MINNEAPOLIS — Yusuf Islam, the British musician formerly known as Cat Stevens, is calling for the release of two American hikers charged with spying in Iran.
A video of Islam pleading for Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal to be freed on humanitarian and justice grounds has been posted on YouTube. He says they should be released if there’s no clear evidence they’re anything other than hikers.
Another prominent western Muslim, former boxing champ Muhammad Ali, has written to Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei twice on the hikers’ behalf.
The Iranian representative in Britain, Abdolhossein Moezi, has told Muslim servicemen and women to quit the Armed Forces, saying that their involvement in the Afghanistan and Iraq wars is forbidden by Islam. He said that it was wrong for followers of Islam to serve in the Armed Forces, especially in Afghanistan and Iraq where Muslims were being killed.
The cleric, personally appointed by Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to be his special envoy to the UK, also urged Muslims to defeat the opposition to the Iranian regime and keep the 30-year-old Islamic Republic alive. He condemned 9/11, 7/7 as well as the Fort Hood incident, but accused the forces of “Zionist imperialism” of using the atrocities to smear Islam and its followers.
Furthermore Moezi stated that his role in Britain was to provide spiritual advice to all Muslims, irrespective of their sectarian backgrounds, and encourage them to become more involved in British society through education and employment.