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Is Cat Stevens a Terrorist?

Why Yusuf Islam was turned away from the United States.

5:43 PM, Sep 22, 2004 • By STEPHEN SCHWARTZ
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At the 21st ICNA Annual Convention, held at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, in 1996, Imam Hamza Yusuf declared, "I am a citizen of this country not by choice but by birth. I reside in this country not by choice but by conviction in attempting to spread the message of Islam in this country. I became Muslim in part because I did not believe in the false gods of this society whether we call them Jesus or democracy or the Bill of Rights or any other element of this society that is held sacrosanct by the ill-informed peoples that make up this charade of a society. . . . [T]here should be no voting or debate . . . [W]e have no room for ayes or nays."

After September 11, Hamza Yusuf adopted moderate camouflage and boasted of meeting with and "advising" President George W. Bush. However, at this year's convention of the Islamic Society of North America, on September 3, 2004, Hamza Yusuf declaimed, "the Republican party is basing an entire political platform, in the most powerful military nation on the earth . . . on the idea that Islamic fanatics are a threat to the security of this country, and this must be condemned. . . . I have never believed in my lifetime that a presidential election had any significance. . . . We must reject what is happening in the current administration in our name. . . . Those neoconservatives . . . that claim that this country was designed by people that wanted Christianity to be the law of the land . . . are telling a grave lie to the people of the United States." Hamza Yusuf followed up these rantings with fantasies of Islamic conquest of the United States and an endorsement of none other than Patrick J. Buchanan as a defender of "indestructible" Islam.

Those who scoff at the idea that the singer formerly known as Cat Stevens could end up on the U.S. government's "no-fly list" only show how unfamiliar they are with his beliefs and most prominent associations and activities over the last two decades.

Stephen Schwartz is the author of The Two Faces of Islam.