op/ed from the former Cat Stevens (Sept. 29, 2004)
Yusuf Islam, f/k/a Cat Stevens, has penned an op/ed piece appearing in today’s Los Angeles Times (Sept.28, 2004), in which he describes his trip last week to the U.S.A. and subsequent deportation. “Something Bad Has Begun: The former Cat Stevens says he hasn’t changed but the U.S. has.” Here are important excerpts (emphasis added):
“The unbelievable thing is that only two months earlier, I had been having meetings in Washington with top
officials from the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives to talk about my charity work.
“. . . Had I changed that much? No. Actually, it’s the indiscriminate procedure of profiling that’s changed. I am a
victim of an unjust and arbitrary system, hastily imposed, that serves only to belittle America’s image as a defender of the civil liberties that so many dearly struggled and died for over the centuries.
“Need I say that any form of terrorism or violence is the antithesis of everything I love and stand for? Anyone who knows me will attest to this. I have spent my life in the search for peace and understanding, and that was mirrored clearly in my music. Since becoming a Muslim, I have devoted my life to education, charity and helping children around the world.
“Consistently I have condemned the attacks of 9/11, stating that the slaughter of innocents, the taking of hostages and coldblooded killing of women and children have nothing do with the teachings of Islam. I’ve openly and publicly repudiated the actions of groups that resort to such acts of inhumanity — whatever their names. Any allegations to the contrary are fabricated. The Koran equates the murder of one innocent person with the murder of all of humanity.
“Ever since I embraced Islam in 1977, people have regularly tried to link me with things I have nothing to do with. Take the Salman Rushdie case as an example, or the regurgitating of the accusation that I support groups like Hamas. I am a man of peace, and I denounce all forms of terrorism and injustice; it is simply outrageous for anyone to suggest otherwise. The fact that I have sympathy for ordinary people in the world who are suffering from occupation, tyranny, poverty or war is human and has nothing to do with politics or terrorism.”