Cat Stevens was one of my favorite musicians in the '70's. At the height of his career, he gave up music and dropped out of sight, or so it seems. The American press has had little to report about him over the years, and what was reported was largely negative in tone.
Yet in England, Cat, whose Arabic name is Yusuf (Joseph), has been a well-respected spokesperson for "moderate" Muslims for many years. I watched this fascinating series of video clips about his life and spirituality, why he gave up his music career after converting to Islam, and why he feels it is important for him to sing again (each clip is approximately 10 minutes long):
Thanks for posting this. The bio states that Yusuf Islam (Cat Stevens) is a voice for "moderate" Islam. I think this is important. His is just one voice of many who are not heard over the nightly news that portray all Muslims as jihadists. My prayer is that many voices like Yusuf Islam's begin to rise above the media portrayal of Muslims. Where are the Christian voices and Jewish voices? I long to hear their voices too. I know there are many Jews and Christians who would join Yusuf Islam's "Peace Train" if they only knew where to get on that train.
I don't believe peace begins by joining a religion but rather, beginning the conversation with a God who is Love. Once we find Love, peace will begin to flow from our mouth like a river. Whenever I found a God who is love, I never wanted to sing the songs of war anymore. Peace can only come when we act from a place of love and not fear. Those who believe in a God who is love should put away their fear of one another... And if you don't believe in God-Yah-Allah at all...Believe in love and we can join together and sing the same song. Love is the ticket to ride.. instead of declaring war...join hands in singing a new song of loving-kindness, peace, and joy. Let us all join in and ride the peace train.
thanks for your beautiful words, rudenski! I believe as you so eloquently state, that Universal Love transcends all religions and divisions that humans formulate to keep us apart from each other.
I am a Jew culturally and a "universalist" spiritually. I am very moved by Yusaf--I can sense the inner peace, love, kindness and sweetness that eminates from him even through the media of on-line video. It matters not to me that he is a "Muslim"; this man has moved beyond the narrow confines of religion into a spirituality that touches me greatly.