What Yusuf Islam is singing in a U.S. prison

What Yusuf Islam is singing in a U.S. prison

As I write these lines, brother Yusuf Islam (Cat Stevens) is probably sitting in a small, stinking prison cell somewhere in Bangor, Maine with his hands and legs tied. That is how potential deportees are treated nowadays. He has been there for more than 12 hours and he may remain there until he is deported.

But since he is on a US Terrorist Watch List, which probably means he will not be able to return to the UK on a passenger plane, I don't know what US authorities will do to him.

Yusuf Islam is probably the most well-known convert to Islam alive today. The 56-year-old Briton became Muslim in the late 1970s after success as a pop star. Since his conversion, he has been actively involved in charitable works, and in the last decade, restarted his career as a singer.

I feel for this brother who sang "Peace Train" in 1971. After becoming Muslim, Yusuf was reluctant to sing again. But people like me kept pushing him until he did. The September 11 terrorist attacks motivated Yusuf to re-record this song that ends like this:

Now I've been crying lately, thinking about the world as it is
Why must we go on hating, why can't we live in bliss

Cause out on the edge of darkness, there rides a peace train
Oh peace train take this country, come take me home again

I hope Yusuf can use this time in that stinking prison cell to plant some flowers of peace, sprinkled with dews of sympathy for every oppressed person in the world.

I hope he can also write a few songs about my adopted country, the United States, something about the need to save it from the people who are destroying it. I'm not talking about the terrorists whose hands I hope will never reach America again. Terrorists, strangely, are making America stronger because their craziness gives us a resolve to fight for freedom. But the neocons who have occupied our country are dismantling our constitution, freedom and liberty, brick by brick.

I know Yusuf Islam welcomes my suggestions about songs. I know that my email cannot reach him although I wrote to him this morning. But if I could, I would also suggest a song for those hundreds and thousands of Americans whose hearts are bleeding for America. These are people who stand with all peace- and justice-loving people of the world who want America to rise again towards its highest ideals: justice and liberty for all.

While Yusuf is at it, he can compose a song about the thousands in America and the millions worldwide who are sitting in filthy prisons for the crime of wanting freedom. These are people who can cry but no one listens to them. I hope Yusuf will not only write these songs, but he will travel the world singing for peace, justice and freedom for all.

Islamophobia has reached new heights and humanity has fallen to a new low. I don't know what has happened to Yusuf Islam's daughter who was traveling with him. But I do know what happened to one of his daughters in a London bank where Yusuf and his family had been banking for 25 years. This bank, which has benefited from his accounts, last year called the police on Yusuf's daughter. She was detained because one page on her passport, which she was using for ID purposes, was slightly damaged. She was humiliated. She had done nothing wrong.  This was the cost of being a Hijabi in the UK.

When discussing this incident with Yusuf, I suggested he file a lawsuit against the bank. But being the humble person that he is, he simply attributed the incident to a silly bureaucratic error although the bank fully knew who his daughter was. I wonder if her  humiliation played a role in his decision to move his residence and business to Dubai instead of the Islamophobic UK.

This is what I was discussing early this week in Washington, DC in a meeting of social scientists and Muslim leaders. One Irish-American professor who also attended said she wants to just move away from America until it comes to its senses. Two other Muslim leaders dwelled on this thought as well, questioning whether this country is suitable for those Muslims seeking freedom, since their religion and skin color fail the litmus test of acceptability today.

There are thousands of American citizens and permanent residents who have made that choice, moving to Canada or other countries in the hope that when America comes to its senses they will be back. I met several of them in Dubai recently. I was also told about a mosque near Sharjah, all of whose attendees are American Muslims who have chosen to live there. They feel more like equal citizens in the monarchy of the United Arab Emirates than in the democracy of America.

But isn't leaving just an escape route? Who will make America better if not those who feel so strongly about it? Neither Jannah nor freedom on earth can be achieved without a price. America has the constitution and the rights it offers its citizens because of the blood, sweat and tears of those who struggled before us.

As a tribute to these people, just yesterday, I watched thousands of Native Americans in the inauguration of the National Museum of the American Indian. There were six million Native Americans here when Christopher Columbus landed. By the time the European colonizers were through dealing with them, only 250,000 were left. However, they survived and today they number four million, including 500 tribes, many of whom still speak their own language. These people, although defeated, contributed to what America has become.

Then African-Americans through their blood, sweat and tears not only helped build America but also achieved the height of civil rights for people of color. Thanks to their struggle, people of color like me are in America today.

Yusuf Islam should write a song about these people as well so that Muslims remember those who have fought for freedom before us. American Muslims need to develop all the right alliances to make this country better in its ideals and safer from neocons at home and maniacs abroad.

If you would like Yusuf Islam to sing again, let's try to gain his freedom, first from possibly a filthy, stinking prison cell in Maine, and then from the US Terrorist Watch List.

In the US call the Secretary of State office: 202-647-4000

You can send a message via Internet on this page:
http://contact-us.state.gov/ask_form_cat/ask_form_secretary.html

Ask them to get him off the Terrorist Watch List
Ask them to get him released

If you are in the UK, fax the Prime Minister's Office at 0207-925-0918
Their website is http://www.number-10.gov.uk/output/page3.asp:

And if you decide to post comments here, do let him know what songs you want him to write. We will try to forward those to him.

