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Cat Stevens Appearance At Sanity Rally Rankles Right Winger

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"I never called for the death of Salman Rushdie; nor backed the Fatwa issued by the Ayatollah Khomeini--and still don't," he wrote. "The book itself destroyed the harmony between peoples and created an unnecessary international crisis."

A 1989 New York Times article quotes Islam saying he wouldn't mind seeing Rushdie burned in effigy. "The musician known as Cat Stevens said in a British television program to be broadcast next week that rather than go to a demonstration to burn an effigy of the author Salman Rushdie, ''I would have hoped that it'd be the real thing.''"

In 2004, he was booted from the U.S. after landing on the terrorist watch list, but was allowed reentry without incident two years later.

During Islam's appearance, Sarah Palin aide and Weekly Standard writer Michael Goldfarb re-tweeted Reason magazine senior editor Michael Moynihan, who tweeted: "What the fuck. Sanity = supporting fatwa against Salman Rushdie?"

Islam played "Peace Train" -- a song he seldom plays -- to tens of thousands of assembled fans.

Correction: This post originally said Goldfarb was the original tweeter, when in fact, he re-tweeted Moynihan. We regret the error.

About The Author

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Brian Beutler is TPM's senior congressional reporter. Since 2009, he's led coverage of health care reform, Wall Street reform, taxes, the GOP budget, the government shutdown fight and the debt limit fight. He can be reached at brian@talkingpointsmemo.com