According to novelist Salman Rushdie, Comedy Central star Jon Stewart appears to be unapologetic for featuring Muslim extremist folk singer Cat Stevens (a.k.a. Yusuf Islam) at his Rally to Restore Sanity last Saturday. Stevens has previously supported a long-standing Islamic death sentence against Rushdie.
Standpoint magazine’s Nick Cohen spoke to Rushdie this morning, who told him that: “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.”
After Rushdie penned The Satanic Verses in 1988, Iran’s Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini issued a fatwa against him, claiming that the book was “blasphemous against Islam.”
Stevens, a Muslim convert, has reiterated his support for the death sentence on multiple occasions, most recently in 1997. When asked during a 1989 interview whether he would take part in a protest that burned Rushdie in effigy, Stevens replied that “I would have hoped that it'd be the real thing.” The singer has never apologized for endorsing the fatwa.