On a special edition of Sunday’s Hannity show, FNC host Sean Hannity informed viewers that Restoring Sanity Rally participant and singer Cat Stevens - who converted to Islam in the 1970s and changed his name to Yusuf Islam - several times declared that Salman Rushdie should be killed after Iranian leader, the Ayatollah Khomeni, issued a fatwa on the British author in 1989 for publishing his book the Satanic Verses.
A recounting of Stevens’s history of verbal attacks on Rushdie at hotair.com includes both video of a Stevens appearing on a British television program, and a New York Times article quoting from the program.
Below is a transcript of the relevant portion of the Sunday, October 31, Hannity show on FNC:
SEAN HANNITY: All right, so they had this rally yesterday to restore sanity. And, let’s see, Cat Stevens is one of the people that, you know, is out there singing. Now, there are three instances, if you look, once he spoke at Kingston University talking about Salman Rushdie’s Satanic Verses, and he replied, "He must be killed, the Koran makes it clear," according to reports.
Christian Science Monitor: "I think, as far as the writer is concerned, he’s been irresponsible with freedom of speech. Rushdie or any other writer who abuses the prophet or indeed any prophet under Islamic law, the sentence for that is actually death."
He gave an interview with the BBC. He was asked, "Does this man serve to die?" "Yes, yes."
This is the guy they invite to the rally to restore sanity?
ANDREA TARANTOS, NEW YORK DAILY NEWS : Well look, sometimes Jon Stewart does very brilliant things, like I thought he handled that interview with Barack Obama very well, last week, and had some guts to ask tough questions. And then, Sean, he does things that are just really, really stupid. This rally was very stupid. And the reason most people aren’t talking about it is because no one cares. But, to your point, he also associated himself with Hamzi Yousef who wrote a book called Jihad is the Only Way. I mean, this guy has a long track record. They could have thought this through a little bit more who they were going to have...
HANNITY: To restore sanity we’re going to invite a guy, you know-
PAT CADDELL, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Listen, he was great, when he was Cat stevens, I loved his music, it was great, he was wonderful. He is, you know, but this is, the whole insensitivity to anything to anything that is islamic no matter how far out there and the inability to distinguish the two. And Jon Stewart, I mean, I was stunned when I saw it, and I’m still stunned.
HANNITY: One of the most intolerant people-
JOHN FUND, WALL STREET JOURNAL: Ever.
FUND: And easily solved. It’s called Google. Plug the name in, and it will come up. Apparently, no one did this because, of course, he's part of the entertainment community.
June 22, 2007 photo of anti-Rushdie demonstrators in Islamabad, Pakistan, by Paula Bronstein of Getty Images via Life.com.
Caption accompanying the photo:
ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN - JUNE 22: Protesters chant slogans to condemn Britain's knighting of the Indian-born author Salman Rushdie June 22, 2007 in Islamabad, Pakistan. Protests have been erupting in many cities in Pakistan after Rushdie received the honor from Britain's Queen Elizabeth II. A leading Iranian cleric stated today that the death sentence fatwa issued against Rushdie by Iran's leader 18 years ago over his book 'The Satanic Verses' is still valid. The author was forced into hiding for a decade after Khomeini issued the 1989 death sentence.