The Washington Post reported that Islam is identified as "Usef Islam" on several government watch lists, including the no-fly list. According to some print and broadcast reports, Islam's name is on the lists because he allegedly contributed funds to groups supporting terrorism.
However, he was allowed to visit New York as recently as May for a charity event without incident. No immediate comment from the feds on why he was permitted to fly then and not now.
danger danger! don't let that man on a plane or else he might whip out his checkbook! let's hear what reuters has to say (as reprinted in wired):
"Why is he on the watch lists? Because of his activities that could be potentially linked to terrorism. The intelligence community has come into possession of additional information that further raises our concern (about Islam)," Doyle said.
A law enforcement official who asked not to be identified said the United States had information Islam had donated money to the militant Islamic group Hamas.
Islam was denied entry to Israel in 2000 after the authorities there accused him of supporting Hamas. The former pop star strongly denied the charges and said his charitable donations were for humanitarian causes.
so homesec has no answer except the vaguest of allegations. okay then. it's not like he has friends in the higher echelons of western democracy, right?
"This incident comes only to confirm the farcical and ultimately draconian standards and practices exercised by U.S. immigration authorities," said Anas Altikriti, a spokesman for the Muslim Association of Britain.
tony blair? prince charles? are they in the habit of hanging out with islamic terrorists?
there's a thread on dailykos suggesting that kerry should adopt a cat stevens song for his campaign. there's even a poll to vote for which song would be the best (i haven't voted).
like i posted on imn, this is a PR disaster any way you look at it:
option 1: he is innocent. the TSA and the govt look like chumps for preventing an innocent, world-famous celebrity and peace activist from entering the country.
option 2: he supports terrorists or is one himself. his name is on the watch list but this wasn't discovered until he was on the plane and the plane was already in the air. if he had somehow snuck a bomb on with him, he could've blown the whole plane to the promised land and the govt would look like chumps for failing to enforce their security watch lists.
although i suspect the truth is option 3: he's innocent, & the govt looks like chumps both for denying him entry and for not noticing he was on the watch list until it was too late.
the most astonishing thing is that i checked the "quickvote" poll on this cnn story and right now 56% have voted yes that "the singer formerly known as Cat Stevens be denied entry to the U.S. on national security grounds?"
where the fuck do these people come from? i know his music is annoying, but...