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Monday, September 27, 2004

From "Peace Train" to Hamas

Yusuf al-Islam's (formerly Cat Stevens) flight into the U.S. was diverted, and he was denied admission.

First, how did he end up on a terror watch list? A charity to which he donated gave funds to Hamas, according to U.S. officials.

Contradictory to this report, he did nothing himself, it seems. CNN lists the charities from his website, and nowhere is Hamas ever mentioned. In order to implicate Islam in a crime, we need to prove that he had previous knowledge of a charity's involvement with terrorism, but one cannot prove a person's thought patterns with hard evidence.

Some have brought his support of the fatwa against Salman Rushdie to light as proof that he had rejected his peaceful ways. However, what they ignore is that the fatwa is a part of Islamic religious doctrine, not up for debate.

We have yet to see evidence of Islam plotting crimes or carrying weapons. In fact, he was not even given a list of charges upon his arrest.

Besides, I think the real question is how Yusuf al-Islam was admitted onto the plane in the first place, despite appearing on a terror watch list, or how he managed to successfully enter the U.S. to promote a DVD in May. Isn't that how 9/11 happened? What a remarkable improvement to our security under the Bush administration.

Continuing, an update since the original story broke claims that the problem was caused by a spelling error.

I don't think the problem was a spelling error, given that Arabic-English translations are rather loose, but the name itself comes from a small pool of Islamic names. This watch list, based on names only, is like "banning all the John Smiths from flying." (see comments in above link) Another unbelievable method for stopping terrorists from boarding our planes.