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Idol Chatter

Idol Chatter

It’s a Wild, Wild World

After nearly three decades out of the musical spotlight, Yusuf Islam–formerly known as Cat Stevens–is back with the promise of a new album. Inspired by growing tensions between his beloved religion and the West, the singer-songwriter will be releasing a collection of songs that he originally worked on 20 years ago, according to the BBC.

The new album will be released on the 40th anniversary of Islam’s first record, “I Love My Dog,” which came out in November, 1966.

After he converted to Islam and changed his name in 1977, Yusuf Islam dropped out of the music world and became involved with London’s Muslim community by becoming a teacher and founding a popular Islamic school. Since his conversion, Islam had released several albums of spoken word and religious music (some of which I have and love).

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He re-released his hit “Peace Train” in opposition to the Iraq war and has consistently spoken out against Islamic extremists as being contradictory to the peaceful nature of the religion. I can’t help but think his activity on this issue inadvertently led to the strange incident in 2004 when the U.S. refused his entry to this country (when he was coming to receive a peace award from a group of Nobel Peace Laureates) on grounds that he was “a threat to national security.”

So why, after so long, is Islam returning to popular music? In his true humble style, Islam told The Independent that “there were 100 reasons for leaving the music industry, not least because I had found what I was looking for spiritually. Today there are perhaps one hundred and one good reasons why I feel right making music and singing about life in this fragile world again.”

I can’t wait to hear this album.

  • Susan

    I am so excited to read that Islam (Cat Stevens) will be back in the music world. What a better way to “reach the people”, give them something to sing.>

  • Jim Slarzynski

    What is the real reason that the USA won’t let him in again anyways?>

  • Elaine Jackson

    I was delighted to see this article. Glad to hear we will be hearing more music from this man. I always felt he received a bum rap from this country.>

  • Laurie K

    The denial of entry had to do with alleged ties to Hamas of the group he was associating with. And people always point to his Rushdie statements, in which he tacitly supported the fatwa against the author by saying, basically, “Hey the Koran only allows one punishment.” He’s backpedalled on it, saying he was a new Muslim (he wasn’t really) just repeating what his religion demands, something akin to a Christian saying stoning is the only acceptable punishment for an adulterer. I don’t agree with his denial of entry into the States, but feel that my money can be better spent than lining the pockets of a man who has had some hateful stances on issues I feel are important. I like his older music, but he won’t be getting any more of my money.>

  • Alicia

    I believe the reason Yusuf Islam wasn’t allowed into the U.S. had to do with alleged ties to radical Islamists in London. If that is the case, I think the U.S. was right to keep him out. I don’t think I know anyone who didn’t love his music when Yusuf Islam was Cat Stevens. Personally, I think there are a lot of problems with the mainstream of Islam today, not just with the Islamists, and I think Cat Stevens “bought into” those problems, whether he wanted to or not, when he converted.>

  • Amir

    Yusuf Islam is a blessing from God. I suspect many people have seen the path of truth thanks to him(by God’s permission).>

  • Nour

    I loved him then and I love him now !! He has done great things for the Islamic Society and children. Nour>

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