Article courtesy of Vivian Kenudson.
- From Cat Stevens To Yusuf Islam:
- Convert to Islam tell of journey
- REVELATION: Yusuf Islam, the artist
once known as Cat Stevens, speaks on Sunday in Fort Lauderdale about his conversion. Staff
- By PETER BERNARD
- STAFF WRITER
On his long, winding path
from 70s pop icon to Muslim activist and educator, Yusuf Islam, formerly Cat
Stevens, faced many challenges.
"The journey was truly
miraculous," Islam told a crowd of about 700 Muslims, music fans and the curious who
came to hear his story at the Rolling Hills Hotel & Resort in Davie on Sunday.
"Searching for truth and understanding is not an easyjob."
The soft-spoken London
native, who began a music career in the early 1970s and ultimately sold more than 30
million records with catchy hits like Wild World and Peace Train, spoke in
Davie on the first stop of a four-city U.S. tour in support of a new recording project.
"Im back in the
studio, but its not to make top 10 hits," Islam told the crowd. "I want to
relate new ideas for people to talk about."
The ideas are contained in
a childrens book and companion CD called A is for Allah, a primer on Islam
for children and non-Muslims. Key principals, rituals and other aspects of the 2,500-year
old faith are explained through the 28-letter Arabic alphabet and readings form the Quran,
the sacred book of the Muslims.
Islam addressed the crowd
for about an hour, talking about his youth on Londons West End and his growth into a
recording star who was always searching for spiritual meaning to his life.
"I remember reading,
if you embark on the path you will never be satisfied until you reach the
I couldnt sleep the
night I read that," said Islam, who was raised as a Greek Orthodox and attended
Catholic School as a child. "I wanted to know for myself what the right religion
Islams path led him
to the Quran and the life of the Prophet Muhammed, a revelation Islam said many of his
fans respected, but many did not.
"Its funny how
when I tried to be good, to start living my life properly, some people branded me as
crazy," Islam said.
Islam alienated some
Western fans in 1989 when he supported Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeinis call for the
assassination of author Salman Rushdie.
Others have stuck by him
"I never knew what was
really said in that situation," said Cat Stevens fan Vivian Kenudson 28, of
Hallandale Beach after Islams speech. "Im so thrilled I finally got to
meet him today."
Kenudson is a frequent
contributor to the Cat Stevens fan Web site but had never met the man until Sunday.
"His message was
inspiring, and it held truth for everyone, regardless of faith," Kenudson said.
Islam also briefly answered
written questions from the crowd.
"There are always
going to be men who are oppressive towards women, said Islam, answering a question about
the status of women in the religion. "But all souls are equal, and these men will
have to answer to Allah for their crimes."
Vivians pictures from this lecture: