Plus, receive recommendations and exclusive offers on all of your favorite books and authors from Simon & Schuster.
French rap star recounts his journey from the ghettos of Strasbourg through radical Islam to the Sufi message of universal love
• Explains how the luminous message of love in Sufism now animates Malik’s music
• Offers an intimate look at life in the ghettos and madrassas of the poorest neighborhoods in Europe
As a poor black resident in one of the notorious French banlieues (the ghettos surrounding French cities), Abd al Malik had every chance of meeting the same fate as many of his peers: drug addiction, prison, and/or an early grave. Despite his early involvement in the endemic crime that was routine in his neighborhood, his keen intelligence won him admission to some of the most prestigious schools in Strasbourg. His dual life as honor student/pickpocket ended when he converted to Islam, where again his intellect and sensitivity prevented him from entering the hate-filled spiral promoted by the fundamentalists. His distaste for the hatred they preached in the madrassas and his love of music led him to Moroccan Sufi master Sidi Hamza al-Qadiri al-Butchichi, whose message of universal love and joy now animates the rap songs of this prize-winning composer and performer.
As the singer says in his Ode to Love:
“Love the other whatever the cost and direct the struggle against yourself
The treasure of the just is buried within my chest
If there is enough for one, let’s share it, there is enough for all.”