Zayn Malik Targeted By Racists, Islamophobia Again: Yet Not A ‘Token Muslim’

Zayn Malik is being noted for many things as 2015 ends, but some of the headlines he has been in over the month of December relate to Donald Trump and/or Islamophobia.

In Zayn Malik’s real life, he has been recording news music. Zayn Malik is also alleged by insiders to be spending time either in London with his family — or perhaps in Los Angeles with or without his rumored girlfriend, Gigi Hadid.

Alternatively, Zayn Malik is caught up in the press because he is noted as being one of the world’s most popular Muslims — despite noting himself as not being the world’s “token Muslim.”

Zayn Malik is someone Americans relate to, so he is often used to fight Islamophobia.
Many Americans relate to Zayn Malik and this may be why his name is often used to fight Islamophobia. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

Although Zayn Malik’s parents are Muslim, and he considers himself one as well, he makes it clear that his lifestyle is criticized by many Muslims. For instance, Zayn Malik has tattoos which are questioned by some Muslims.

In other words, Zayn Malik does not see himself as being the ideal Muslim compared to the way some Muslims follow the faith, and he stated the following about being Muslim in the public eye to Fader.

“I don’t feel like I felt pressure ever. I always felt good that I was, like, first of my kind in what I was doing. I enjoyed that I brought the diversity. But I would never be trying to influence anything or try to stamp myself as a religious statement or portrayal of anything. I am me. I’m just doing me.”

Nevertheless, the pressure to stand up for issues close to the worldwide Muslim community is out there, and the Fader addresses it with the following.

“Some people have expressed hope that leaving One Direction would embolden Zayn to talk more about political issues, like Islamophobia in the West, but he doesn’t seem driven to.”

Whether or not Zayn Malik wants to take a political stand for anything related to Islam or Southwest Asia, he gets drawn into these specific types of issues, nonetheless.

For instance, when Zayn Malik left One Direction, Paper Mag wrote, “While the rest of One Direction busied themselves with youthful indiscretions and perfecting the hetero piggyback ride, Zayn had bigger things to deal with: getting engaged and grappling with Islamophobia.”

Adding to the list of “Muslim issues” the media creates, Donald Trump’s brand of Islamophobia has also managed to ensnare Zayn Malik.

People wrote a response to Donald Trump’s official statement against Muslims on December 9, and used the following Zayn Malik quote.

“I believe that your religion should be between you and whoever your belief is in. I don’t think you should stick it in peoples faces.”

Regardless, when people want to make a point about why Islamophobia is wrong, they often stick Zayn Malik’s Muslim-ness in other people’s faces.

As previously reported by the Inquisitr, Zayn Malik was used as part of a comedian’s Twitter campaign to send messages to Donald Trump about why Islamophobia is incorrect. After all, Zayn Malik is in Los Angeles on a visa (that Trump says should be revoked for all Muslims).

Zayn Malik fights Islamophobia in America by being a good Muslim example.
Zayn Malik may not want to be a token Muslim, but he is frequently used as a portrayal of a "good Muslim" by those fighting America's wave of Islamophobia. (Picture by John Moore/Getty Images)

On top of that, more specific anti-Muslim and anti-Zayn rhetoric can be found online.

One example of direct Zayn Malik Islamophobic online media is a recent article from The Spoked Blog titled with “boy band jihad mega-pop star is pimping Islam on your daughters.”

On top of assuming that @ZaynMalik1D is Zayn Malik’s current Twitter account (its not verified as official on Twitter), the profile page of @ZaynMalik1D says, “Not real Zayn. Fan page only! If you were real fans you wouldn’t get Zayn’s real Twitter confused.”

The Spoke Blog goes on to quote from the fake Twitter account for Zayn and they add their own blurbs about Zayn’s threat on non-Muslim girls everywhere with the following.

“… Zayn Malik is p****** Islam on your kids. That’s in addition to his Arabic tattoos and frequent donning of the keffiyeh, the official garb of Islamic terrorism. Malik, a devout British Muslim whose family is from Pakistan, has used social media to proselytize Islam to his primarily female fans around the world.”

Sadly, Zayn Malik has had a long history with random Islamophobia and hate crimes. For example, Islamophobia Watch says in August, 2013, that Zayn Malik was directly harassed online and at a One Direction concert by someone that called Zayn a terrorist.

The Mirror stated on November 9, 2012, that Zayn Malik quit Twitter to avoid racist trolls. Following that, the Mirror reported in a second article on August 5, 2013, that Zayn Malik was targeted by a song placed on iTunes called “Zayn Did 9/11.”

Obviously, Zayn Malik is affected by Islamophobia, whether or not he takes a stand. Adding to this, some point out that Islamophobia specifically about Zayn Malik could be fatal to him.

Muslim Vibe highlights on April 8 that Bill Maher saying Zayn Malik looked like the Boston Marathon bomber, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, was “pure evil” and stating that Zayn looks like the bomber was a form of racism.

Furthermore, the writer points out that Bill Maher made these comments but was not “prepared to shoulder the burden if a madman harms Zayn Malik because he can’t tell the difference between him and Dzhokhar.”

However, many Zayn Malik fans still have faith that he will rebuild the images of the “modern Muslim man in an age of Islamophobia” by just being Zayn. In a Live Journal entry from December 8, a user writes that Zayn Malik’s mere presence is a threat to Islamophobia because he “ruptures the dichotomy of us versus them, because one of them becomes an us.’

Again, Zayn Malik would be the first to point out that he doesn’t want to be what Verge called “a token Muslim.”

Despite this, Verge states that one of the things that fascinated them about his Fader interview was “[Zayn Malik] wonders if he was cast as ‘the mysterious one’ in One Direction because of the color of his skin, and he has now told us that the entirety of his career so far has been a portrait of him as painted by someone else.”

[Picture by Ian Gavan/Getty Images]