Sadly, again this week we begin with condolences to those innocently murdered recently in Orlando and in France, by lone wolves who inflict pain and give birth to further hatred – in a seemingly never-ending cycle. Would gun control be a sufficient deterrent, most likely not! Is crying out for the ban of Muslim immigrants into the USA a solution – definitely not. But both play well as media sound bites to ‘control’ the news flow and create the illusion that the news readers have any more wisdom than we do.
Earlier this week, there was a concert at Central Hall Westminster in support of refugee children living alone in Europe. Performed by the artist formerly known as Cat Stevens, now Dr Yusuf Islam, the charity event attracted nearly 1,600 fans – younger and older alike – to listen to familiar tunes from a by-gone period.
The concert was in aid of 3 charities –Small Kindness, Penny Appeal & Save the Children. They operate under the tag line #You Are Not Alone. On Tuesday, the Evening Standard interviewed Yusuf to ask about his work.
Perhaps the first high-profile musician to convert to Islam, at the height of his career his religious convictions took Cat Stevens out of the 1970s music world for over 2 decades. And, though he’s returned to produce 3 records with a 4th due out by the end of this year, the concert focused on his earlier hits; Wild World, Morning has Broken, Moon Shadow, Father & Son and Peace Train.
Members of his charitable foundation attest to the sincerity of a man who hasn’t lost focus of the personal. His philanthropic educational work in the British Muslim community and beyond is well-known. For a period in the late 1980s, he was drawn into controversy (responding with libel suits) relating to accusations about religious statements and beneficiaries of his charity. He’s since been granted 2 honorary doctorates and is largely recognised today as a visionary who supports countless worthy causes.
Those interested in assisting the nearly 95,000 children displaced by Syria’s civil war, can click here for more information (http://www.smallkindness.org.uk/about).