Years ago, Cat Stevens/Yusuf Islam (the man who ironically sang “Peace Train”) wanted Salman Rushdie to die because of his book The Satanic Verses and the fatwa issued on his life.
Because of that, a member of the Australian Parliament, Peter Kavanagh, wants him banned from performing a concert in the country.
“Yusuf has evaded on this matter for years,” he said. ”I call on the Minister for Immigration to deny Mr Yusuf a visa to enter Australia unless he publicly and categorically states that he does not and will not support the murder of any person for the expression of views, no matter how offensive.”
Sounds like a strong move by the politician. If Yusuf Islam wants to perform, all he has to do is say something like, “Violence is wrong and I don’t condone murder — certainly not in the name of religion.”
Should be easy…
In a related article about celebrity converts and the influence they have for various faiths, Anson Cameron of The Age explains what a fatwa is in a very refreshing way:
The fatwa exists as a bodyguard to a belief. And is understandable only as a statement that goes something like this: I cannot really, in this day and age, expect you to swallow this many Disneyish scenarios unless I threaten to kill you if you don’t. So the fatwa is an admission the argument was lost.
We can extend that, too. Anytime someone says you can’t criticize their beliefs, it’s because their beliefs are too weak to withstand scrutiny.
(Thanks to Cameron for the link)