- - Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Religion of peace train

“We’re consumed with other matters today, but spare a moment for [Salman Rushdie] who spent his weekend watching [Yusuf Islam, the former Cat Stevens] who called for him to be murdered for blasphemy playing to an adoring crowd of thousands of liberals. In front of the U.S. Capitol. At a rally dedicated to sanity. Televised on a comedy channel. Rushdie: ‘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.’ …

“One more thing. There’s a common perception, I think, that Yusuf’s old comments about Rushdie were some sort of freak thing, a bizarre aberration for a man who’s otherwise spent decades riding the peace train. Not so. I have a hard copy of an article published by GQ in May 2003 (written, actually, by Jake Tapper in his pre-ABC days) titled ‘How Cuddy Is Cat?’ that describes various relationships Yusuf has had with jihadi degenerates over the years … this is a guy who was, at one time, pals with the godfather of British Islamism, Omar Bakri Mohammed, who chaired an Islamist charity whose website spoke openly about sending money to the ‘mujahedeen’ for weapons so that they can fight jihad, and whose name appeared on an anti-semitic pamphlet written by a friend who said Yusuf personally approved of the contents.

“As for Yusuf’s claims to have reformed over time, here’s Tapper: ‘He is not the peaceful face of Islam; there are just too many nagging questions, too few credible excuses — matters he refused to talk to me about, though his older brother tried valiantly to explain everything. At the very least, he is the complicit face of the Muslim world.’ And now, I guess, semi-officially the ‘sane’ one.”

Blogger Allahpundit, writing on “Salman Rushdie: I talked to Jon Stewart and he’s fine with Yusuf Islam’s rally cameo,” on Nov. 2 at Hot Air

Yusuf Islam, formerly known as Cat Stevens, performs on the Mall Oct. 30 during Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert's rally.
Yusuf Islam, formerly known as Cat Stevens, performs on the Mall Oct. ... more >

Talk talk

“Marco Rubio, in his victory speech, was the exception, and showed as he often has why he is the Tea Party’s real secret weapon. Starting out with gushy God talk and closing by stressing that he is a ‘son of exiles,’ Rubio is — let’s face it — a better Obama in his way. His Christianity will always be clear to those who care, and his foreign forebears are ones who fled Communism. At first we were to suppose that Obama’s mongrelism made him ‘like America,’ but the leftist Kenyan business is ripe for the Becks and D’Souzas among us to frame as alien … Rubio’s foreignness is more cuddly, immune to Fox News-style demagoguery.

“Plus Rubio is a natural talker. No stagy incantations of lines based on things other people said long ago; no giggling; no props; no wandering off topic. He can rub a noun and a verb together, with minimal attendance to notes. As a result, like Bill Clinton, he seems intelligent in a way that [Carl] Paladino and [Christine] O’Donnell do not, and approachably human and on the ground in a way that [Rand] Paul, despite his active mind, cannot. …

“[H]e is, in his gift with the word, a possible second chapter in the story of the America of Obama. It could well be that the next figure out of nowhere who sways the Independents with a muttly biography and a story about hope put over with a knack at the podium is a Republican.”

John McWhorter, writing on “Why Tea Party Candidates Are Such Bad Orators” on Nov. 3 at the New Republic

Not usual ex-Catholic

“I usually prepare myself to be disappointed when celebrities begin to share their religious beliefs and opinions. As a fan of Elvis Costello’s music, however, I was happy to [hear] him speaking respectfully about his Catholic upbringing in a recent interview: ‘You were brought up Catholic?’

“‘Yes, I was. I don’t go to church, or have the beliefs I was brought up in. But I grew up just after the scare-you-out-of-your-wits era, and didn’t encounter any of the unfortunate people for whom, perhaps, the demands of the prohibitions were too great for their nature, and hence these horrendous abuses of the power that they had over children. I had friends who did experience it.

“‘But I won’t just fall in with the demonization of the clergy, because I have in my life kind experiences [with priests and nuns]. I mean, nuns taught me to read. That was my fortune, and somebody else will have a totally different experience. And that’s the danger of making these broad statements, that “all those people over there, they’re all this thing.”’”

Danielle Bean, writing on “Elvis Costello Grateful for Catholic Upbringing,” on Nov. 3 at her National Catholic Register blog