22 September 2004
The Artist Formerly Known As Cat Stevens was bumped off a London-Washington flight when someone at the Transportation Security Agency noticed that Yusuf Islam's name was on the national Do Not Enter list. The plane landed in Bangor, Maine, and Islam was escorted from the premises before the flight to Dulles resumed.
In recent years, Islam has adopted the voice of the moderate, more in tune with the gentle nature of his Seventies songs, but his actions have often belied his words, which undoubtedly is how he got onto the Department of Homeland Security's watch list.
What's that you say? John Lennon? Oh, please. Even if the government thought it had reason to fear Lennon's political activities, the antics of John and Yoko weren't a whole lot different from anybody else's antiwar activities of the time. (Well, except John Kerry's.)
More to the point:
Lennon: All we are saying is give peace a chance.
Islam: Salman Rushdie must die, and Saddam Hussein is my brother.
There is a difference.
(Update, 28 September, 8:30 pm: Time is claiming that Islam's deportation was the result of a spelling error on that Federal list.)Posted at 8:20 AM to Political Science Fiction