What Yusuf Islam is singing in a U.S. prison | SoundVision.com

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:

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.


As Salaamu Alaikum,This is just the beginning of the end. If they came for Brother Yousef yesterday -- then they will come for you and me today. We must all pray and make special Du'as to change the air of this climate. The climate is becoming worse as the days turn into nights. We Muslims are being tormented and tortured at the hands of the poweres that be. Whose is next???



As Salam Alaykum, I learnt about Yuful Islam's detention last Wednesday. The first thought that came to my mind was concern for his well being. My family and I listen fervently to many of his inspirational tapes and cds. Just as his music strengthen's our iman and makes us grow in Islam, we pray that Allah grant him iman to overcome this test. America and it's allies that are fighting Islam should realise that they fighting Allah, for Islam is the religion that Allah Has chossen for mankind. They will surely fail, for surely Allah will and always will prevail. Ma Salam



Allah is the best of judge,he will do judge who has done well with goodness and reward those with bad deeds with bad rewards.lets continue to pray for yussuf and others.sallam alykum



The reminder of Prophet Yousuf AlihiSalam--Yousuf Islam Cats Stevens! May Allah make the test easier...for you..and keep SINGING the great absolute oneness of Allah..


Kansas USA

As-salaamu Alaykum!when i first heard the news about brother Yousef Islam, i could not even feel my legs i had to sit. I have listen to Yousef Islam's songs, lectures, etc. and all i have learned from him is PEACE, & LOVE. i could not blieve that the MOST PEACEFUL man on earth is being labled in such disgrace. Nevertheless, i would like to leave my brother with this to keep in mind, "remember Allah is there for you, call to him and He will respond to your call, and keep on singing!" inshallah Allah will bless you in this dunya and in Al-kheira. NEVER GIVE IN LA ILLAHA ILLALAH, MUHAMADUN RASULILLAH....NEVER COMPROMISE PEACE(ISLAM)



aslamu ailaykum....i was refreshed by this article as it didn't simply use and abuse the States but was spoken by a person with true american spirit. it is people this who will se past the 'phase' that the states is going through or heading towards and be willing to stand up for what our founding fathers would most certainly want us to stand up for...individual rights....i have been living in the middle east for a VERY long time and the attitude here is very anit american...but what they don't seem to want to see is the what is being portrayed is not america, simply someone wearing the american flag....please keep these articles rolling...they are the breath of fresh air that all americans and american wanna be's need to hear...thank you so much...



Assalam u Alaikum, May Allah reward you for your sincare efferts for Deen e Hameed. Kindly convey our my best regards to Brother Yusuf Islam. We very hubmly pray to All mighty Allah to give him courage and patience to deal with this tens situation ( Ameen). He is not alone we all Muslims and truth loving people of this universe are with him.



And Allah says in His Book, "You can plan all you want but 'I' am the Greatest planner of all" so let us wait and see what Allah has in His plans for us. I pray for self control and patience for all our muslim brothers and sisters who are being persecuted in America. May Allah be with them at their time of trial - ameen.



Though I'm saddened by this latest test to our brother Yusuf, I'm sure we need not worry about him and his condition in the prison. He knows this is a test for him and we can doa that he's strong to face it.



As salaamu alaikum, To me this is obviously a grand stunt before the election bid. To supposedly let all of us Muslims know that none of us can escape, not even Yusef Islam. Our course of Islam gives us cause to remain steadfast, just like Bilal when they piled rocks upon his chest, this is just another rock. The end result is that we are rewarded for our suffering whatever, and whenever, so in the reality the oppressive side has not won not in this life and certainly not in the next. It cannot last because truth and justice and goodness will always in the end prevail. The only way for us is as each individual to be real Muslims in the way of the Prophet (saw) by being fair, just, righteous, kind to neighbors and everyone as best we can and be our own example of what Islam really is. To act with intelligence, to go back to the way of the Prophet (saw). We have to develope what faith really is. If we are doing right and not injustice to anyone we are free.


washington state


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