccan Arabic.
A video was posted on YouTube showed her making the Shahada declaration of faith.
In the video, in which she recited the shahada, Jennifer appeared with a young man, allegedly her fiancé, and another man in an atmosphere of friendliness and tolerance.
Grout, who lives in Morocco, explained that she has not gone to the mosque to “confirm her conversion with an Imam or get it on paper”.
“But I say the shahada from my heart. I have recently started to perform the [five] daily prayers.”
She also plans to fast during Ramadan later this year and she is also “trying to be more generous so to practice zakat”.
“Those are the most important things, and of course I’m trying to educate myself about it, to know more about the meaning of the Quran, Islam’s history… I read somewhere that Islam is not a state of being, but a process of becoming, and that really rings true for me.”
The United States is home to a Muslim minority of between six to eight million.