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British Muslims criticize decision on singer


LONDON (RNS) British Muslims say they are bewildered by U.S. authorities' decision to refuse entry to the former singer Cat Stevens, a British citizen who became a Muslim in 1977 and is now known as Yusuf Islam.

Islam was flying from London's Heathrow Airport to Dulles International Airport in Washington on Sept. 21 when United Airlines Flight 919 was diverted to Bangor, Maine, where he was taken off the aircraft.

Islam was refused entry because he was recently put on a security watch list. He is believed to have contributed funds to groups linked to terrorism. He last visited the United States in May.

The U.S. authorities' decision was described as "a slap in the face of sanity" by Abdul Bari, deputy secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain. "Yusuf Islam is a deeply respected and very popular British Muslim figure, and his detention by the U.S. authorities is completely unacceptable," he said.