PARIS - Overcoming a history of drug addiction and hallucinations, a French rapper surprised her fans after appearing in a TV interview donning hijab (Islamic veil), telling how she found peace and calm in Islam.
(My) conversion to Islam was the result of a personal conviction, after understanding the religion and reading the Holy Qur'an, Melanie Georgiades, known as Diam's, said in an interview with French TV station TF1 and cited by Al-Arabiya website.
The famous rapper has been absent from the mainstream rap scene since 2009, sparking rumors about her whereabouts.
I was very famous and I had what every famous person looks for, Diam's said.
But I was always crying bitterly alone at home, and this is what none of my fans had felt.
I was heavily addicted to drugs, including hallucinating narcotics and was admitted in mental asylum to recover.
Overcoming her addiction experience, the French rapper came to know Islam when she saw a Muslim friend praying.
But this was in vain until I heard one of my Muslim friends saying I am going to pray for a while and will come back,' so I told her that I want to pray as well.
Recalling that moment, Diam's said she experienced feelings she had never before.
It was the first time that I touched the floor with head, and I had a strong feeling that I have never experienced before, Diam's said.
I believe now that kneeling in prayer, shouldn't be done to anyone but Allah.
Diam's is known for her political activism in both her lyrics and her public persona.
She is a fierce opponent of far-right politician Jean-Marie Le Pen and his daughter Marine Le Pen as well as former president Nicolas Sarkozy.
Leaving behind luxurious life of fame and money, the French rapper said she found comfort by reverting to Islam.
This has warmed my heart, as I know now the purpose of my existence, and why am I here on Earth, Diam's said.
Donning hijab in a country that has banned face veil, she was worried about stereotyping her.
I believe that I live in a tolerant society, and I don't feel hurt by criticism, but by insults and stereotyping and ready-made judgments, she said.
I see it as a divine order or a divine advice, this brings joy to my heart and for me this is enough.
Islam sees hijab as an obligatory code of dress, not a religious symbol displaying one's affiliations.
The rapper also criticized the media which photographed her coming out of one of the mosques in France wearing her Hijab and looking at her mobile, preceded by a man in a training suit, which many believed to be her husband.
Diam's said she moved to Mauritius to read the Qur`an, and have a better understanding of Islam.
At this time, she discovered that tolerance in Islam is far from those who commit all the murders and atrocities in the name of the religion.
I think we should differentiate between the ignorant and the knowledgeable, and the ignorant should not speak about what he doesn't know, Diam's said.
Islam does not allow murdering innocent victims the way we see it nowadays.