Comments

Assalamualaykum,It is sad how Muslims are being treated here in America.Everyone...Islam is a target.It is important for us Muslims to stick together and love Islam.We have to be proud of who we are and what we believe in.Allah test those that he loves.Inshallah this will help Brother Yusef Islam to call on Allah more excessively and help him to know that he can only trust Allah.This may be a sign of Allah's love for Br.Yusef Islam....when the believers are put through hardships Allah makes it a means of forgiveness for our sins.Allah may give him a hard life until his sins are all wiped away and then in the hearafter he will go straight to paradise.Inshallah!without being punished at all.All we can do is make dua,make dua and trust in Allah.Allah help us muslims,forgive us,and keep us on this Deen.AMEEN!Assalamualaykum

Location

Columbia,SC,USA

Assalam Alaikum,though i have not been following the events,but , now i am aware of what is happening to our brother, as it has been happening to other muslims.May Allah strengthing his iman and continue to be his helper and this crucial moment.We should never deceive ourselves by assuming that, a time will come when enemies of Islam will stop making attempts to destroy islam(individually and collectively) in totality.But ALLAH will never give them the will to accomplish their wicked-mission.Besides, any muslim that is tortured/molested, physically or otherwise,because of his deen,ALLAH will reward him for that.So, American Govt can proceed with their wicked plans against humanity, ALLAH is watching and he is the most powerful. No conditon is permanent.The end of America is very near inshaAllah.

Location

Nigeria

assalamualaikum, wallahi if i say that i am not touched by this article that the writer has written down .... then i'd definitely be lying..may Allah bless and award u abundantly with all the good things of this life ...and the life to come.May Allah also make things easy 4 our brother in islam(yusuf Al-islam) and strengthen his iman.. especially during this trying period.We all as individuals as well as muslims shld realise that life is a fitnah.. and there wld dafinitely be trying times 4 us all.. but no matter what we shld never give into yieldings of the kuffar and we shld always be proud to be muslims(not 2 be ashamed).We shld all pray 4 our brother yusuf Al islam.. and hope 4 his realise from that filthy prison in maine.MASALAM.

Location

maiduguri,nigeria

asalam alaikum, i'm very depressed by the news of bro. yussuf's arrest,the US govt.should have known how much this bro. likes peace,it's now clear to everyone that the US govt.are really on to ISLAM,but like ALLAH has said"if u call the entire universe of humans and jinns to support u,without my permission u'll never succeed.they better release our peaceful bro.before another tragedy befall's the so called "god's own country".

Location

abidjan,cotedivoire

asalamualaikum, we all should perfrom dua for brother yusuf and for all the muslims who are being attacked. where i live alhamdulilah every thing is ok with us muslims.wasalam be confedent

Location

jamaica

aslamu ailaykum,Our Brother has taken on the actuality of all nations, and peoples who are oppressed and bound by man. He has been targeted by evil, but is being used to show the injustice that has spread throughout the world.He is the one that is chosen to stand in front of all people, because he is a Muslim, and because he truely wants peace. He has been given a gift from God, to write and sing and if God is willing, he will do the work that God wants and not what man wants. There is no difference in what has happened to him then in what has happened to many innocent people. We must follow the teachings of the Prophet Mohammed, PBUH. God loses nothing.Love M

Location

Washington State

Asalaan A laikum to all.My thoughts and prayers are with Brother Yusuf. As much as i am infuriated by the way he is being treated, i am not shocked at all at the behaviour of the US Govt. Just another stunt before election begins. May Allah give our brother the patience to go thru this test smoothly and keep him and his family safe. Ameen.ISLAM SHALL PREVAIL!

Location

hayward, CA

Aslelam Alekum. I just read this and i was so suprised and shocked by the info!!! Its so sad how this world is just falling apart, but at the same time this life is not ment to be perfect and perminant. The day will come when Allah ALMIGHTY will pass on jugment to each and all of us.No human has the power to Judge another, but its our actions today that will judge our future.America might think its all powerful but they have forgotten their creator.Its up to us as Muslims to pray for one onother as well as for owerself.Allah sees and hears all.I pray for brother Yusuf and his family...lets all not forget that all the great Muslims who have fought for Islam, our Prophets, who we can not even imagine wut they went through, to bring Islam to us today. Lets keep them in our prayer and Inshallah Allah will pass JUDGMENT on all our actions. Till then may Allah keep us in peace and OUR FAITH strong and stronger.I pray for all the people thier families who areare victims of this situation.Lets also pray for the non-muslims to open thier eyes and see wut Islam is REALLY ABOUT!!!May Allah guide us!!Alsalam alekum

Location

Dubai

Assalam-o-Alaikum, I personaly think this is a sign from Allah for brother Yousuf Islam. It's a sign for him not to go forward with this recording deal. He should focus on his nasheed and his other work helping the Muslim cmmunity. That is better deeds in this life and the hereafter inshallah. Salam.

Location

Assalaam alaykum! Infact , brother Yusuf Islam is mainly suffering due to his religion. I don't know why a state like US hates Islam to such extent? Do US think that they can stop Islam? Never! I say Never!! Islam is the True Religion of Allah, He Is The One Who Has choosen it for thewhole humankind, and He Is The One Who will protect It from evils. This is just an exam to brother Yusuf from Allah! Ma Salaam

Location

Morogoro- Tanzania

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