I wrote today about Jon Stewart’s and Stephen Colbert’s “Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear,” which was held Saturday on the Mall in Washington, D.C. In the past few hours, some controversy has emerged over the organizers’ invitation to Yusuf Islam, the musician formerly known as Cat Stevens. Israel deported Islam in 2000 on the grounds that he donated money to a Hamas-affiliated charity; he denied having knowingly given money to the group.
Today’s to-do, however, concerns Islam’s semi-retracted statements in support of Ayatollah Khomeini’s 1989 fatwa against the novelist Salman Rushdie following the publication of The Satanic Verses. Via Ben Smith, Standpoint’s Nick Cohen received this from Rushdie:
I’ve always liked Stewart and Colbert but what on earth was Cat Yusuf Stevens Islam doing on that stage? If he’s a “good Muslim” like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar then I’m the Great Pumpkin. Happy Halloween.
I spoke to Jon Stewart about Yusuf Islam’s appearance. He said he was sorry it upset me, but really, it was plain that he was fine with it. Depressing.
Rushdie: Stewart’s Cat Stevens Stance ‘Disappointing’ [Ben Smith]
Chuckles [Tablet Magazine]