Following his conversion, Yusuf abandoned his music career. When he became a Muslim in 1977, he said, the Imam at the mosque was told that he was a pop star, and he told Yusuf that it was fine to continue as a musician, so long as the songs were morally acceptable. But Yusuf says he knew there were aspects of the music business, such as vanity and temptations that did go against the teachings of the Qur’an and this was the primary reason he gave for retreating from the spotlight.
On February 21, 1989, Yusuf Islam addressed students at Kingston University in London about his conversion to Islam and was asked about the controversy in the Muslim world and the fatwa calling for Salman Rushdie's execution. He replied, "He must be killed. The Qur'an makes it clear - if someone defames the prophet, then he must die." "Philadelphia Inquirer", February 24, 1989, p.5A, "Iran: West to blame Islam for forthcoming terrorism".
Although Yusuf has claimed that he never made these statements, on May 22, 1989 he made similar statements on the BBC according to the NY Times,
The musician known as Cat Stevens said in a British television program to be broadcast next week that rather than go to a demonstration to burn an effigy of the author Salman Rushdie, ''I would have hoped that it'd be the real thing.''
But that wasn’t enough, oh no, not for Mr. Islam. In 1990, years before 9/11, he was banned from Israel. ABC news reported,
The former British music star, who has gone by the name Yusuf Islam for more than 20 years, landed in Israel on a flight from Germany early on Wednesday. He was held at the airport for several hours and sent back to Germany, government spokesman Moshe Fogel said. Islam, who now sings only for his mosque, had “transferred funds” to Hamas in the past, Fogel told Reuters.
“There was a problem with allowing him into the country because he is a Hamas supporter,” he said. “He didn’t seem like he was coming here for summer tourism. Any country has the right to prevent terror within its own borders.”
“He knew before he got on the plane that he didn’t have permission to come into the country,” Fogel said.
Had Been Barred Before
Islam, who recorded hits including “Peace Train” and “Wild World” before converting to Islam in 1977, last visited Israel in 1988. The government claims that during that trip he delivered tens of thousands of dollars to Hamas.
Two years later, in 1990, he tried to enter again along with his 8-year-old son but was barred.
Then in September, 2004 he was deported from the U.S. And why would the U.S. ban this person? Reuters reported on ABC news,
Cat Stevens deported amid terrorism fears
Former pop singer Cat Stevens has been deported to Britain after United States officials said his activities could be "linked to terrorism" and his name was put on a US no-fly list.
Homeland Security spokesman Brian Doyle said Mr. Islam's plane was bound for Washington DC but was diverted to Bangor, Maine, on Tuesday after his name turned up on US lists of suspected terrorists.
"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," Mr. Doyle said.
A law enforcement official who asked not to be identified said the United States had information that Mr. Islam, who visited the United States in May, had donated money to the militant Islamic group Hamas.