Legendary British singer-songwriter Cat Stevens, who now calls himself Yusuf, will be performing in South Africa later this year, but there has been condemnation of his tour because of his reported intolerance and homophobia.
Cat Stevens was at the height of his career in the late sixties and seventies and sold millions of records worldwide.
In 1977, Stevens converted to Islam and changed his name to Yusuf Islam and soon after ended his musical career to focus on philanthropic causes in the Muslim community.
In 2006, he returned to recording and performing music using the stage name of Yusuf, although his “Peace Train Tour” is being promoted under the names “Yusuf / Cat Stevens”.
He will be performing for the first time in South Africa in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban in November, and a number of the dates are already sold out.
While Yusuf is widely known for his songs and humanitarian work, he has also been the subject of controversy. In 1989, he was slammed for saying he backed Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini’s fatwa calling for the death of author Salman Rushdie for blasphemy.
He appeared on BBC and confirmed that he thought Rushdie deserved to die. He further commented that he wouldn’t attend a rally in which an effigy of Rushdie was burned because he rather wanted it to be “the real thing” that was set alight (see below).
Yusuf, however, later denied that he supported Rushdie being killed for his writing and claimed that what he said was taken “out of context”.
He told CBS in 2006: “I certainly never supported the fatwa, but when I was asked about … the actual principle of blasphemy and capital punishment, well, like the Bible, I said, ‘You know, yeah, it’s there, it’s in the Koran.’ And I couldn’t deny that.”
Yusuf has also been accused of homophobia. In 2000, he slammed the repeal of the UK’s Section 28 law, which banned children being taught or informed about same-sex relationships and same-sex families in schools.
At a press conference at the House of Lords at the time, Yusuf said that the law’s repeal was “part of the deterioration of the moral statutes that we are witnessing day by day” and warned that it was a threat to “great moral principles”.
According to LGBT activist Peter Tatchell, Yusuf also stated that those who supported educating children about sexual diversity wanted to “feast off the innocence of our children for their own abominable sexual appetites”.
Yusuf appears to have since been very quiet on the subject of homosexuality and has not actively campaigned or spoken out against the LGBT community.
News24’s chief sub-editor Glenn Bownes has called for South Africa to “do the right thing” and boycott Yusuf’s tour.
“His Cape Town concerts are being sponsored by Cape Talk, Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden is providing him with a venue, and Webtickets is selling tickets for his shows. None of them appear to have a problem with the bigotry and hate speech of Stevens [Yusuf],” he wrote.
Pastor Monica Pinnock, founder of Rehoboth Christian Church in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.A., travelled to Nigeria recently to advise church leaders to rebuke homosexuals, describing them as “devices of the enemy.” She follows in the footsteps of many other U.S.-based anti-LGBT evangelical preachers who have fanned the flames of homophobia in Africa, including Scott Lively and Steven Anderson.
Pinnock pushed the misguided theories that homosexuality is a choice and that LGBT people are not born with their sexual orientation/gender identity. However, she did speak against anti-gay violences.
She made her homophobic statements when she visited Nigeria on a two-day missionary Leadership Summit hosted by the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in the Mosan Okunola Local Council Development Area near Lagos.
At the event, she charged church leaders to show love to LGBT people, but at the same time to rebuke them as they are “devices of the enemy”:
This is bigotry at its peak. Homosexuality is not a behavior; it is a sexual orientation that is as valid as heterosexuality. Dozens of research studies have proven this fact.
The Bible as a Christian guidebook has been misinterpreted by many religious leaders who use it to promote their own selfish agendas. Others dwell in the longstanding ignorant belief that homosexuality is evil and un-African. Despite contrary arguments, the Bible records loving same-sex relationships. Those who read the Bible with an open mind discover the truth that there is absolutely nothing wrong or sinful with being gay.
Clearly, what Pastor Pinnock is preaching and promoting is a message of hate. It is quite shameful and disappointing that an individual with her level of exposure and understanding will bow to such shallow interpretations and manipulative teachings against homosexuality.
