Islam speaks about his recent exclusion
from the US
I thank God for relieving me of my ordeal
and delivering me home safe; also, thanks
to all those who prayed for me and supported
me through this whole dark episode, from eminent
politicians, the press and religious leaders,
to plain, everyday people. Never would I believe
that such a thing could happen in the 'land
of the free' - unfortunately, it did. But
it's warming to have such a wave of sympathy
from my friends and my worldwide well-wishers.
the experience of my dramatic deportation
from the U.S.A. it feels like I am on a different
planet from the one I was on a couple of days
ago; certainly the world has changed, not
for the best. Two days beforehand, I had started
a journey with my daughter to Nashville, intending
to initiate work on a new recording project.
Suddenly, our aeroplane was diverted 600 miles
to Bangor International Airport and I found
myself surrounded by six uniformed officers
and handed over to the FBI for questioning.
most upsetting thing at this point was being
separated from my daughter, Maymanah, not
knowing how she was or when and where we might
be united. And since my phone was confiscated
I couldn't contact my family (nor could they
ring me) and they were relegated to watching
the whole frightening episode on TV and surviving
on scraps of information shown by the media.
interrogators repeatedly wanted to know how
my name was spelt; it sounded to me as though
they had it mixed up with someone else's.
Security officers finally told me that my
name was on a 'No Fly List', I was classified
as 'Inadmissible', and sent back to London.
amazing thing is that I was not given (and
have still not been given) any explanation
whatsoever as to what it is I am accused of,
or why I am now deemed an apparent security
threat - let alone given an opportunity to
respond to these allegations. I was simply
told that the order had come from 'on high'.
have now initiated a legal process to try
to find out exactly what is going on, and
to take all necessary steps to undo the very
serious, and wholly unfounded, injustice which
I have suffered.
am a man of peace and denounce all forms of
terrorism and injustice; it is simply outrageous
for the U.S. authorities to suggest otherwise.
I have dedicated my life to promoting peace
and understanding throughout the world. It
would be devastating were the charity work
I do through my humanitarian relief organisation,
Small Kindness, which helps countless children
and families, and which is accredited by the
United Nations, to be undermined by what has
makes the situation even more distressing
is the fact that I have now been prevented
from entering the United States - a part of
God's earth that I love and whose people have
always been great friends to me.
after all this, I can think of no better response
than by continuing what I believe to be the
tremendously important work of caring for
the needy and campaigning for peace and stability
in this volatile and increasingly violent
world, and at the same time try to seek to
clear my name of this appalling and baseless
slur. In the meantime I am confident that,
in the end, good sense and, above all, justice,
to Editors: Yusuf Islam's legal advisers are
currently seeking clarification on the detention
from the US Consulate. Cat Stevens was one
of the biggest solo artists of the 1960s and
1970s, penning such songs as Matthew &
Son, Moonshadow, Wild World, Peace Train and
Father and Son and selling millions of LPs.
Following a bout of TB early in his career
he undertook an ongoing search for peace and
ultimate spiritual truth. He embraced Islam
in 1977 and changed his name to Yusuf Islam.
Last year he was awarded the World Social
Award by former president Mikhail Gorbachev
for his humanitarian relief work helping children.
He also performed at Nelson Mandela's AIDS
benefit concert in South Africa.