Yusuf Islam, the peace activist and singer formerly known as Cat Stevens, may come to Dunedin to give the Dunedin Abrahamic Interfaith Group’s 2009 Peace Lecture.
Progress was being made on confirming a visit, after emailing him for four years, group chairman the Rev Greg Hughson said yesterday.
While in Britain on study leave recently, Mr Hughson met Islam’s public relations manager and delivered a formal invitation signed by Dunedin Mayor Peter Chin.
“The response was he was keen to come, providing he could fit it into his busy schedule.”
I’d heard that Yousuf had raised money for terrorist-linked charities.
Well, I had a look around and it seems it’s true.
Yusuf Islam is linked to Hamas through the following charitable associations due to both direct contributions and public speaking engagements. Islam was denied entry to Israel in 1990 due to suspected charitable donations to a Hamas charity during a 1988 visit (“Israel Bans”). He has written an informational packet for the Islamic Association for Palestine, a group alleged to have ties to Hamas, titled “Eyewitness” (Schlussel). Islam had a speaking engagement for the group Jerusalem Fund for Human Service in 1998, “that has been identified by the Canadian government as a Hamas front group” (Spencer). He has helped raise money for the Relief Fund for Lebanon and Palestine, a British charitable group labeled as Hamas affiliated (Malkin). It is important to note that Islam’s own charity Small Kindness has never been linked with Hamas. However, the link between Islam and other charitable organizations that support Hamas is clearly established. This linkage does not make him a terrorist unless Hamas itself is a terrorist organization. The question remains; is Hamas a terrorist group?
I thought this was pretty credible as a source, given they then find it easier to deny that Hamas is a terrorist organisation than to deny Yousuf Islam’s links to them.
And why exactly has he been invited to Dunedin?