Affix My John Hancock To Open Letter on Donald Trump’s Vision of US Foreign Policy – The American Interest

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The following statement was drafted by Ali Wyne, a security fellow with the Truman National Security Project. All of the signatories have signed in their personal capacities. Those who wish to add their names to this statement should contact Ali at awyne@alum.mit.edu.

Source: An Open Letter on Donald Trump’s Vision of US Foreign Policy – The American Interest

 

Published on: July 19, 2016
2016

An Open Letter on Donald Trump’s Vision of US Foreign Policy

The following statement was drafted by Ali Wyne, a security fellow with the Truman National Security Project. All of the signatories have signed in their personal capacities. Those who wish to add their names to this statement should contact Ali at awyne@alum.mit.edu.

For at least two reasons, 2016 offers an unusually compelling—and critical—opportunity for the United States to reassess both the hierarchy of its national interests and the conduct of its foreign policy:

  • First, each of the world’s three principal strategic theaters is in flux: the Middle East is undergoing a period of extreme instability, with contagion effects that extend well beyond the region; a confluence of stresses is testing the strength of the European project; and a resurgent China is using geoeconomic statecraft and maritime maneuvers to reshape the Asia-Pacific’s postwar order.
  • Second, the Republican presidential nominee, Donald Trump, has revived a long-dormant conception of U.S. foreign policy—one that, Brookings Institution scholar Thomas Wright observes, “would have found favor in pre-World War II—and even, in some cases, 19th century—America.”

The United States should be more appreciative of the limits to military force in achieving political outcomes; it should accord even greater priority to internal economic restoration, which is the foundation for a sustainable role in world affairs; it should adopt a more focused conception of its vital national interests and eschew a crisis-driven foreign policy, whereby incessant agitation replaces judicious prescription; and it should continue urging its allies in Western Europe and the Asia-Pacific to play a greater role in maintaining their respective regions’ strategic equilibria.

We, the undersigned, do not believe, however, that Mr. Trump offers a considered recalibration of America’s engagement abroad.  Having reviewed his proposals in their totality, we conclude not only that he advocates a de facto U.S. withdrawal from the liberal world order of which it has been the principal beneficiary in the postwar era, but also that he exhibits a predisposition to strategic recklessness.  On balance, Mr. Trump’s foreign policy would weaken America’s alliances and erode its power:

  • He contends that the United States “get[s] nothing out of the United Nations other than good real estate prices,” even though America’s status as a veto-wielding member of the body’s Security Council has given it a major diplomatic voice for over seven decades. Despite Russia’s incursions into and ongoing destabilization of eastern Ukraine, moreover, he argues that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization is “obsolete.”
  • He insists that the United States must “be prepared to walk” from longstanding alliances—whether with Japan and South Korea, which have strongly supported America’s postwar Pacific presence and play a vital role in shaping China’s behavior, or with Germany, which is the linchpin of the European economy.
  • He discusses the possibility of a military confrontation between Japan and a nuclear-armed North Korea with disconcerting equanimity. At a rally in Rothschild, Wisconsin this April, he stated that such an event “would be a terrible thing, but if they do [clash], they do.”  He added: “Good luck.  Enjoy yourself, folks.”
  • He has proposed the imposition of a tariff of up to 45 percent on goods from China, which accounts for approximately one fifth of U.S. imports. He does not seem concerned with the consequences that such a measure might have for U.S. relations with the world’s second-largest economy and largest trading country: “Who the hell cares if there’s a trade war?”
  • On the day of the 2012 presidential election, he tweeted that “[t]he concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.” That he has echoed this judgment several times during the current election cycle does not inspire confidence in his ability or willingness to address the world’s pressing challenges.
  • In a speech at Iowa Central Community College this past November, heclaimed to “know more about ISIS than the generals do.” His strategy for defeating the organization: “I would just bomb those suckers.  And that’s right, I’d blow up the pipes; I’d blow up the refineries; I’d blow up every single inch.  There would be nothing left.”  He would then arrange for companies such as Exxon Mobil to enter Iraq, rebuild the plants, and ship whatever oil they generate back to the United States.  He has also expressed support for taking similar steps in other Middle Eastern countries.  In April 2011, for example, when asked how he would have responded to Muammar Gaddafi’s attacks on Libyan civilians, he replied: “I would take the oil and stop this baby stuff.  We’re a bunch of babies.”
  • He is insouciant about the use of military force: at the aforementioned speech at Iowa Central Community College, he stated that “I’m good at war. I’ve had a lot of wars of my own.  I’m really good at war.  I love war in a certain way.”
  • He has called for “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.” At a rally in Columbus, Ohio this past November, meanwhile, he declared: “Would I approve waterboarding?  You bet…I would—in a heartbeat.  And I would approve more than that….It works.  Only a stupid person would say it doesn’t work.”  Finally, this past November, when elaborating on his strategy for confronting ISIS terrorists, he stated that “you have to take out their families.”
  • He has pledged to deport the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants who are living in the United States, erect a 1,000-mile wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, and force Mexico to pay for the barrier. As Wall Street Journal opinion columnist Bret Stephens notes, however, “Mexico is the second-largest purchaser of U.S. products,” and “illegal immigrants pay billions in state and local taxes, along with about $15 billion a year to Social Security.”

