When Yusuf Islam, known to many as Cat Stevens (his given name is actually Steven Demetre Georgiou, but he changed his name after a conversion to Islam in 1979) will be making the rounds on television this week. For the first time in ages, it will be because of his music.
Islam will be performing Wednesday on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and Friday on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, in support of his new album Roadsinger. A pop album that harkens back to classic Cat Stevens work like Matthew and Son and Tea for the Tillerman, the new disc is being heralded as a return to form.
Many say that it’s been quite some time since Yusuf has been in “form,” but he’s been no stranger to the media these past few years, usually resulting of being on the receiving end of anti-Muslim paranoia. In 2004, his flight from London to Washington (where he was to meet with Dolly Parton) was diverted to Maine due to Islam being on a no-fly list. He was subsequently deported back to the United Kingdom over suspicion of terrorist-related activities, despite having been recently given a Man of Peace award from the Nobel Peace Prize Laureates Committee. Two popular British tabloids supported his deportation and made claims that Islam had supported terrorism. He sued them both for libel and won.
Then, in 2008, another tabloid claimed that Islam did not speak to women other than his wife, which was completely untrue. He sued them and won too.
Islam was most recently in the news last week, adding his name to the long list of musicians claiming that Coldplay stole their work for their song Viva La Vida. Coldplay has denied the allegations, but given Islam’s winning ways in the courts, they should have reason to worry!