Yusuf Islam (Cat Stevens) to Open Sanremo 2014

February 15, 2014

 

Yusuf Islam was announced as the international guest for Sanremo (the large music competition held in Italy every year). In a press conference, held last Monday Fabio Fazio announced that Yusuf Islam, who for all connoisseurs of his music will always be Cat Stevens, will be the international guest on the first evening of the festival, scheduled for February 18.

The British singer-songwriter became popular in the London of the sixties beginning his career in the pop genre. Since completely changing his lifestyle, Yusuf Islam still looks himself by continuing to have an unshaven look while shouldering an acoustic guitar. In his latest album, Islam echoes the Mediterranean in his tracks with especially intimate lyrics focusing on the cultural and social scene in Britain, increasingly divided by economic differences.

 

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N.Y. bomb plot: What radicalizes some converts to Islam?

The case of Jose Pimentel, an “al-Qaida sympathizer” accused of plotting a bomb attack in New York, has once again focused our attention on why converts to Islam appear to be so fascinated by violent jihad. Is there something in the act of conversion that transforms normal citizens into messengers of death?

For the answer, let us look at the pattern of converts to Islam in the West. In the last generation we have had many high profile converts such as Yusuf Islam, a.k.a Cat Stevens, Sheik Hamza Yusef, Ingrid Mattson, and of course, one of the most famous of them all, Muhammad Ali, the great boxer. Each one of them brought their extraordinary talents to Islam and promoted better understanding between Muslims and non Muslims.

So what has changed today? Why are we seeing a number of American converts to Islam plotting against this country? In order to answer this question, I travelled recently for almost a year through the United States with a team of young researchers. We published the findings in Journey into America (2010). What we found was a Muslim community that very much appreciative of being in the United States as proud citizens, but was also sharing a sense of being under siege after 9/11. They saw their religion, culture, and traditions mocked mercilessly. They were conscious of the attacks on mosques and women wearing Islamic dress.

Yusuf Islam, the musician formerly known as Cat Stevens, asks Iran to free 2 US hikers

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.

Reviving the Islamic spirits attracts 17 thousand in Toronto

Approximately 17,000 Muslims came to Metro Toronto’s Convention Centre over three days to learn about their religion and being a Muslim in a modern world. They heard from Islamic scholars, prayed, visited with family and friends and shopped in a bazaar that offered up a variety of wares, including hand-embroidered shawls, books, T-shirts, hijabs for both women and children, jewellery and hijab pins. It will feature Yusuf Islam, the name Mr. Stevens – one of the best-known folk singers from the 1970s – now goes by.

It was all part of a three-day convention “Reviving the Islamic Spirit,” an annual conference with its roots in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attack. It is designed, organizers say, as a way to help young Muslims understand their faith in a North American context.

At the bazaar, about 150 stalls were open. A prayer area was sectioned off behind the stalls. The message conference organizers wanted participants to take home was that they must find a way to practise their religion in a broader, secular, democratic society.

Yusuf Islam embarks on his first tour in 33 years

Musician and song-writer Yusuf Islam, formerly known as Cat Stevens, is going on tour again after a 33-year break. After converting to Islam in 1977, he stopped performing altogether, and only resumed his musical career around 2001. He slightly changed his position on the permissibility of music in Islam, and from then on performed music that he considers halal, using only particular instruments and placing a strong emphasis on the spiritual or philosophical lyrics.

He opened his comeback on stage with a concert in Dublin, which saw a sold-out arena and enthusiastic fans, but also some angry reactions. A small group within the audience marred the show by booing and some abusive comments. In a reaction statement in The Times, Yusuf Islam said he was shocked and these people should not expect him “to return to the Cat Stevens persona of yesterday”, but also that he is glad to be back.

Yusuf Islam to release his new album

Yusuf Islam, until 1977 known as Cat Stevens, will release his new album Roadsong on 8 May. Islam, who had stopped playing and writing music for 28 years, reappeared on stage with his album ‘An Other Cup’ in 2006. In the years between he had dedicated himself to religion and philanthropy, e.g. founding an Islamic primary school in London in 1981. Critics say that his new album combines a lot of Cat Stevens and Yusuf Islam – although he himself claims no separation is possible between the two ‘concepts’. Spirituality has always been present in his works. The album gives a preview of his upcoming project, a musical of his work called Moonshadow.

Yusuf Islam accepts libel award

Yusuf Islam, the singer-songwriter formerly known as Cat Stevens, accepted substantial libel damages and an apology for articles that claimed he was sexist and bigoted, lawyers said. London’s High Court was told the World Entertainment News Network news agency and an entertainment web site, contactmusic.com, agreed to pay “substantial damages” for allegations made about him at an awards ceremony in Germany. The articles, published in March last year, falsely claimed he had refused to speak to or even acknowledge any women who were not veiled and was not prepared to speak to women other than through an intermediary, Islam’s lawyer said. Adam Tudor said his client was caused “considerable embarrassment and distress” at the allegations, which had created an “utterly false impression of his attitude to women” and cast aspersions on his faith. “In fact, Mr Islam has never had any difficulties working with women, whether for religious or for any other reasons. Women feature among some of the most influential people in his professional team,” he added.

“All of the damages secured by Mr Islam will be paid to his charity, Small Kindness. The defendants have also agreed to pay Mr Islam’s legal costs.” A spokeswoman for law firm Carter-Ruck told AFP that no details of the exact award would be made public.

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Yusuf Islam wins damages for ‘veiled women’ slur

Yusuf Islam, the singer-songwriter formerly known as Cat Stevens, has accepted substantial libel damages and an apology for articles that claimed he was sexist and bigoted. London’s High Court was told the World Entertainment News Network news agency and an entertainment website contactmusic.com agreed to pay “substantial damages” for allegations made about him at an awards ceremony in Germany. The articles, published in March last year, falsely claimed he had refused to speak to or even acknowledge any women who were not veiled and was not prepared to speak to women other than through an intermediary, his lawyer said. As Cat Stevens, Islam, 59, recorded several major hits in the late 1960s and 1970s. He converted to Islam at the height of his fame in 1977, devoting himself to education and philanthropy.

Yusuf Islam accepts libel award

Yusuf Islam, the singer-songwriter formerly known as Cat Stevens, accepted substantial libel damages and an apology for articles that claimed he was sexist and bigoted, lawyers said. London’s High Court was told the World Entertainment News Network news agency and an entertainment web site, contactmusic.com, agreed to pay “substantial damages” for allegations made about him at an awards ceremony in Germany. The articles, published in March last year, falsely claimed he had refused to speak to or even acknowledge any women who were not veiled and was not prepared to speak to women other than through an intermediary, Islam’s lawyer said. Adam Tudor said his client was caused “considerable embarrassment and distress” at the allegations, which had created an “utterly false impression of his attitude to women” and cast aspersions on his faith. “In fact, Mr Islam has never had any difficulties working with women, whether for religious or for any other reasons. Women feature among some of the most influential people in his professional team,” he added. “All of the damages secured by Mr Islam will be paid to his charity, Small Kindness. The defendants have also agreed to pay Mr Islam’s legal costs.” A spokeswoman for law firm Carter-Ruck told AFP that no details of the exact award would be made public.