blogenlust
9.21.2004

It's a Wild World for Cat Stevens, who is in Trouble and Miles from Nowhere.


Maybe they wanted an autograph:
A London-to-Washington flight was diverted to Maine on Tuesday when it was discovered passenger Yusuf Islam — formerly known as singer Cat Stevens — was on a government watch list and barred from entering the country, two federal officials said. United Airlines Flight 919 was en route to Dulles International Airport when the match was made between a passenger and a name on the watch list, said Nico Melendez, a spokesman for the Transportation Security Administration. The plane was met by federal agents at Maine's Bangor International Airport around 3 p.m., Melendez said. The two federal officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, identified the passenger as Islam. They said Islam was denied entry on national security grounds, but had no details about why the peace activist might be considered a risk to the United States. [...] The second official, who is in law enforcement and spoke anonymously because of agency policy, said Islam was questioned by FBI (news - web sites) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials. After the interview, Customs officials decided to deny Islam entry into the United States. He was expected to be returned early Wednesday to London, the official said. [...] He has criticized terrorist acts by Muslims, including the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and the school seizure 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." After the Sept. 11 attacks, Islam issued a statement saying: "No right thinking follower of Islam could possibly condone such an action: The Quran equates the murder of one innocent person with the murder of the whole of humanity."
Cat Stevens was denied entry to the United States as a threat to national security. Do you feel any safer now? Two things: First, the man who wrote Peace Train and Morning Has Broken is not a terrorist even though his name is Yusuf Islam. Secondly, why did it take until the plane was half way over the Atlantic to determine that a passenger on the no-fly list was on board? I thought the whole point of the no-fly list was, you know, to not let certain people fly!! Jesus. Cat Stevens is one of my all time favorite musicians. I highly doubt he posed any threat to anyone. Sure, there was that ignorant backing of the fatwa against Salmon Rushdie a few years ago, but he later admitted that he was ill informed about the whole thing. These days, he writes children's music and donates his royalties to charity. And now, apparently, he's doing some jihad on the side. Right. P.S. One of the best Onion pieces I've ever seen was when they had a headline reading: "Cat Stevens declares jihad on James Taylor."