Eye-Opening Perspectives for Heroic Hearts

Eye-Opening Perspectives for Heroic Hearts

Saturday, June 29, 2013



by Elizabeth Hillary Jones CPW News Service
     The conversion of Cat Stevens to Islam has many Westerners speculating about the famous singer’s motivation for such a radical religious recreation of a life once dedicated to popular Western music.
     “He got sick, went to the hospital and realized that he was just a body on a journey through space and time. He had spent his life largely fulfilling other people’s expectations and chasing fame and stardom.  He points to that illness as a turning point in his life and thanks it for opening the door to his new life,” said Omar Moorman of East London.

     Born Steven Demetre Georgiou on July 21, 1948 in Marylebone, a suburb of London  and taking the stage name “Cat Stevens” his father, Stavros Georgiou, Greek Orthodox, was a the son of a Greek-cypriot and his mother, Ingrid Wickman, a Swede was raised in the Swedish Baptist tradition.  “I think that on Cat’s side of the family the men were generations of burden-carrying stevedores while on his mother’s side they were generations of candle wick makers or cattle farmers.  It’s fitting that Cat carried a burden for preaching peace through the Vietnam War era and a light for spreading religious harmony  and toleration in the face of growing work-wide war-mongering, religious stereotyping and profit motivated fight promoting that he would make this highly visible organic transformation,” said Moorman.
     “Growing up in London he was not far removed from actors like Ben Kingsley.  He spoke of the great impact of the film Gandhi had on solidifying the decision he had made in 1977 to become a Muslim.  The 1982 film provided a clue to religious and cultural toleration,” said Moorman recalling a scene from the role which won Ben Kingsley an Academy Award.
     A man had lost his child in civil war.  Gandhi tells the man that he knows the way out of hell.   The man, a Hindu named Mahari sneers, but his rejection turns to curiosity.  “Find a child, a child whose mother and father have been killed.  A little boy….about this high.”  Gandhi raises his hand. “And raise him….as your own,” Gandhi continues.  Nahari seems open, but not deeply stirred.  “Only be sure…..that he is a Muslim.  And that you raise him as one.”

     Cat Stevens, Yusaf Islam after 1977, while in London was also not far removed from the Tavistock Institute, Oxford University and the steady stream of Rhodes Scholars that annually make their track through the hallowed halls of British academia.  In as much as both the Indian and Arabian regions of the Middle East had been colonized by the British, Cat's conversion at the center of the British empire’s philosophical and economic heartland was also significant.
     “Stevens is fascinated by the study of the physical world as much as he is of the spiritual one and sees the asceticism of religion and science partners in a quest for greater human understanding.  He loved to do observational research that was grounded in reality to assess the myths and stereotypes he had uncritically accepted.  He noticed that the farther one went East in the Muslim world toward Mecca or Medina the more outwardly religious and intolerant people became, while at the same time the cities and political life became more Western and motivated by shinny technological advances, spectacular buildings, flashy yachts, gold gildings and glitzy jewels.  I think that he likened this to America where the closer one gets to the religious leaders…..Billy Graham or Pat Robertson….the more blindly militant are the followers.  With the Saudi Royal’s being the keepers of Islam’s high holy places much like the Rockefeller Chapels in New York or Chicago where the church leaders are often Masons or Knight Templars or Catholic Cathedrals where the  Bishop's closest friends are Knight of Columbus or Maltese Knights, the average person is often manipulated by forces far more powerful than they.  They are like the Israelites enslaved by Pharaoh,” said Moorman, "or like that young U.S. Marine who finally figured it all out and threw his Iraqi war medals into the crowd."

U.S. Marine, Jon Michael Turner.  "I don't work
for you anymore."

     “I think that Cat saw much of what we accept on a daily basis as filtered through a system controlled by power elites within the culture and that as with, say, Prince Bandar Bush being a part of the Bush galaxy of  international leaders, when 15 of the 19 World Trade Center hijackers were from Saudi Arabia, but the U.S. invaded Iraq instead, while deploying from bases in Saudi, well the whole thing smelled like the butt hole of camel in heat after a summer desert passage in a sand storm,” said Moorman.
     Moorman believes that Cat Stevens came up with a new way of living noting the article in Rolling Stone by Andrew Dansby (September 17, 2001).  Dansby quoted Cat Stevens' response to 911:

I wish to express my heartfelt horror at the indiscriminate terrorist attacks committed against innocent people of the United States yesterday. While it is still not clear who carried out the attack, it must be stated that no right-thinking follower of Islam could possibly condone such an action. The Qur'an equates the murder of one innocent person with the murder of the whole of humanity. We pray for the families of all those who lost their lives in this unthinkable act of violence as well as all those injured; I hope to reflect the feelings of all Muslims and people around the world whose sympathies go out to the victims of this sorrowful moment.
     “I believe that Cat Stevens’ new theory for living was based on an experience he had in London in 1976.  He had gotten into a cab and the Irishman cabbie told him that there was a cab-war among the cabbies in London and that you could not trust the camel jockey drivers," said Moorman.

     “They’ll always cheat you,” Moorman recounted.  “Well, Cat was in many ways an average looking man and not telling the cabbie who he was he was delivered to his hotel after leaving a small Surrey restaurant.  The fare on the meter was 22 pounds.  The next day he got into another cab.   The driver was Muslim and his prayer rug was lying on the front seat.  Delivered to the same restaurant the cab fare was exactly the same.  Over the next few weeks with many different drivers the fare remained the same.  “People move easily to stereotypes,’ said Moorman who grew up in Tunisia, the son of a Pentecostal minister’s daughter and a former Muslim cleric.  “There was much indiscernible music in our home, but that was part of its exotic charm," said Moorman whose favorite Cat Stevens' number is Moon Shadow.  "People are always promoting fights and it’s really sad.  Better that we all live more like Cat Stevens and that when people want to wage a war…..nobody shows up!”

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