Kiwi Madness by Bruce Bawer


This past Friday came the official National Remembrance Service. The order of service included speeches by the Prime Minister, the Governor-General, and leaders of New Zealand's Muslim community, plus one - count him, one - international star: none other than Yusuf Islam, formerly Cat Stevens, who performed his song "Peace Train." Under the circumstances, of course, it would have been churlish to recall that, once upon a time, Stevens, or Islam, or (to call him by his birth name) Steven Demetre Georgiou, had been an outspoken supporter of the fatwa against Salman Rushdie, that he'd been ordered to leave Israel after having allegedly donated a large sum to Hamas, and that he'd been denied entry into the U.S. for his purported terrorist ties. Who, after all, would dare speak of such unpleasant matters when all of New Zealand was coming together, in such perfect harmony, to embrace the beautiful myth of Muslim innocence?