Cat Stevens was a folksy, soft-rock performer in the 1970s. He sang pretty songs with hooks that caught in your brain and slowly nibbled away at your consciousness. I came to call this type of music "lobotomy rock"! I loathe lobotomy rock!
Like most other soft-rockers of the seventies, he had vanished by the time I thought about him again in the 1990s.
In 2002, he resurfaced in the media as Yusuf Islam, a devout Muslim who was concerned about the impact of the events of September 11, 2001. He calls himself a man of peace, and his religion a religion of peace. He travels the world discussing peace.
I was appalled when the United States refused him entry to the country for a conference on world peace. he was deemed a terror threat.
"Absurd!" I thought aloud. "It's friggin' Cat Stevens! He probably REALLY DOES believe in world peace!"
Then he slipped off my radar again and I have thought nothing about him.
Then I got my weekly dose of popbitch and learned that he is no different than most religious fanatics. He doesn't care about world peace, he cares about himself, and his behavior at the Echo Awards proves that he cares little about humanity:
Yusuf Islam . . . ignored female staff and helpers at Echo Awards in Berlin because, his aide explained, "Mr Islam doesn't speak with women except his wife. Least of all if they don't wear a headscarf. Things like that only happen via an intermediary."
Added at 7:50 A.M.:
A reader insists that the quote is a fabrication.
Religious subjugation of women is reprehensible, and I do not want to paint Mr. Yusuf with the brush of misogyny if he is opposed to Muslim practices that force women into a second-class role.
I have found the following sources:
Yahoo! Entertainment News
The original piece at ContactMusic
An anonymous message by a person claiming to be Yusuf's manager posted at the ContactMusic message board.
Men who continue the Islamic tradition of abusing women with subjugation in this way are not men of peace. The subjugation of women is anathema to peace. If anyone believes in world peace, they will work for the equality of women everywhere.
Added at 3:54 P.M.:
In this YouTube posting of an excerpt from the awards ceremony, Yusuf is seen walking to the stage, greeting men women and shaking hands with them. There seems to be no reservation or hesitation, he seems genuinely interested in engaging everyone.
When the video loads, fast forward to the 6:00 mark and you will see:
This hardly seems like the behavior of a man who refuses to engage women in conversation or dialog.
So, though I may disagree with religious practices that subjugate women, I have to say that this awards ceremony does not show Yusuf Islam to be a misogynystic fanatic, as suggested by the article at contactmusic.com.
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