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Islamic convert Yusuf Islam, formerly the pop star Cat Stevens, is barred from entering Israel after being arrested and deported for giving thousands of dollars to Hamas.

He supported the Islamic death sentence against author Salman Rushdie, telling a group of Muslim students at London’s Kingston Polytechnic: “The Qur’an makes it clear, if someone defames the Prophet, then he must die.”

When the Salman Rushdie fatwa was first promoted to the Islamic world in 1989, Yusuf Islam threatened the life of author Farrukh Dhondy on a UK TV panel: Our Islamic Fifth Column.

In September 2004, he was denied entry into the United States and his plane forced to return to London because he’s on a terror watch list.

But Atlantic Records is proud to announce a new addition to their roster: Yusuf Islam Joins Atlantic Records.

NEW YORK, NY—(MARKET WIRE)—Sep 7, 2006 — Atlantic Records has announced the signing of Yusuf Islam, formerly known as Cat Stevens, via a pact for North America with the artist’s Ya Records label. Ya/Atlantic will release Yusuf’s first album of modern pop songs in 28 years this November, which will also mark the 40th anniversary of the release of the first Cat Stevens record.

“We are thrilled and honored to welcome Yusuf into the Atlantic family,” said Atlantic Chairman/CEO Craig Kallman. “He is one of the greatest singers and songwriters in history, and one of the personal heroes of my youth. Yusuf’s new songs are as moving and timeless as the classics that inspired a generation. His spiritual quest is one of the most extraordinary stories of our time — a life journey marked by courage, devotion, and transformation. We are all truly fortunate that Yusuf has chosen this moment to return to contemporary music, delivering a deeply heartfelt album that addresses peace, love, and the higher self.”

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 Frank says:

Music is the most physically inspiring of all the arts. -- Said as he gave the keynote address at the American Society of University Composers in Columbus Ohio in 1985.