Singer Zayn Malik, formerly with One Direction, gives a rare interview where he talks about his Muslim background. Zayn, 24, was born in the U.K. and raised by Muslim parents — his father is from Pakistan and his mother converted to Islam.
He tells ABC News that his background is something he takes “a great sense of pride and responsibility in.” And though he’s not currently practicing, he says that “the Islamic faith, will always be with me. I identify a lot with the culture. But I’m just me. I don’t want to be defined by my religion or my cultural background.”
In the early days of touring with One Direction, the singer says he was often profiled at the airports. “The first time I came to America, I had three security checks before I got on the plane… They kept me there for three hours, questioning me about all kinds of crazy stuff. I was 17, my first time in America, jet-lagged off the plane, confused.”
Despite this, Zayn keeps it pretty zen, noting that there’s no “benefit to getting angry.”
Read about Amal Clooney, another celebrity with a Muslim background, here!