Yusuf Islam speaks about his exclusion from the US

Yusuf Islam at the 2012 APRA Music Awards in Sydney.

24th September 2004

First, 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 worldwide well-wishers.

After 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.

The 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. 

My 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.

The 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'.

We 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.

I 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 happened.

What 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.

Yet, 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, will prevail.

Note 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.

Enquiries to: press@yusufislam.org.uk

Photo Attribution:  Eva Rinaldi - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Yusuf_Islam_(7286244158).jpg

 

 

 

Comments

Alhamdulilaah brother Yusuf is back with his family.I hope this is the begining of good tidings and the end of bad tidings. We never know what is in store for us.

Location

Minnesota

Assalaam-O-Aliekum,I was deeply appalled by the news that Brother Yusuf Islam was detained by the FBI. The US govenment has set a bad precedence and sent wrong signals to the whole Muslim world by detaining such a noble laureate and peace loving person. I hope and pray that Allah SWT guides us to be united as one ummah and continue to be the beacon of peace.Wassalaam,Your Brother in Islam

Location

Toronto

Assalamu alaikum. My family and I are happy that all ended well, but it is painful to read about the ordeal that brother Yusuf had to endure. He has always been a source of inspiration and hope in a sad and chaotic world, and he should not think that this incident has changed that. With words of peace and compassion, he has kindled the light of truth -- the message of Islam -- in countless hearts and has helped countless others in need through his charity "Small Kindness." May Allah reward him and those who work alongside him. I realize that this recent incident must have been painful for him and his family, as it was for much of the Muslim community. But "God works in mysterious ways," and I believe that InshaAllah something good will come out of this dark episode.

Location

Saudi Arabia

As-salaamu AlaikumMay Allah grant peace and comfort to Bro.Yusef and his family and to all the believers. I was utterly disturbed but not suprised when I heard the news. However,being an avid reader and listener of current events, it just confirmed what I believed was going to happen. Furthermore, we should feel defeated. We now must follow our commandment and hold tight to the rope of Allah and be not divived. We must love,support and pray for one another and for others so that their hearts may open and be guided correctly. As-salaamu Alaikum

Location

Delaware

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