YUSUF ISLAM'S STATEMENT
The Guardian (UK)
Friday September 24, 2004
First, I thank God for relieving me of my ordeal and delivering me home
safe; also, thanks to all those who prayed for me and supported me
through this whole dark episode, from eminent politicians, the press and
religious leaders, to plain, everyday people. Never would I believe that
such a thing could happen in the land of the free - unfortunately, it
did. But it's warming to have such a wave of sympathy from my friends
and my worldwide well-wishers.
After the experience of my dramatic deportation from the USA it feels
like I am on a different planet from the one I was on a couple of days
ago; certainly the world has changed, not for the best.
Two days beforehand, I had started a journey with my daughter to
Nashville, intending to initiate work on a new recording project.
Suddenly, our aeroplane was diverted 600 miles to Bangor International
Airport and I found myself surrounded by six uniformed officers and
handed over to the FBI for questioning.
The most upsetting thing at this point was being separated from my
daughter, Maymanah, not knowing how she was or when and where we might
And since my phone was confiscated I couldn't contact my family (nor
could they ring me) and they were relegated to watching the whole
frightening episode on TV and surviving on scraps of information shown
by the media.
My interrogators repeatedly wanted to know how my name was spelt; it
sounded to me as though they had it mixed up with someone else's.
Security officers finally told me that my name was on a no-fly list, I
was classified as inadmissible and sent back to London.
The amazing thing is that I was not given, and have still not been
given, any explanation whatsoever as to what it is I am accused of, or
why I am now deemed an apparent security threat - let alone given an
opportunity to respond to these allegations. I was simply told that the
order had come from on high.
We have now initiated a legal process to try to find out exactly what is
going on, and to take all necessary steps to undo the very serious, and
wholly unfounded, injustice which I have suffered.
I am a man of peace and denounce all forms of terrorism and injustice;
it is simply outrageous for the US authorities to suggest otherwise.
I have dedicated my life to promoting peace and understanding throughout
the world. It would be devastating were the charity work I do through my
humanitarian relief organisation, Small Kindness, which helps countless
children and families, and which is accredited by the United Nations, to
be undermined by what has happened.
What makes the situation even more distressing is the fact that I have
now been prevented from entering the United States - a part of God's
earth that I love and whose people have always been great friends to me.
Yet, after all this, I can think of no better response than by
what I believe to be the tremendously important work of caring for the
needy and campaigning for peace and stability in this volatile and
increasingly violent world, and at the same time try to seek to clear my
name of this appalling and baseless slur.
In the meantime I am confident that, in the end, good sense and, above
all, justice, will prevail.