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Tuesday, 21 March, 2000, 17:01 GMT
Stevens releases children's album
Yusuf Islam
Yusuf Islam withdrew from recording for 17 years
Yusuf Islam - the musician once known as Cat Stevens - has launched a children's album which uses the Arabic alphabet to spell out the fundamentals of his Islamic faith.

The album, A is for Allah, is released a week after a commemorative album marked 30 years since he hit fame in the US.

The release is his third mainly spoken-word album since he returned to the recording studio in 1995 after a 17-year break. In 1998 he also released a music album, I Have No Cannons That Roar, to support the people of Bosnia.

He said: "From day one in the classroom, children are taught that A stands for apple.


A is for Allah
The album comes with a book containing its text and lyrics
"Maybe if faith and its morality are once again taught to our children right from the start, they can lead more fulfilling lives and we can prevent such tragic incidents such as the recent fatal shooting of a six-year-old by a classmate in the United States."

The title track was written after the birth of Islam's first child, Hasanah, in 1980. Though it was never released, the song was pirated and bootlegs were available around the world.

The 51-year-old father-of-five said he wanted to release an album that would teach children the 28 letters of the Arabic alphabet in "an entertaining way, while at the same time teaching them the strong moral and spiritual base of the faith".

After withdrawing from the music industry in 1978, Islam founded his own school in London, and has campaigned for Muslim schools in the UK to receive state funds.

As Cat Stevens, he was one of the biggest solo artists of the 1960s and 1970s after first making it into the limelight at the age of 19.

The London-born artist penned songs including Matthew and Son and Moon Shadow.

He abandoned music in 1977 when he turned to the Islamic faith after two years in Brazil as a tax exile.

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