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Last Updated: Tuesday, 15 February 2005, 21:00 GMT
Singer Islam gets libel damages
Yusuf Islam (Cat Stevens)
The singer was barred entry to the US last September
Yusuf Islam, the singer formerly known as Cat Stevens, has won substantial damages from two UK newspapers which falsely claimed he supported terrorism.

The Sun and Sunday Times also published apologies after they made the false allegations in two articles in October.

The papers had suggested US authorities had been right to refuse his entry into the country in September.

Mr Islam said the settlement cleared his good name, and the damages would help victims of the Asian tsunami.

He said that both newspapers have now acknowledged that he is not, and never has been, involved in or supported terrorism, and that he abhors all such activities.

Peace award

They also pointed out that Mr Islam was recently presented with the Man for Peace award by a group of Nobel Peace Laureates.

The harm done is often difficult to repair
Yusuf Islam

The singer also said the newspapers have undertaken not to repeat the false allegations and also agreed to pay his legal costs.

Mr Islam said he was "delighted by the settlement" which he said "helps vindicate my character and good name".

The singer, who converted to Islam in 1977, was thrown out of the US after his flight from London was diverted from Washington to Maine.

The 56-year-old said afterwards he was well treated but only found out his name was on a "no-fly list" when he switched on the television to hear the news in the hotel room he was put up in.

After he was awarded the libel damages on Tuesday, Mr Islam said: "It seems to be the easiest thing in the world these days to make scurrilous accusations against Muslims, and in my case it directly impacts on my relief work and damages my reputation as an artist.

"The harm done is often difficult to repair."

'Pragmatic view'

The Sunday Times and the Sun both confirmed they were making payments to Mr Islam but declined to specify the amounts.

Sunday Times managing editor Richard Caseby said there had been an "agreed settlement".

"The Sunday Times always denied liability and we disagreed with Cat Stevens' lawyers interpretation of the article, but we took a pragmatic view of the case, " he said.

Sun spokeswoman Janet Anderson said Mr Islam's statement was correct but declined to comment further.

Mr Islam intends to contribute the damages from both newspapers to projects for orphans which he has started in tsunami-hit South East Asia.

'No explanation'

He visited Indonesia in January and is set to release a charity single entitled Indian Ocean later this month.

"I have been supporting orphans and needy families for many years now," and I don't intend to stop," he said.

"I have never knowingly aided any terrorist group or any charitable organization that equips or supports terrorists.

"I will continue working for peace and supporting the poor and destitute around the world."

The singer added that he still did not know why he was put on a 'no fly' list.

"Six months after the fiasco of my deportation from the USA, my formal requests for clarification from the authorities there are seemingly being ignored," he said.

"Instead, I am hearing reports second, third or even fourth-hand through the media citing US officials attempting to offer explanations".


SEE ALSO
Yusuf's return to musical roots
22 Sep 04 |  Entertainment

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