The “Rally To Restore Sanity” was a blast! I felt compelled to make the event. I am a big fan of Stewart. I do not share a lot of his views. For instance I would like to see illegal immigrants go back home and get in line but I do not blame them one bit for wanting to be here. I also think that we should strengthen Civil Unions, get the Government out of church weddings and let marriage stay between a man and women. I do not see it as a civil rights issue at all. We are on the same page regarding Gays being born Gay and serving in the military as well as drug policy reform, disdain for hypocrisy in government and the failure of mainstream media. But on issues like immigration and gay marriage the fact that we disagree could be get ugly among closed minded partisans and one might think it would turn me off as a fan, but no. I am moved by the message that we can disagree without being disagreeable. Besides that I find his show damn smart, funny and important. And I reserve the right to have my mind changed on these and most other issues.
Still, I was very surprised to see an extremist like Yusuf Islam (Cat Stevens) on stage. Since he said he would "personally hand over Salman Rushdie to be murdered for insulting Islam". We as a people are very open to sincere apologizes but instead he has tried to deny it. Too bad he said it on BBC TV and millions of people, including myself, saw him say it. He also admitted that his religion forbids his sort of songs but he was allowed to sing them because any proceeds would go to Islamic causes. This hypocritical extremist seems to be the antithesis of everything this event was supposed to be about. Maybe having that shameful person on stage was meant to be inclusive?
This has caused a good amount of debate with some trying to quote his spin found on Wikipedia. I enjoy that sight but let’s face it, it has always been hit and miss with the facts and since I heard and saw the interview, in context there is really no debate. I was a big Cat Stevens fan and remain disappointed. His display of hypocrisy in his Rolling Stone article does show that Muslims can be just as hypocritical as Christians. It's sad but maybe that's a place were we can start to come together?
One women mentioned that “no one asked Tony Bennett if he agrees with catholic church covering up all their crimes”. And true that. Please do not get me started on the Catholics. Still "Apples to Oranges" unless Bennett called for someone to be murdered and then admitted that his faith only lets him sing if he pays them. Furthermore are all "wrongs" equal? Of course not.
I would have loved to hear or read him apologize. In the very recent Rolling Stone interview he denied his statement. The same interview where he admitted to being able to break the rules regarding his singing as long as the money went to Islam. Seems that would have been the perfect place to set the record straight. I'm sure most of his fans would forgive him. I know I would and more importantly Rushdie has proved that he too would forgive him as he has others. But now it just seems worse, the denial followed by admitting he had to pay off his religion to perform.
I also found out that Mr. Rushdie spent his weekend watching someone who called for him to be murdered for blasphemy playing to an adoring crowd of thousands in front of the U.S. Capitol at a rally dedicated to sanity. Rushdie actually spoke with Jon and is quoted:
“I spoke to Jon Stewart about Yusuf Islam’s appearance. He said he was sorry it upset me, but really, it was plain that he was fine with it. Depressing.”
I am very glad that I was not the only person to notice! Also convenient that Yusuf has teamed up with the monopoly monster Ticket Master so we can boycott them both at the same time. I do not want to make this single important fact take away from all the otherwise very cool people and intent of the rally. We can and should be able to disagree without being disagreeable. And true that only Hitler is Hitler.
But with over one billion Muslims in the world they really could not find a better representative of Islam?
I wish we could all just get along and jam to "Tea For The Tillerman". A great album from a rotten person, who should never been allowed on stage.