PARIS, Sept. 20, 2001, (AP)--Yusuf Islam, formerly known as pop singer Cat Stevens, denied rumors Thursday that he is associated with a militant Muslim organization in Britain.

``Like most Muslims all over the world, I want to state without reservation that massacres like those committed in the United States ... have nothing to do with Islam or with the beliefs of most Muslims,'' he said in a letter published in French newspaper Le Figaro.

The former pop singer said he had heard that French television linked his name with a hard-line, British-based Muslim activist, Sheikh Omar Bakri Mohammed.

``Under the present circumstances, I think it's essential to set things straight,'' he wrote, alluding to last week's terror attacks in the United States.

Islam, who changed his name after converting to the religion in the late 1970s, cautioned against violent counterattacks to retaliate for the hijackings, saying that ``this situation must not be exacerbated by reprisals on even more families and innocent communities.''

Those heading such reprisals would be showing the same mentality that provoked the ``appalling tragedy'' in the United States, he added.
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