Cat Stevens? You mean the guy who in the wake of 9/11 spoke out loudly against the terrorists and came out of retirement to raise money to support the victims of 9/11, at some risk to himself, as some radical Islamists routinely harass and kill popular musicians? The one who donated a portion of his royalties for his box set to the 9/11 fund? The one doing AIDS benefits for Africa with Bono, Sting, Paul McCartney, and Nelson Mandela? That Cat Stevens?!
Yes. That Cat Stevens.
It doesn't matter that Yusef Islam (the artist formerly called Cat) is a proponent of peace and one of the world's leading humanitarian figures, or that by simply by being an Islamic popular musician, he is helping to weaken the hold of fundamentalism and religious dogma in their culture.
The Bush regime have built a great pyre around the rotting corpse of Joseph McCarthy, and are fanning the flames. It's the same kind of bullshit that led countless innocent Americans to be blacklisted. It's the same kind of bullshit that led to Japanese internment camps. It is the same kind of bullshit that they tried against John Lennon. It's the same kind of bullshit that drove the brilliant, dynamic Charlie Chaplin out of our country. It's unamerican. Have they no decency?!
The truth is Yusuf Islam is at heart a shy, spiritual musical genius. He never asked to be the spokesman for Islam, but God called to Yusuf in a deeply personal level through the religion of Islam, and Yusuf answered, in the same way that God calls to people through Christianity, Catholicism, and Judaism in this country every day.
If our media has traditionally focused on what the shy, standoffish Yusuf Islam thinks on issues involving Islam, it is because we are so fundamentally disconnected from the Islamic culture that we need an "ambassador to Islam"... and apparently we need them to be white, and to speak with a proper white person's accent in order to be acceptable. We cannot and do not turn to those Islamic Americans who have been a part of our country for generations, presumably because they have duskier skin and more pronounced accents. The message from our media is clear -- it does not matter if they are first, second, or third generation Americans. This is war. The loyalty of Arab-Americans is in doubt and they are not to be trusted. And now, apparently, we can't trust Yusef Islam either.
The accusation at the heart of this controversy is that in 1988, Yusef Islam made a donation to a humanitarian organization which was supposedly rerouted the money without his knowledge to Hamas. I say supposedly, because no evidence has ever come forward to prove this accusation. It is just as likely that Yusef Islam was refused access to Israel because of critical statements he made against their government's treatment of the Palestinians.
But wasn't it careless of Yusef to donate to such a charity? Well, first it needs to be remembered that this occurred well before 9/11 in an entirely different environment. Also, if we apply the same standard to Arab Americans, we'd have to kick many of them out of the country, because the largest Arab charity in America has been similarly accused, and then shut down without trial. Indictments are only now funneling in on these kind of cases, so chances are good that all Yusuf Islam did was give money to a charity which has been accused -- not convicted -- of giving money to Hamas. There are serious doubts that a conviction could be reached, because the supposed illegal funneling of money to Hamas that happened went into causes also supported by -- wait for it -- both the UN and the US government.
Yusef Islam's donation, intended for humanitarian purposes and made 16 years ago, was used as a rationale by the Israeli government to kick Yusef Islam out of their country. Now it's used by the United States, which has apparently adopted Israel's enemy's list verbatim.
It doesn't matter that Yusef Islam donated thousands to the 9/11 victims, to AIDS relief, and to many other worthwhile humanitarian causes. It doesn't matter that he has visited America for decades without a single incident that indicates any malicious intent on his part. He made a donation which *may* have been rerouted to Hamas without his knowledge, and as such, he must be punished... not by Israel, but by the US.
Why aren't we insisting that our government prove their case against Yusuf Islam? Nevermind. I'll answer that one myself.
"Disclosing such evidence would jeopardize national security..."
And what do you call a trial where the evidence isn't questioned and the defendant is always guilty?
You call it what it is -- a witch trial.
Shame on us and on our country. Have we no decency?!