bella hadid muslim
Photography via Instagram/bellahadid

Bella Hadid Says She’s ‘Proud to be a Muslim’

At a time when U.S. President Donald Trump is attempting to ban Muslims from travelling to America, it’s more important than ever for celebrities to speak out on the (now-blocked) ban, especially if it affects them personally. And that’s exactly what Bella Hadid is doing.

The 20-year-old model opened up about her Muslim roots in the summer issue of Porter magazine, reflecting on how her father’s experience as a Muslim refugee has affected her amid conflict between the American government and immigrants living in the U.S. According to Page Six, Mohamed Hadid was born in Nazareth, Israel, and lived in Syria and Lebanon before coming to America at the age of 14 with his family. Syria is included on the list of nations banned by Trump’s executive order.

“My dad [Mohamed Hadid] was a refugee when he first came to America, so [Trump’s travel ban is] actually very close to home for my sister [Gigi Hadid] and brother [Anwar Hadid] and me,” she told the magazine. “He was always religious, and he always prayed with us. I am proud to be a Muslim.”

Missing this kid. Love you bella @bellahadid

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This marks the first time any of the Hadid siblings (all three of which are half-Dutch and half-Palestinian) have publicly confirmed their religion. Bella and Gigi, however, did participate in a New York City protest condemning the travel ban back in January, holding a sign that read, “We are all Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims, Atheists, Christians, Jews,” written in a way that spelled out HUMANS vertically.

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“I’ve had incredible experiences all over the world… and I’ve learned that we’re all just people, and we all deserve respect and kindness,” she told Elle following the march. “We shouldn’t treat people as if they don’t deserve kindness just because of their ethnicities. It’s just not right. And that message—to be compassionate whenever possible—that’s so important to me.”

Last month, Bella’s older sis Gigi found herself amid some controversy regarding her Palestinian background. The 21-year-old model covered the inaugural edition of Vogue Arabia wearing a beaded veil and sported what looked like a traditional hijab inside the issue. Many people accused the model (and Vogue Arabia) of cultural appropriation, arguing Hadid was glamorizing something that other women are criticized for.

But while Gigi herself has not said she is Muslim, she has never denied her Middle Eastern roots but rather aligned herself with the surrounding culture.

“Being half-Palestinian, it means the world to me to be on the first-ever cover(s) of @voguearabia, and I hope that this magazine will show another layer of the fashion industry’s desire to continue to accept, celebrate, and incorporate all people & customs and make everyone feel like they have fashion images and moments they can relate to… & learn and grow in doing so,” she said of her Vogue Arabia cover.

Here’s hoping more celebrities and models will be speaking out about embracing their roots.