Having fled Mobutu's dictatorship, he converted from Christianity in 2004. In his messages, he vigorously defends his faith, but the lyrics and videos of his songs - which have sold millions of records - make extensive use of alcohol and scantily clad women. The invective on "Happy New Year" wishes is more a matter of internal political struggle than a defence of religion.
Paris (AsiaNews) - Of Congolese origin but French citizenship after fleeing Mobutu's dictatorship, he is 35 years old and since 2004 has converted to Islam from Christianity. In his messages he defends the ideals of Mohammed's faith with almost "fanatical" vigor, but in his music videos - millions of copies sold so far - the rapper and pop-star does not disdain showing cars with hundreds of horses, alcohol and women who certainly do not wear the burqa or the chador. Maître Gims recently made headlines, and sparked political controversy, for his invective against the wishes of "Happy New Year". Which, he believes, is un-Islamic because they are "beliefs of others, not ours". A radical with alternating phases, who with his intemperate remarks seems to wink more at domestic politics than at religion. A reflection by our expert on Islam, who lives in Paris:
Maître Gims, a pseudonym for Gandhi Djuna, is the perfect example of what I call "holy hypocrisy." All his videos are famous for the elements that conflict with his religious beliefs based on Islam, nevertheless he doesn't hesitate for a single moment to ask his fans not to wish him a Happy New Year, because "forbidden by his religion".
"Please, leave me alone - he affirms - with the various 'Happy New Year' and 'Happy New Year'. You know very well that I am not like that, I have never responded to such wishes, but you continue to send me your 'Happy New Year' messages throughout the month of January and February." Besides, it is the same "muslims"who believe as I do, I would say it is time to stop. It is the Muslims, the vast majority, who send me these greetings. My dear brothers, we don't celebrate this, do the companions [of the prophet, ed] celebrate the New Year? No, guys. And for this - he added - I ask you to stop."
In the video posted on social media, he also evokes Muhammad's companions, who at least in appearance represent an example for him, and who "have never celebrated anything, except for the two anniversaries of Islam." He even goes further, stating that celebrating birthdays would also be forbidden. Maître Gims should know that his religious beliefs state, "Verily those who love that indecency should spread among the believers ... in the world and the Hereafter Allah knows, but you do not know." [Surat An-Nûr (The Light), 19].
He rebukes and admonishes the simpler believers by ordering them to avoid partying and attending wakes, he who spent his time spreading what his religion requires him to avoid: spreading turpitude. But what hypocrisy! What nerve! What ignorance! Apparently everything is allowed, the only thing that counts is not to do as the "unbelievers" do. So it seems only fair to remind Gims that music is forbidden in the practice of Islam. And if his faith is greater than his lust for wealth, then our ears should benefit in 2022.
Today, in the face of such phenomena or examples, we must question the schizophrenic origins of the current Islamic malaise "because between the ideal of religion, the rigor of Muhammad's teachings, the straitjacket of prohibitions and the reality experienced through the diversity of cultures, the aspiration of individuals for freedom and the shock caused by fanaticism, the awakening is often harsh, even tragic."
Schizophrenia is very present in many Muslims, especially in the West. By schizophrenia I mean "the gap between the sacred texts of this religion and the reality of the cultures in which it has proliferated. In perpetual conflict between letter and spirit, between tradition and modernity, between the ideal of its origins and its application in today's world".