Is Cat Stevens a Terrorist?
Stephen Schwartz, writing in The Weekly Standard, asks, “Is Cat Stevens a Terrorist?” by way of defending this week’s diversion of an airplane and then deportation of the one-time pop singer.
This action will doubtless provoke loud and prolonged guffaws from those who consider American security policies to be excessive. But a look at the career and associations of Yusuf Islam since he became a Muslim in 1977 shows that the decision was correct.
Yusuf Islam is already well known for his public endorsement of the death sentence issued by Ayatollah Khomeini against Salman Rushdie in February 1989. “Salman Rushdie, indeed any writer who abuses the prophet or indeed any prophet under Islamic law, the sentence for that is actually death,” he said at the time. In addition, he has been barred from entering Israel because of alleged financial aid given to terrorist groups.
Is the singer a terrorist himself? Probably not. Is he an active sympathizer of terrorist groups? Perhaps not as much as he was in the past. But Yusuf Islam is most certainly a fundamentalist Muslim, whose views are radical enough to set him at odds with the great majority of the world’s Islamic adherents, and they are no better expressed than in his comments on his own field of expression: music.Wahhabism, the state religion in Saudi Arabia, and the inspirer of al Qaeda, is especially known for its hatred of music. In Wahhabi theology, all music except for drum accompaniment to religious chanting is haram, or, or forbidden. For anybody who has had contact with Muslim civilization, this is a fairly shocking bit of information, since music is one of the great glories of Islamic culture.
I have no doubt that Stevens/Yusuf is an Islamic fanatic. Whether he is sufficiently dangerous to be deported from the country is a different matter and not one I have a strong opinion on. I have seen no evidence yet, however, that the government needed to divert a passenger jet, inconveniencing hundreds of people, to nab him instead of doing so upon his landing at Dulles.
Update (1752): British Singer Yusuf Islam Plans Legal Action over US Deportation (Voice of America)
The singer formerly known as Cat Stevens has announced plans for legal action against the United States after being denied entry into the country Tuesday and deported. The converted Muslim now named Yusuf Islam told reporters Friday in London U.S. authorities still have not told him why American authorities have listed him as a threat to U.S. security. He pledged legal action to undo what he called an injustice.
The deportation brought strong criticism from Muslim groups as well as British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, who raised the issue during talks in New York with U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell.
Mr. Islam’s flight from London to Washington was diverted to Maine when U.S. security officials discovered his name on government watch lists. U.S. Homeland Security officials would only say Mr. Islam is on the lists because of “activities that could be potentially linked to terrorism.”
One would think, at the very least, the man would be entitled to a listing of the charges.