Cat Stevens denies death endorsement

Dec. 20, 2006 at 2:53 PM
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NEW YORK, Dec. 20 (UPI) -- Folk singer Yusuf Islam, formerly known as Cat Stevens, has claimed he never supported the Iranian death sentence issued against writer Salman Rushdie.

Speaking with columnist Roger Friedman after a New York performance Tuesday, the 58-year-old singer said he never supported former Iranian leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini's death sentence against "The Satanic Verses" writer.

"I never said it," said Stevens, who was born Steven Georgiou.

"We were just poles apart," he added, regarding the author. "We disagreed. But I never said such a thing."

The "Morning Has Broken" singer also credited his son, Muhammad, for reintroducing him to the world of music two years ago and leading to the recent release of his newest album, "An Other Cup."

Speaking with Friedman, Islam admitted he made the album to allow the public to recognize the Muslim world is not as dire as recent world events portray it to be.

"The Muslim world now is artless," he told the columnist. "I wanted to show that there is creativity. It's not grim."

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