In light of such judgments, of which we could have adduced many more, it should not be surprising that Mr. Trump’s foreign policy vision has inspired alarm across the political spectrum in the United States as well as in allied capitals throughout the world.  Many critics of his candidacy appear to have believed that they could blunt his momentum by lampooning his disposition and mocking his proposals.  With less than four months before the United States elects its next president, however, it is evident that neither of those tactics has succeeded; it behooves Americans—policymakers, analysts, and citizens alike—to take Mr. Trump seriously and interrogate his vision of foreign policy.

Susan A. Aaronson
Gordon Adams
Tripp Adams
David Anderson
Jieun Baek
David A. Baldwin
Hussein Banai
Elmira Bayrasli
Omar S. Bashir
Michael Beckley
Nora Bensahel
Gregory M. Bernstein
Richard K. Betts
Jonathan Beutler
Philipp C. Bleek
Erik Brattberg
Robert L. Brown
Sarah Bush
Albert M Camarillo
Pam Campos
Asha Castleberry
Welton Chang
Michael S. Chase
Shamila Chaudhary
Scott Cheney-Peters
Cathryn Clüver
Roberta Cohen
Steven Colley
Michael Connolly
Russell Crandall
Patrick M. Cronin
Richard J. Danzig
John Delury
I. M. Destler
Rush Doshi
Michael W. Doyle
Daniel W. Drezner
Martin S. Edwards
Lars Elinderson
Jeffrey A. Engel
Jennifer L. Erickson
Matthew Fay
Tanisha M. Fazal
James D. Fearon
Rosemary Foot
Harry Franqui-Rivera
Dan J. Futrell
Saul Garlick
Laurie Garrett
Rebecca D. Gibbons
Rachel M. Gisselquist
David Gold
Kristofer Shawn Goldsmith
Peter Gourevitch
Ryan D. Grauer
William W. Grimes
Mustafa Özen Güner
Nikolas K. Gvosdev
Stephan Haggard
Sherry Hakimi
Amir Handjani
Lauren Harrison
Lukas Haynes
William I. Hitchcock
Sarah Holewinski
Russell Hsiao
Roselyn Hsueh
G. John Ikenberry
Richard H. Immerman
Lasha Kasradze
Robert Jervis
Michael Kazin
J. Christian Kessler
Jonathan D. Kirshner
Rachel Kleinfeld
Alan M. Kraut
Raymond Kuo
Courtney La Bau
Klaus W. Larres
Frank Lavin
Mark A. Lawrence
Anka Lee
Melvyn P. Leffler
Robert Legvold
Peter Liebert
Fredrik Logevall
Yonatan Lupu
Hansen Mak
Robert A. Manning
Michael Masserman
Mr. Brendan McCord
Alexander B. McCoy
J. Sherwood McGinnis
Brendan McKinnon
Robert J. McMahon
Jesse C. Medlong
Rajan Menon
James N. Miller
Michelle Moghtader
Brian H. Moore
Theodore H. Moran
James A. Morrison
Adam Mount
Aroop Mukharji
Carl H. Nelson
William G. Nomikos
Johna Ohtagaki
Sidney Olinyk
Derek J. Oliver
John M. Owen, IV
Won Palisoul
Megan J. Palmer
Ankit Panda
Adam L. Parga
T. J. Pempel
Tom Pepinsky
Aki Peritz
Daniel W. Piccuta
Peter Pizano
Mira Rapp-Hooper
Ari Ratner
Iskander Rehman
Vicki Lynn Ruiz
David Santoro
Maggie Seymour
Shiza Shahid
Martin J. Sherwin
Erin M. Simpson
Branislav L. Slantchev
Cassie Smith-Christmas
Paul Staniland
Jessica Stern
Devin T. Stewart
Mark Stoler
Sebastian Strauss
Alexander H. Sullivan
Jeremi Suri
Ariane M. Tabatabai
Justin Talbot-Zorn
Stephen Tankel
Mark Zachary Taylor
Shannon Tiezzi
Peter Trubowitz
Katelyn van Dam
Nicolas van de Walle
Shawn VanDiver
Steven K. Vogel
Joshua W. Walker
James Walsh
Barbara Walter
Michael Walzer
Jessica Chen Weiss
Ralph V. Wilhelm
Edward Wittenstein
William C. Wohlforth
Ali Wyne
Michael Yahuda
Andrew I. Yeo
Wendi X. Zhang 

please add Mark Geoffrey Kirshner

MarkGeoffreyKirshner

@MarkGKirshner

NY

Antonio Guteres was found Grossly Deficient in Managing UNHCR


Independant Board of Auditors Found UNHCR under Antonio Guteres Grossly Deficient Imperiling Future Contribtions from Member States


