The Norwegian Nobel Committee doesn't much care for Americans these days, but it knows who's an international draw and who isn't, and so the concert, as always, is top-loaded with American celebrities. The co-hosts are Sharon Stone and Angelica Huston, and the entertainers scheduled to appear include Lionel Ritchie and Wynonna. Also on the bill is a British singer who calls himself Yusuf - the same guy who used to be known as Yusuf Islam; before that he was Cat Stevens, and before that he was Steven Demetre Georgiou.Sounds like a hell of a party, just watch out for the Kool-Aid.
After the publication of the fatwa against Salman Rushdie, (Yusef) as quoted in the New York Times as saying that if Mr. Rushdie came to his door for help, "I might ring somebody who might do more damage to him than he would like" (insert your own 'Religion of Peace' joke here).
And what about free speech? Yusuf supports an Islam that "wisely prohibits the vilification of what people hold sacred, in order that people do not vilify or mock God the Almighty." In other words, he champions the same kind of Shariah-based censorship that obtains in Saudi Arabia and Iran and that was a way of life in Taliban-run Afghanistan.
The decision to invite him to perform at the Nobel Peace Prize Concert — which is supposed to be a celebration of civilization's highest values — sends a grim message about the values the Norwegian Nobel Committee exalts above all others.
27 November 2006
Celebrity Trumps Hypocricy
and irony also takes it on the chin: