Among those who appeared at Jon Stewart’s DC snarkfest (and attempt to suppress Democratic GOTV activists?) Rally to Restore Sanity in DC today was Yusuf Islam, the artist formerly known as Cat Stephens.
If you don’t know, he actually backed Ayatollah Khomeini‘s fatwa that ordered Salman Rushdie to be killed:
Robertson: You don’t think that this man deserves to die?
Y. Islam: Who, Salman Rushdie?
Y. Islam: Yes, yes.
Robertson: And do you have a duty to be his executioner?
Y. Islam: Uh, no, not necessarily, unless we were in an Islamic state and I was ordered by a judge or by the authority to carry out such an act – perhaps, yes.
[Some minutes later, Robertson on the subject of a protest where an effigy of the author is to be burned]
Robertson: Would you be part of that protest, Yusuf Islam, would you go to a demonstration where you knew that an effigy was going to be burned?
Y. Islam: I would have hoped that it’d be the real thing
The New York Times also reports this statement from the program: [If Rushdie turned up at my doorstep looking for help] I might ring somebody who might do more damage to him than he would like. I’d try to phone the Ayatollah Khomeini and tell him exactly where this man is.
As Ed Driscoll points out, the guys in charge of this “rally” are working from Comedy Central, as the guys from South Park who got death threats from Islamists, in a very similar case as Rushdie’s (here, here, here and here).
But there is more:
Just had this from my marvellous Observer colleague Andrew Anthony: “He told me in 1997, eight years after saying on TV that Rushdie should be lynched, that he was in favour of stoning women to death for adultery. He also reconfirmed his position on Rushdie. He set up the Islamia school in Brent, which is currently undergoing council-backed expansion. Its mission statement three years ago explicitly stated that its aim was to bring about the submission of the individual, the community and the world at large to Islam. For this aim it now receives state funding. Its an incubator of the most bonkers religious extremism and segregation, and is particularly strong on the public erasure of women. Why do people go to such lengths to ignore these aspects of Yusuf Islam’s character and philosophy?
In his book The Fall Out Andrew Anthony writes:
Anthony has interviewed a range of Islamic figures, including Yusuf Islam, the former pop singer Cat Stevens, who has poured some of his wealth into a Muslim school whose stated aim is to give its pupils an all-enveloping Islamic education, so that its pupils will be Muslim first and last.
PS: By the way, these photos prove there are idiots in all countries. I like specially this one of a really good and convinced pacifist: