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Crowds lined the streets of Bray in Ireland on Tuesday to pay their final respects to Sinead O’Connor, the iconic and controversial singer who passed away last month aged 56. Among the mourners were Ireland’s president and prime minister, U2 star Bono, and the singer and Live Aid producer, Bob Geldof. 

O’Connor’s funeral cortege passed her former seaside home in Bray en route to a private burial, where Muslim funeral prayers were led by Shaykh Umar Al-Qadri of the Islamic Centre of Ireland.

“Sinead never stopped her search to know God fully, exemplifying a life marked with a deep communion with God,” Al-Qadri said. “I know that peoples of all faiths throughout the world will be praying for this beloved daughter of Ireland, among them will be countless Muslims praying for their sister in faith and humanity.” 

O’Connor shot to fame with her cover of Prince’s ‘Nothing Compares 2 U’ in 1990, and went on to become one of the most prolific entertainers of the 1990s. Unafraid of courting controversy, O’Connor infamously tore up a photograph of Pope John Paul II during an appearance on ‘Saturday Night Live’ in 1992. The stunt generated a wave of condemnation from her fellow celebrities, but O’Connor continued speaking out against the Catholic Church and promoting feminist causes.

After a brief spell as a priestess of the breakaway Latin Tridentine Church, O’Connor converted to Islam in 2018. Beset by mental health issues and anguished by the death of her son by suicide last year, O’Connor was found dead in her London home last month. Police did not reveal a cause of death.

As O’Connor’s coffin passed through Bray, speakers played a collection of her most famous work, including her extraordinary rendition of the traditional Irish ballad ‘The Foggy Dew’. Flags and placards hung outside her house honored the causes that she supported: Palestinian liberation, gay rights, and justice for victims of clerical sex abuse.

“The outpouring of grief and appreciation of the life and work of Sinead O’Connor demonstrates the profound impact which she had on the Irish people,” President Michael D. Higgins said in a statement. “The unique contribution of Sinead involved the experience of a great vulnerability combined with a superb, exceptional level of creativity that she chose to deliver through her voice, her music and her songs,” he added.

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