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Is Cat Stevens a terrorist?


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Jet diverted after Cat Stevens found on watch list

WASHINGTON (AP) — A plane bound for Washington from London was diverted to Maine on Tuesday after passenger Yusuf Islam — formerly known as pop singer Cat Stevens — showed up on a U.S. watch list, a federal official said.

Yusuf Islam, formerly known as pop artist Cat Stevens, was aboard United Airlines Flight 919.

By Kevin Anderson, AP/The Kansas City Star

United Airlines Flight 919 had already taken off from London en route to Dulles International Airport when the match was made between the passenger and the watch list, said Nico Melendez, a spokesman for the Transportation Security Administration. (Related story: Government to order airlines to turn over passenger data)

The plane was met by federal agents at Maine's Bangor International Airport around 3 p.m., Melendez said.

Federal officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, identified the individual as Islam.

One official said Islam, 56, was identified by the Advanced Passenger Information System, which requires airlines to send passenger information to U.S. Customs and Border Protection's National Targeting Center. TSA was then contacted and requested that the plane land at the nearest airport, the official said.

"He was interviewed and denied admission to the United States on national security grounds," said Homeland Security spokesman Dennis Murphy. He said the man would be put on the first available flight out of the country Wednesday.

Islam, who was born Stephen Georgiou, took Cat Stevens as a stage name and had a string of hits in the 1960s and '70s, including "Wild World" and "Morning Has Broken." Last year he released two songs, including a re-recording of his '70s hit "Peace Train," to express his opposition to the U.S.-led war in Iraq.

He abandoned his music career in the late 1970s and changed his name after being persuaded by orthodox Muslim teachers that his lifestyle was forbidden by Islamic law. He later became a teacher and an advocate for his religion, founding a Muslim school in London in 1983.

Islam recently condemned the school seizure by militants in Beslan, Russia, earlier this month that left more than 300 dead, nearly half of them children.

In a statement on his Web site, he wrote, "Crimes against innocent bystanders taken hostage in any circumstance have no foundation whatsoever in the life of Islam and the model example of Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him."

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Stupidness. This is all because he made some slightly questionable statements about Salman Rushdie's book "The Satanic Verses" a bunch of years ago, statements that were (a) GROSSLY misinterpreted and (B) he has long since apologised for. This is just idiotic paranoia - we're talking about the the dude who wrote "Peace Train" after all!

Peace,

Mr. M.

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He ain't no terrorist, just a washed-up, misguided folk singer.

Although the above was phrased very eloquently, I can only agree with the first half. Cat Stevens has publicly disparaged terrorism in all forms, including the 9/11 attacks, for years, and for that reason I agree and sincerely doubt he's a terrorist. As far as being washed up, I don't think we can really know. The only album he has released in thirty years was a weird spoken-word, Islam-related thing. I haven't heard it. While that might make him misguided, as all fundamentalist religious freaks are, I would like to think that he could still produce the AWESOME folk music that he used to release, if he wished to do so; to this day.

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He ain't no terrorist, just a washed-up, misguided folk singer.

I don't know if "washed-up" is fair - he decided not to be a performer anymore for his own deeply held reglious reasons, not 'cus he wasn't selling records anymore.

- M.

Washed-up is fair, since he has put out tons of albums since his conversion that have tanked sales-wise.

Huh? Which albums were those? As I said, I only know of one, and it was meant to be a religious tribute.

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I would like to think that he could still produce the AWESOME folk music that he used to release, if he wished to do so; to this day.

I actually just listened to his a cappella version of "Peace Train" off one of the links that Paisley posted in that other thread:

http://islam.about.com/library/weekly/aa102201a.htm

He certainly still can sing if nothing else! I believe he also sang at the Mandela tribute/AIDS benefit concert last year.

- M.

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he has been writing and recording music but its been religious music for Islam... he lost interest in pop music once he became a Muslim

thats a good interview...

if you do listen to the recording of Peace Train, listen to the one at the end of the interview (first link)... the recording is 20 times better quality than the video link

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If I remember correctly, Salmon Rushdie had a Fatwa (islamic religious decree) issued against him calling for his dispatching. (basically a contract put out on him in the name of God to all muslims in the world.)

All Yusef said when asked about the Fatwa was something to the effect of "I would not be the person Mr. Rushdie would want to meet in a dark alley."

After the Satanic Verses, Rushdie himself converted to Islam for a brief time...

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Obviously, this guy is no terrorist. The US scares me. That Bush fooker has to go.

Actually, go and get the guitar tab to "Wild World". It manages to use just about every standard guitar chord in the book ... without being boring or sounding forced ... which is saying something. Most folking can only fit in about 3 chords (G, C and D) unless it's the Zep folk!

Steve

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If I remember correctly, Salmon Rushdie had a Fatwa (islamic religious decree) issued against him calling for his dispatching. (basically a contract put out on him in the name of God to all muslims in the world.)

All Yusef said when asked about the Fatwa was something to the effect of "I would not be the person Mr. Rushdie would want to meet in a dark alley."

Here's the story according to the Biography Channel site entry for Cat Stevens:

A scandal broke out in 1989 when Yusuf was asked by a radio presenter to give his opinion on Salman Rushdie’s controversial book "Satanic Verses." Although he stated that he thought the book to be blasphemous to the Islamic faith, he also declared that he did not condone the views of Ayatollah Khomeini, who had called for the death sentence for Rushdie. However, Yusuf Islam was misrepresented in the press and his music was subsequently blacklisted by a number of radio stations.

After the Satanic Verses, Rushdie himself converted to Islam for a brief time...

Wasn't he born a Muslim? He was born in India or Pakistan if I remember right.

- M.

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