Letting Cat Stevens off the hook?

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?

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2 thoughts on “Letting Cat Stevens off the hook?

  1. “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 I don’t undimage of Muslims worldwide? And, if you’re a fan of his music, does it even matter?”

    ********************************************
    Why do neo-conservatives want to believe all Muslims are evil? Of course, just like in any other religion there are good and there are bad people. Most Muslims just want to live their lives in peace and are basically just regular people like people of any other faith. The neo-consevative folks seem to want to advance their agenda at any cost, and they don’t mind ruining peoples lives to advance their idiotic rhetoric and accusations.

    Many of these people don’t honestly have a clue about Cat Stevens/Yusuf Islam. In their hate filled posts they say things where you can tell they have never bothered to find out anything about Yusuf Islam. He is a Muslim and that is enough for them to hate him. They hate anyone who is a Muslim and actually, anyone who is different from them.

    I think the people that we should be most afraid of are the neo-conservatives. I have read many message boards where these people post, and the hateful, vile, crude, and threatening posts are unbelievable. Basically, they are the worst kind of hypocrite. I have never seen such vile language and hate coming forth from any other kind of website.

    I think that Yusuf could make a difference in how the East and West view each other, but I think when it comes to the far-right anything he might say will fall on deaf ears. They will keep (idiotically) believing what they want and they are desparate to believe Muslims are all evil. It is sad………..very sad.

  2. I’m not a neo-con, and I don’t think Muslims are evil. However, Cat Stevens was a bit too enthusiastic regarding the fatwa against Rushdie for me to accept him now. It’s one of those bright lines you don’t cross, in my book, because there isn’t a whole lot of going back.

    I’m a big fan of his old stuff as a musician. But it’s almost as if the real Cat Stevens was killed in a car accident in the 1970’s or something because he’s nowhere to be found in this world now.

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