LOWRY: Welcome back to HANNITY & COLMES. I'm Rich Lowry in for Sean Hannity tonight.
Tomorrow, across the world, Live Earth concerts will be taking place to promote the fight against global warming. Global warming front man Al Gore is heading these events but in his effort to save the earth is he befriending the wrong people to push his cause?
The former vice president invited the controversial artist and alleged terrorist sympathizer, Cat Stevens, to perform at one of the events.
Stevens, who now goes by the name of Yusuf Islam is on the official no fly list and publicly endorsed the execution of Salman Rushdie.
Joining us now with reaction from the Center for Islamic Pluralism, the author of "The Two Faces of Islam," Stephen Schwartz. Steve, thanks so much for being with us tonight.
STEPHEN SCHWARTZ, CENTER FOR ISLAMIC PLURALISM: Thank you, Rich.
LOWRY: So, Steve, should respectable people be associating with Cat Stevens given his record?
SCHWARTZ: The problem is that when Cat Stevens became Muslim, he went straight into Wahabism. He didn't go into some spiritual, Sufi form of Islam, any kind of moderate form of Islam, he went straight into Wahabism. That's why he gave up music because Wahabis don't like music and that's why he did things like saying he didn't want to be applauded in public.
And Wahabism is Saudi-financed, fundamentalist, extremist form of Islam and this is the form that inspires al Qaeda. And as far as I'm concerned, Yusuf Islam or Cat Stevens or whatever he wants to call himself still has a lot of questions to answer to non-Muslims as well and Muslims alike about the kind of Islam he believes in and the goals of Islam for him.
LOWRY: Now, Steve, we all remember when the flight was diverted that he was on as kind of a big joke and consider it an awful mistake. Is it your position that he's legitimately on the no-fly list?
SCHWARTZ: I think he still has a lot of questions to answer. And until he answers them.
LOWRY: What kind of questions?
SCHWARTZ: Why, for example, did he produce a record that was supposedly was in favor of Bosnia in which a song written by him talked about Judgment Day when the world would blast away and the Muslims will be happy because they have blessings?
Why did he endorse the fatwa calling for the execution of Rushdie? Why does he defend Wahabism? Why has he defended in the past Palestinian extremists?
I mean, those are four questions there that he's never answered. He now tries to say because he's back performing music which the Wahabis don't like, that he's OK. But a lot of these extremist Muslims who had very radical rhetoric that they employed before September 11 now try to present themselves as moderates.
It's not enough for somebody who was a radical before 9/11 to now come back and say I'm not a radical anymore, I'm a moderate now. They have to do something to show that they understand the kind of Islam they embraced in the past was wrong and that it was bad for Muslims as well as non-Muslims, and if they're involved in the struggle we're all involved in to defend, the whole civilization of the world and for that matter the very existence of the religion of Islam that he's willing to come clean about these things and he's never done this.
LOWRY: Now, Steve, I read in a piece you wrote a few years ago that he, Cat Stevens is allegedly banned from Israel because of a alleged financial aid or ties to terrorist groups. Can talk a little bit about that?
SCHWARTZ: Well, apparently he made financial donations to a foundation that passed the money on to one of the radical Palestinian groups. And that's another issue that he doesn't answer.
COLMES: First, you're factually incorrect on a couple of things. He did not endorse the fatwa against Salman Rushdie who is very clear about that.
SCHWARTZ: Oh, now come on. What do you mean he never endorsed it?
COLMES: You're wrong. He never endorsed it. He came out specifically and said that.
SCHWARTZ: He said that he hoped Rushdie would be burned alive.
COLMES: Now, he never said that. He never said that.
SCHWARTZ: Why are you defending him? Why are trying to defend him?
COLMES: Because I think what you're saying is a bunch of hogwash. And you're totally wrong.
SCHWARTZ: Well, you always say that to everything that somebody like me says.
COLMES: I don't know who someone like you is. I don't know you. I don't know who you are except that you're coming in and making these ridiculous statements.
SCHWARTZ: I've been with you before. Look, the whole world knows.
COLMES: He specifically said I don't endorse the fatwa against Salman Rushdie. Why don't you be honest about what his statements have been?
SCHWARTZ: The world knows about Cat Stevens, about Yusuf Islam's record and you're about to deny that record by saying that it doesn't exist is really rather ridiculous.
COLMES: Let me give you his record and in fact he said, "At no time did I consciously give money to a group called Hamas". He said that.
SCHWARTZ: That's a slippery form of language.
COLMES: He also said, "I wish to express my heartfelt horror at the indiscriminate terrorist attacks after 9/11."
SCHWARTZ: That's not enough.
COLMES: By the way - it's not enough for you, of course -- which is more dangerous song, "Peace Train" or "Moon Shadow."
SCHWARTZ: I'm not going to get into you with slick little wise guy arguments over songs that my 32-year-old son doesn't even know about. That was before he became a Wahhabi Muslim and that was when he was still performing essentially boring and rather stupid pop songs and then he became a Muslim and he stopped performing music and he said it was against Islam to perform music and he said it was against Islam to applaud performers and produced this stuff about Bosnia that was dishonorable to the Bosnians.
COLMES: Sir, he has made a series of statements over the years like, "It must be stated that no right thinking follower of Islam could possibly condone the action of terrorists."
SCHWARTZ: That's not enough.
COLMES: He also said -- he quotes the Koran when he says, "If anyone murders a innocent person it's as if he murdered the whole of humanity." You're ignoring a series of statements over the years that Cat Stevens has said.
SCHWARTZ: I'm not ignoring anything.
COLMES: You're painting a one-sided picture of him.
SCHWARTZ: I'm not ignoring anything. I said at the very beginning of this discussion that people like him who engaged in radical rhetoric before September 11 now claim to be moderates and now make all sorts of moderate statements. It's not enough for them to make moderate statements.
COLMES: There was no radicalism on the part of Cat Stevens. He chose Islam .
SCHWARTZ: You don't think calling for the Bosnian self-defense struggle to be turned into a jihad in which the world would be blown away is a radical statement? That's not a radical statement?
COLMES: Sir, you have misrepresented Cat Stevens here.
SCHWARTZ: I don't think you know anything about Islam at all.
COLMES: And I have given you a list of things he has said which you choose to ignore.
SCHWARTZ: I don't think you understand anything about Islam and I think you're ....
COLMES: Of course you don't think that. You're misrepresenting this man.
SCHWARTZ: I don't even think you understand anything about him. You're misrepresenting him.
LOWRY: All right guys. We're going to have to leave this for another time.
Steve, thanks so much for being with us.
SCHWARTZ: Thanks, Richard.
Related Topics: Bosnian Muslims, British Muslims, Terrorism
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