In my column dated Jan. 12, I wrote that the former Cat Stevens — now known as Yusuf Islam — is again recording after a haitus for more than two decades and could be in a position to bring some positive images of Islam into American pop culture.
Some readers tagged me for being naive about Yusuf, who was quoted some years ago as supporting the fatwa against author Salman Rushdie, though he claims he was misinterpreted. Some conversatives have also accused him of anti-Semitism and ties to radical Islamist terrorist groups. One reader wrote, “With these 1989 statements supporting the murder of Rushdie for simply writing a book, Stevens did more to hurt Moslems in the West than any anti-Moslem bigot.”
Is Yusuf Islam a decent soul caught in an ugly religious crossfire? Or is he an agent of hatred fooling the naive fans of the West and soiling the image of Muslims worldwide? And, if you’re a fan of his music, does it even matter?