The Yusef Islam controversy, brought about by an appearance of the Muslim singer at the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear, just keeps growing. Now Salman Rushdie, the author of “Satanic Verses” who had a fatwa issued against his life, has weighed in.
Apparently, Rushie talked to Jon Stewart to complain. Yusef Islam had publicly approved of the fatwa, issued by the late Ayatollah Khomeini, that called upon Muslims of good will to kill Rushdie for what he considered the blasphemous nature of “Satanic Verses.” What transpired is quoted in Verum Serum:
“I spoke to Jon Stewart about Yusuf Islam’s appearance. He said he was sorry it upset me, but really, it was plain that he was fine with it. Depressing.”
One can only imagine what Jon Stewart would say if a Tea Party celebrity, say Sarah Palin, suggested that someone should be killed for blasphemy against Christianity. One suspects that he would not “be fine with it.”
A lot of people remember Cat Stevens fondly as the singer of “Peace Train” (which he performed at the rally), “Moonshadow” and many other songs of love and peace in the 1970s and early 1980s. It is hard, therefore, to equate Cat Stevens with Yusef Islam, who while still an artist of considerable talent, wants to kill people out of religious frenzy. It’s not just Salman Rusdie. Islam has said that he is agreeable to stoning women to death for adultery.
That last has no doubt broken the hearts of millions of women who grew up to the songs of Cat Stevens with the usual fantasies young women have for handsome, articulate pop stars.
Of course anyone has the right to go crazy, no matter how disappointing it is, though Islam bears watching in this era of terrorism. And Stewart has the right to use Yusef Islam as an act at his fake rally.
But no one is excused from advocating murder, nor is anyone excused from tacitly approving of that advocacy by using him as a music act.
Just as Islam is playing off of the peaceful Cat Stevens image, after years of eschewing music making as being contrary to Islam, Stewart is pretending to be the voice of reason on “The Daily Show,” rolling his eyes at the foibles of the Right, smirking at carefully edited videos of people like George W. Bush, Sarah Palin, and all of his enemies at Fox News.
Jon Stewart also works for Comedy Central, which censored “South Park” for even mentioning the name of Mohammed, the Islamic prophet. His response to that was pretty mealy mouthed too.
The left gets away with this on a regular basis. It really is a “Wild World.”
Source: Jon Stewart’s Response to Salman Rushdie, Verum Serum, November 2nd, 2010