Morning Griping With the Ghost of Robespierre Hanging Over My Left Shoulder

Homeland Security deported Cat Stevens, now known as Yusef Islam. And people are trying to justify it.

Come on, guys. It’s Cat Stevens. Get a grip.

He once gave money to a Palestinian charity, which Israel (who are, of course, notoriously fair, even-handed, and calm about anything related to Palestine) claim indirectly funded Hamas.* Nothing has ever been proved about links to terrorism, no charges have ever been filed, and the guy’s statement about terrorism–I quote:

In a statement on his Web site, he wrote, “Crimes against innocent bystanders taken hostage in any circumstance have no foundation whatsoever in the life of Islam and the model example of Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him.”

After the Sept. 11 attacks, Islam issued a statement saying: “No right thinking follower of Islam could possibly condone such an action: The Quran equates the murder of one innocent person with the murder of the whole of humanity.”

Stop that man! He sounds like a killer!

Most, of course, only know of his rather more famous radical stance, many moons ago, about Salmon Rushdie’s death sentence, (He was for it, but said that he was a peaceful person and could never do it himself) which he backed off on repeatedly afterwards. (Naturally the retractions and apologies don’t get the press. Much less fun.) Now, I’ll be the first to say that was a stupid, misguided religious notion. It was. Grade A religious idiocy, right there. But shit, if we got to deport people for having stupid misguided religious notions, I have a whole bushel of evangelical Christians I want dumped before I even look over in the direction of Cat Stevens. Hell, I could denude most of the Bible Belt before the name “Yusef Islam” even showed up on MY list.

So…let’s review. Cat Stevens. Never linked to violence. Never linked to blowing anything up. May have given money to a charity that may have been related to bad things somewhere, but never proved to have been knowingly supporting terrorism, never charged with any terrorist crimes. Does not know how to fly a plane. Proclaimed pacifist. Has, in fact, spoken out against terrorism as being un-Islamic. Once said an admittedly stupid religious thing, later retracted, about one guy. All this was years ago. Wrote “Peace Train.” Also years ago.

Obviously someone we need to stop at ALL COSTS!

This makes me mad enough to spit. Homeland Security is supposed to protect us from people with bombs, not people with unpopular religious views.

Shit, I’ve given money to Greenpeace, which some people have claimed is linked to ecoterrorism, AND I routinely express the desire that the entire Bush administration be eaten by weasels. Deport me! I am dangerous!

Some days I think we should just rename it “The Committee For Public Safety” and get it over with. This is not the way I want America to work. I want us stopping terrorists, not folk singers, and I’d really, really like it if people could tell the difference.

I’d quote Franklin now about liberty and security and getting neither, but y’all are smart and know that one already.

*Evidentally so does the Body Shop. I’m starting to wonder if there’s any way to donate money to a Palestinian charity that Israel doesn’t interpret as supporting terrorism. I don’t approve of violence, obviously, but only a serious xenophobe would try to claim that ALL Palestinians are terrorists and giving money to any of them for adequate housing is a knife in Israel’s heart. Really. If I wanted to send money to, oh, say, get people educated and give ’em hobbies so that they don’t get desperate enough to BECOME suicide bombers, is there even a way to do that without Israel throwing a hissy fit about it?

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