(from the blog 76 Crimes)
By Lawrence Mashiyane
It is February and, for those who care for such things as Valentine's Day, it is the month of Love. Some scurried throughout January to get someone 'special' and others are getting on the love train before the 14th. At the end of search, many will be on dates on the 14th and many will be having sex; others will probably be watching TV, but we are not interested in them for now (and clearly love isn't either). The interest is in the ones who will be on dates and/or having a shag. The interest is in what happens after Valentine's Day. After Valentine's Day, how long until the romance fizzles out and turns into a memory or worse, a one night stand? You're probably thinking not long and if you are then it means you know about the cloud that hovers over the gay community; our relationships do not last. Of course this stereotype or stigma does not apply to everyone in the gay community but, as I always say, stereotypes do not come from out of nowhere. They are not made up. Stereotypes are that big cloud of black smoke that let every one know there's a fire. It does not mean an entire building is burning, but it does mean a floor or two could be.
For any relationship to last, one thing is important and that one thing comes before love, trust and commitment/faithfulness. That one thing is compatibility. The problem with the gay community is that compatibility has been cut down to two simple things; sex role and behaviour/gender expression. "Are you top, bottom or versatile?" They ask. "Are you 'straight' acting or feminine?" Once those two questions are asked and the answers are the desired, everything is good to go! But truth is, it is not good to go. Not at all! I am not saying that those things are not important (although how greatly important is up for debate), I am saying that there is more to find out beyond those two. There is a lack of compatibility in Gay relationships and it is usually because people have two things in mind: Society and Sex.
Whether a guy is effeminate or not is usually a concern with society; especially if one is in the closet. Sometimes it is preference but also, some people prefer to be with more masculine or 'straight acting' guys because it is a lot less obvious and covert. When two guys walk down the street, looking all heterosexual, no one really thinks "oh look, there goes a gay couple" but the concern is if a guy walks with another guy who has a twist in his hips, a twang in his voice and speaks with swinging hands; it all looks too obvious. The feminine guy draws too much attention, the two guys walking together now stick out like a sore thumb. Even if some guys are 'open' and out of the closet, the still remain (if I can say) conservative. They do not want to put society on edge, draw the attention of homophobes and they believe that their sexuality is no body's business. A fear for being judged for being gay still exists.
The second concern is Sex. The "are you top, bottom or versatile question?" simply put is, "are we going to be able to fuck or not?" I reject any other interpretation, it simply amounts to that.
In Afghanistan, as part of an illegal but traditional practice, men recruit young boys, luring them with gifts and money with the intention of having sex with them. They do it under the guise of a disgusting old sexual traditional practice called “bacha bazi” (boy play).
The practice has been widely discussed — for example, in The New York Times, Newsweek and The Daily Mail. Further coverage comes in a video documentary titled ‘They don’t just dance’ that is now available online through RTDoc – an English-language documentary channel created by Russia’s government-backed media company RT.
The documentary shows how under-aged boys are recruited and taught how to dance like women in parties organized by rich folks, who then later select their favorite boy for sex.
In Afghanistan, this is not viewed as homosexuality, even though there are strict laws prohibiting the act.
Men who have sex with men (MSM) are South Africa’s most at risk population for HIV acquisition and transmission. For this reason ‘WeTheBrave’, a sexual health campaign, has been launched with MSM in mind. This will be the first large scale campaign ever in this country to specifically address gay men and other men who have sex with men.
The launch event took place in Newtown, Johannesburg on Thursday 25 June with a who’s who of LGBT and HIV activists in attendance. They were entertained by a performance by Odidi Mfenyana and heard messages from Sir Elton John, Professor James McIntyre, and others.
Spearheaded by the Anova Health Institute, and funded by the Elton John AIDS Foundation, the WeTheBrave.co.za campaign will address both prevention and treatment issues in an affirming, non-judgemental and sex positive way, which will be entertaining and engaging.
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