Hulya Kandemir: Faith a source of musical inspiration (Part 2/2)
By Ahmed Al-Matboli, IOL Correspondent
BERLIN, October 17, 2005 (IslamOnline.net) - Famed German pop singer Hulya Kandemir has been always flirting with the idea of leading a new lease of life and be a good Muslim until she sacrificed the dazzling limelight and record sales for her religion after much soul-searching.
The 30-year-old Kandemir is now a practicing Muslim who wears a hijab and prays five times a day in a bid to get the peace of mind she always aspired to.
Her newly released book The Daughter of Heaven: From a Pop Singer to Allah is a personal reflection on how Islam fulfilled her spiritually and gave her life a taste.
"I found my destination in tolerant and peaceful Islam and was born again despite the recent wave of hatred and animosity towards the Muslim faith across Europe," Turkish-born Kandemir told the Web site of the Supreme Council of Muslims in Germany in an interview.
"All divine religions are invoking virtue, but what I liked most about Islam is that it strongly calls for struggling against the self and damping down evil and corporeal desires."
When Kandemir started praying, she felt an overwhelming joy.
"Words are unable to express how I felt when I start praying," she said.
"I became preoccupied with one and only thing: how to get closer to God and utterly left behind my past life as a pop singer."
She said her West-oriented parents used to talk to her about Islam when she was a child, but they were not practicing Muslims.
There are some 3.4 million Muslims in Germany, two thirds of whom are of Turkish origin.
Islam comes third in Germany after Protestant and Catholic Christianity.
Kandemir said she wrote her first book especially in defense of Islam in the wake of the torrent of attacks and media onslaughts on Muslims after the Madrid and London attacks.
"I stressed in my book that there was no compulsion in religion as stated by the Noble Qur′an as people are free to choose."
She also highlighted the characteristics of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and how he should be taken as a role model for all Muslims.
"I described how merciful the prophet was with the orphans, women and children."
The book, which hit bookstores early in October, comes amidst a wave of anti-Islam books that started surfacing in Germany after the 9/11 attacks on the US.
Some of these books are written by Muslims who describe their "sufferings" under Islam.
On her future step, Kandemir said she will not quit singing, but will shift the focus.
"I will write and sing for children and could sing Islamic songs in the future."