A new documentary explores Sinead O’Connor’s love of music and hatred for the damage she felt the Catholic Church caused her family. The film, From Struggle to Serenity: Sinead O’Connor’s Islamic Revelation, is by filmmaker Asif Kapadia, who made the critically acclaimed Amy Like that film, it uses voice-only interviews (O’Connor rarely speaks on camera herself) intercut with archival footage and more recent re-enactments to examine the twin stories that defined the Irish singer’s life: her passion for music and her hatred for the church.
Sinead O’Connor’s Journey Through Life, and God
O’Connor’s complex relationship with religion spearheaded many of her public battles. One notable instance was her 1992 performance on Saturday Night Live, during which she tore up a picture of Pope John Paul II, leaving a lasting impression.
The move was a protest against the church’s silence on child abuse.
It became one of the biggest moments in her short career as a pop superstar. After that, O’Connor determined to find a religion she could accept as legitimate. In 2018 she changed her name to Shuhada Sadaqat and began a new path.
Her commitment to her new religion couldn’t stop her controversy and intolerance. He posted tweets calling non-Muslims “disgusting.” She even claimed she wanted to avoid everyone who didn’t share her beliefs.
As her mental health deteriorated, O’Connor struggled to balance her music and spirituality. Her final years filled with illness, drug addiction and suicide attempts. But despite this heartache, she never gave up on her art.
She continued to tour, and even released a final album, Blackbird, in 2017. O’Connor died at the age of 56 last. NPR’s Scott Detrow spoke to Shaykh Umar Al-Qadri about her life and death.
Umar was a longtime friend of O’Connor’s and the imam at the Islamic Centre of Ireland. The interview filmed in Dublin, and focuses on her religious journey. From Roman Catholicism, the religion she was born into, to Islam.
She embraced the Islamic faith before her recent death. The film is an intimate portrait of a charismatic and complicated woman. O’Connor, despite her flaws captured the hearts of millions of fans with her artistry. Though the movie focuses on her musical legacy, it also shows O’Connor’s spirituality and passion for her beliefs.