Morning has broken

by Volker Weber

The Guardian reports:

WASHINGTON (AP) - A London-to-Washington flight was diverted to Maine on Tuesday when it was discovered passenger Yusuf Islam - formerly known as singer Cat Stevens - was on a government watch list and barred from entering the country, federal officials said.

United Airlines Flight 919 was en route to Dulles International Airport when the match was made between a passenger and a name on the watch list, said Nico Melendez, a spokesman for the Transportation Security Administration. The plane was met by federal agents at Maine's Bangor International Airport around 3 p.m., Melendez said.

Homeland Security Department spokesman Dennis Murphy identified the passenger as Islam. "He was interviewed and denied admission to the United States on national security grounds," Murphy said, and would be put on the first available flight out of the country Wednesday.

Officials had no details about why the peace activist might be considered a risk to the United States. Islam had visited New York in May to promote a DVD of his 1976 MajiKat tour.

A peace activist who speaks out against violence in a country at war. That sure is a dangerous thing.

Morning has broken, like the first morning
Blackbird has spoken, like the first bird
Praise for the singing, praise for the morning
Praise for the springing fresh from the world

Cat Stevens, Morning has broken, Teaser and the firecat, 1971


Interesting. Here in the US, this was initially reported as a case of mistaken identity (similar to what happened to Ted Kennedy), and it wasn't mentioned that he was sent away.

DaveP, 2004-09-22

Per the BBC:Four years ago, Mr Islam was deported from Israel over allegations that he backed militant Muslims.I guess that may be why he’s on the list. Still makes no sense given that he was in NYC in May though...

Ben Poole, 2004-09-22

reminds me somehow about this video.

oh, it's just almost always a case of mistaken identity ;)

Sascha Reissner, 2004-09-22

Not a mistake at all. Yousuf Islam was brought into Islam by conscience, but was educated essentially by Wahidist teachers. He has been around long enough to make up his own mind about things now, but I can still remember his comments on the Salman Rushdie affair. The former Cat had been mixed with some dangerous company in those early days, and as a man who needed above all else direction, he was easy prey for radicals. Listening to him speak since 9/11 (when again, his conscience forced him to act), and wacthing what he has done with his wealth, one can plainly see that the man is a man of peace, and that the deep (but aimless in his youth) spiritual quest is still a driving force in his life. I do not agree with his conclusions as to the truth of any particular religion or tradition, but I'd take him off the danger list.

Stan Rogers, 2004-09-22

There is a long history of allegations of Yusuf Islam/Cat Stevens' support for terrorism. This goes at least as far back as to the time when Salman Rushdie was under death threat from the Iranian mullahs, and Yusuf Islam was quoted as supporting the edict. I have no idea whether or not there's any truth to any of the allegations, but I believe I recall reading that there has also been "interst" in him by the UK authorities due to his association with groups that allegedly support terrorism.

Richard Schwartz, 2004-09-22

Clearly he is a terrorist threat. There is ample evidence. For example, he has in the past admitted to being followed by a moon shadow.......

For anyone who is not aware, the best coverage of our increasingly absurd current events, including the election, is usually on Comedy Central:

From their story on Cat Stevens: "This is a huge win on the war on terror. We finally nabbed the guy who wrote "peace train"".

Brian Benz, 2004-09-23

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