Cat Stevens: He hasn't changed but the U.S. has
I was flying to Nashville last week with my 21-year-old daughter to explore some new musical ideas with a record label there. Ironically, I was trying to remain low-profile because of the speculation that it might have raised in the music world about a return of "the Cat." Media attention was the last thing I wanted. But it seems God wanted otherwise.
Toward the end of our journey from London to Washington, the plane was diverted. The captain announced something about "heavy traffic." After landing in Bangor, Maine, six tall, blue-uniformed officers boarded and surrounded me and my daughter.
"Is your name Yusuf Islam?" they asked.
"Yes," I confirmed.
"Do you mind coming with us and answering a few questions?"
At that point my heart stopped, and my daughter's face turned aspirin-white. This was the start of the nightmare.
Three FBI agents escorted me away from my daughter and asked me questions. At first, it sounded like they might have me mixed up with somebody else, as they repeated the spelling of my name.
"No. Y-u-s-u-f," I carefully spelled out. The agents looked a bit puzzled.
As they continued asking questions, some of their queries were obviously not related to me, so I thought this must be a matter of simple mistaken identity. Whether it was a mix-up or not remained unclear because they weren't under any obligation to give me a reason; the green visa waiver form I had so neatly filled in earlier had effectively denied me any right to appeal or answers. It was only when an immigration official read out to me a legal reference number that he mentioned some implication with "terrorism" - no further details necessary.
The most upsetting thing was being separated from my daughter for 33 hours - not knowing how she was or when and where we might be united. Because my phone was confiscated, I couldn't contact my family.
God almighty! Is this the same planet I'd taken off from? I was devastated. 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. Even further back, one month after the attack on the World Trade Center, I was in New York meeting Peter Gabriel and Hillary Rodham Clinton at the World Economic Forum!
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 cold blooded 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.
Thank God my daughter and I were relieved of our ordeal and delivered home safely. I also thank all those who prayed for me and supported me through this dark episode; I have never harbored any ill will toward people of God's great Earth anywhere - and wish the reverse was also true.
Source: LA Times
Dear Brother and Sister
This event that happened to our brother Yusuf Islam Should bring us together to work for peace more then ever. It is also warning to humanity. Waging a war against terorist is one thing but if you waging a war againt Islam is another matter. The meaning of Islam is peace ( total sobmisison to the will of God ). Waging a war against peace will bring you down to the bottom of the lowest. It is not where human being should be.
Brother Yusuf, I still remember vividly your visit to Singapore years ago. Many of us had to stand on our toes just to get a glimpse of you and still many others did not succeed to get into the small auditorium at all. Well if the United States did not welcomed you this time, do come over to Singapore, we miss your beautiful Allah given voice! Inshallah!
You said:"Would you give a rapist the keys to your home?" With this you incriminated Yusuf Islam of being a terrorist. What kind of society you represent, U. Sam? You sound to me like the Spanish Inquisition! I thank God any time I read such horrifying comments that I live in a true free and democratic country: CANADA! I wonder over all those that would like to visit US as long as it is run by a most idiotic and paranoid administration in the world?! I was offered jobs in either North Carolina and California with very good to excellent retribution by different contractors coming in contact with me at my company. Guess what, I refused out flat. They tried to woo me describing the wonderful climate of those places. You can have it and choke with it! I would'nt just not go visit US, I would'nt fly over it if my destination would require that, like let's say a flight from Toronto to Acapulco I would take it from Halifax to Azores and straight over the ocean to Mexico! Who knows, maybe there is something wrong in the US air that makes certain people prone to imbecility!
I wish you well!
The no-fly lists the US has created have no right of redress as required by the US constitution nor a right to face your accuser and can therefore be used as an excuse for abuse. The Democratic Senator Kennedy also ran afoul a no-fly list. One wonders if the rules for putting a name on the list are no more objective than the Presidents ability to declare someone a terrorist and are therefore being used at whim.
It is this type of thing the founding fathers of the US fought against. And the people forced shields against them into the Bill of Rights. But the US has changed, significantly since the early 80's (when use of torture to extract confessions and "arrest of assets (without trial)" were declared legal).
We are seeing all that the founding fathers fought for being reversed by recent administrations. Indeed so that they themselves can exercise these abuses under the protection of "the law".
Those that would give up essential liberties for security will lose both, is what the founding fathers declared.
For they were not secure from abuse by their own government.
If a US senator can be abused, what hope do others have not to be abused also.
To compare Yusuf Islam to a rapist shows that "U.Sam" is a low life degenerate in need of reality. If any comparison to rape is needed, the daily activities of American war criminals in Iraq is all that one needs.
Peace and Best Wishes,
I am praying that Allah will use you to correct the wrongs done to innocent people during flights. Through you the U. S. authorities will see the wrongs and excesses inflicted upon so many nice folks. During recent travel, I saw old ladies and men of all races being asked to take their shoes off. They had to go through humiliating searches in public. I kept wondering why old people have to be searched in this way. Not every one is criminal.
I have read today that Mr. Colon Powell, Secretary of State, has asked for review of your case along with some other cases. I am hopeful that much good will come out of your terrible episode. May Allah reward you manifold and keep you and your family safe.
that action was also taken beause of zionist lobby
this shows how pathetically ignorant inefficient and paranoid they are for someone to consider you as a security risk is totally idiotic it seems like we are dancing by the tunes of israel
Our beloved Mohammed Rasulallah(saws)was the most
PEACEFUL OF CREATED BEINGS but he also dealt with the,KAFIRUN,MUSHRIKS,MUNAFIQUN etc.
It's time for the UMMAH of MOHAMMAED(saws)to view AMRIKA for what "she" is,a modern "MECCA"
Should MUSLIMS continue to make HIJIRAH to the lands of SHIRK WA JAHALIYAH?
PEEP GAME AND CHECK PLAY????????
MOHAMMED RASULALLAH after 13 years of being "peaceful,kind,nice,HUMBLE and overlooking
the faults of others" was ruthlessly KICKED OUT OF MECCA BY HIS LONG TIME FRIENDS AND EVEN BLOOD RELATIVES!!!!!
ALL BECAUSE OF-------
LA I LAHA IL ALLAH MUHAMMADAR RASUL ALLAH!!!
"They will not be pleased with you until you join them.
What would happen to AMRIKA if all of the MUSLIMS MADE HIJIRAH back to the lands of ISLAM.
The same thing that happened to MECCA when the MUSLIMS MADE HIJIRAH TO THE BILAD AS SUDAN and then MEDINA!!!!!
I personally am a man of peace but I put justice ahead of peace. I treat Muslims with respect & tolerance although I see that they do nothing to protect us from the sharks of Zionism & Imperialism but expect us to denounce resistance because they call it terrorism. That means that terrorising us is ok & we are expected to remain silent & we can only speak out against our own Mujahideen although I don't see the West with its Christians & Jews going to war to free the Palestians from the blue eyed non-semite Isreali Kazar descendent. This is why I still support the Islamic government of Iran & Hizbullah, the anti war activists, the peace movements, the environmentalists, Hamas, Izzidine Alkassam brigade, Islamic Jihad, the Chechens & Bosniac Mujahideen, jamati Eslami in Pakistan & Khashmir and our beloved hero OBL as well as his companion AZ etc. We need more Mujahideen that are willing to assassinate Israeli & American leaders overseas instead of killing innocent women & children so that we can export Jihad all over the world to rid this planet of its arrogant war criminals & evil political leaders. I know this will help America's tax payers & zionists slaves wake up from their deep slumber & overthrow the Mafia like, Wild West American regime.