The whole point of free speech is not to make ideas exempt from criticism but to expose them to it.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Yusuf Islam

Some of us remember him as Cat Stevens. He recently appeared on Steven Colbert's television show and he sang.

He was wrongly accused of calling for the execution of Salman Rushdie after Rusdie published his book "Satanic Verses." Yusuf thought the book blasphemous. But he did not call for Rusdie's execution.

His conversion to Islam is sincere. He has lead a peaceful life in the service of those in need. I don't agree with his world view. But I don't agree with Obama's world view either. And I surely do not agree with Dr. James Dobson's.

If we believe in every man's right to choose a religion, then we must believe in Yusuf Islam's right to choose his. He has led his life as a man of faith and peace. He has said things in the past that were less offensive than Wanda Sykes' standup routine at the Correspondents Dinner, and has been reviled for them.

He is one of my generation's most significant poets and songwriters. He has a new record out "Roadsinger." He has not lost his talent for penning a striking message. Check him out here.

Cat Stevens is back. Consider welcoming him as Yusuf.

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