Mos Def Named One of the Most Influential Muslims

The Brooklyn MC/actor is given props by an Islamic think-tank.

Posted: 12/15/2011 01:15 PM EST

Out of over 1.6 billion Muslims in the world, Mos Def is one of the most influential. Or so says the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Center, which has compiled their third annual list of the 500 most influential Muslims.

Citing his acclaimed music and acting careers, Mos' entry reads:

"Mos Def (born Dante Terrell Smith) is a hip hop artist who has recently become more popular for his acting career where he received Emmy and Golden Globe nominations. He is noted for his stance against the misinterpretation of the Qu'ran."

Mos, who now goes by Yassin Bey, is categorized under "Celebrities & Sports Stars," along with only three other Americans, Muhammed Ali, Kareem Abdul-Jabar and Dr. Oz. The rest of the list focuses primarily on clergy, royalty, statesmen and activists.

Mos Def was introduced to Islam by his father at the age of 13. He took his shahada, the Muslim declaration of faith, six years later. Mos famously opened his 1999 debut album, Black on Both Sides, with a prayer in Arabic: "Bismillah ar-Rahman ar-Raheem" ("In the name of God, the most gracious, the most merciful").

To see the RISSC's entire list of the 500 Most Influential Muslims, click here.

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