The UK’s Sunday Times and Sun newspapers have agreed to pay Yusuf Islam (formerly known as the singer Cat Stevens) substantial damages in respect of articles published on 17th and 19th October 2004.
Both reports falsely alleged that Yusuf Islam was or had been involved in supporting terrorism and suggested that, as a result, the US authorities had been right to refuse Mr Islam entry into the United States in September 2004.
As well as agreeing to pay substantial damages in relation to these false and highly defamatory allegations, both newspapers also published prominent apologies in which they acknowledged that Mr Islam is not, and never has been, involved in or supported terrorism, and that he abhors all such activities. Indeed, in apologising to Mr Islam both newspapers also pointed out that Mr Islam was recently presented with the “Man for Peace” award by a group of Nobel peace Laureates.
The newspapers have undertaken not to repeat these false allegations and also agreed to pay Mr Islam’s legal costs.
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. However, I am delighted by the settlement, which helps vindicate my character and good name.”
Yusuf Islam intends to contribute the damages from both newspapers to relief projects for orphans which he has started in tsunami-hit South East Asia. He visited Indonesia in January and is set to release a charity single entitled Indian Ocean later this month, the proceeds of which will go to the same children’s fund.
“I have been supporting orphans and needy families for many years now,” continued Mr Islam, “and I don’t intend to stop. 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.”