„I'm very sad that this seems to be the No. 1 question people want to discuss. I had nothing to do with the issue other than what the media created.“
— Cat Stevens
Context: I'm very sad that this seems to be the No. 1 question people want to discuss. I had nothing to do with the issue other than what the media created. I was innocently drawn into the whole controversy. So, after many years, I'm glad at least now that I have been given the opportunity to explain to the public and fans my side of the story in my own words. At a lecture, back in 1989, I was asked a question about blasphemy according to Islamic Law, I simply repeated the legal view according to my limited knowledge of the Scriptural texts, based directly on historical commentaries of the Qur'an. The next day the newspaper headlines read, "Cat Says, Kill Rushdie." I was abhorred, but what could I do? I was a new Muslim. If you ask a Bible student to quote the legal punishment of a person who commits blasphemy in the Bible, he would be dishonest if he didn't mention Leviticus 24:16. As quoted in "Cat Stevens Breaks His Silence," by Andrew Dansby in Rolling Stone (14 June 2000) http://www.rollingstone.com/artists/catstevens/articles/story/5927176/cat_stevens_breaks_his_silence; Leviticus 24:16 reads : "And he that blasphemeth the name of the LORD, he shall surely be put to death, and all the congregation shall certainly stone him: as well the stranger, as he that is born in the land, when he blasphemeth the name of the Lord, shall be put to death."