UN Independent Board of Auditors found Antonio Guteres Grossly Deficient in Managing  UNHCR



United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees blasted for poor financial handlingBy George Russell

Published March 14, 2012

FoxNews.com
EXCLUSIVE: The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, or UNHCR, two years ago was sitting on a stockpile of $437 million in unspent cash, even as a U.N. auditing agency warned that its sloppy handling of funds imperiled future contributions from U.N. member nations
The report, issued last year but only introduced for member-state review in the U.N. General Assembly, cites UNHCR for sloppy bookkeeping, poor financial oversight, managerial disarray, and a lack of tools to judge how well it was doing its job of helping tens of millions of the world’s displaced people.
The U.N.’s independent Board of Auditors used remarkably straight-forward language to lambaste the refugee agency, whose largest donor, the United States, contributed $712 million to UNHCR in 2010, according to the State Department. The auditors noted that the relief agency, which is financed largely by voluntary contributions, spent about $1.9 billion in 2010; its budget two years earlier was about $1.1 billion.
The auditors pointed out that there were “strong indicators of significant shortcomings in financial management” at the agency, headed since 2005 by Antonio Guterres, a former Socialist prime minister of Portugal. “This is a major risk for UNHCR,” the auditors warned, “given the increasing pressures on donors to justify why they provide public funds to international aid organizations.”
Moreover, the inspectors did not seem optimistic that the situation would change soon, even though UNHCR’s management now says that it is working hard on a wide variety of fronts to change the disturbing situation.
The Board of Auditors report, written last year but only recently published, amounted to the first major external assessment of UNHCR’s behavior after its spending began to balloon dramatically in 2008 in line with a new strategy known as the Global Needs Assessment, a novel way to encourage donors to come up with more cash.
Rather than looking at its donor pledges and then determining its budget, UNHCR is now using the Global Needs Assessment to determine the amount that it feels it needs to spend, then building a budget to accommodate that perspective — though, in the end, it still must manage with the amount it takes in.
The new approach has given more of a social welfare tilt to UNHCR relief efforts, even though it is still thought of primarily as a front-line relief group that doles out emergency food and shelter to populations displaced across national borders by war, famine and drought.
Click here to see the Auditors Report.
The Obama administration has apparently found the Global Needs approach convincing. U.S. contributions to the relief agency increased by about 40 percent between 2008 and 2010, before tailing off only slightly last year.
For this year and next, when UNHCR hopes to spend about $3.3 billion a year under its Global Needs, a State Department spokesperson told Fox News, U.S. support “will depend on current crises to which UNHCR responds.”
For UNHCR’s external auditors, however, the issue is not so much the agency’s needs as its financial and management capabilities — and these it found dolefully lacking. Among other things, the auditors’ report notes:
–UNHCR could not balance its many checkbooks. No fewer than 99 of its bank and investment accounts, holding more than $375 million, ‘lacked up-to-date reconciliations, a key financial control.’ The auditors had warned about the same problem a year earlier, and not much was done about it. (The backlog had been cut to three active accounts before the auditors’ report was published.)
–the agency wasn’t even prepared for its own audit, reflecting “significant deficiencies in the systems in place to prepare its financial statements, and in the quality of the supervision and ownership of these processes, from the most senior executive level downward and across the entire organization.”
–UNHCR “remains unable to gather and analyses basic management information on its operations,” or “to get a full grip on the performance of its implementing partners or the delivery of major initiatives.” Translation: it doesn’t know what it is actually doing.
–UNHCR’s own share of what it takes in from donors is high. Despite roughly 22 percent of its $1.9 billion in actual spending for 2010 that went to “administrative overhead and staff benefits,” the report notes. At the time of the audit, UNHCR had 6,300 regular staff working in some 380 offices located in 125 countries.
— despite those overheads, roughly one-third of UNHCR’s spending ($667 million) went to “implementing partners,” meaning non-government organizations and others who carried out relief operations. Who they all were, and how well they functioned, was not at all clear. The process of selecting those partners, the auditors noted, “lacks rigor and transparency, increasing the risk of fraud, corruption, inefficiency and poor partner performance.”
–More than half of the implementing partners had worked for UNHCR for more than five years, and the auditors found “little evidence of any kind of competitive selection process,” cost comparison or matching of capabilities with requirements. The Board of Auditors said it was “particularly concerned at the lack of transparency in partner selection processes and the increased risk of fraud and corruption to which this exposes UNHCR.”
–however badly the partners — or for that matter, UNHCR staffers — performed in the field, however, the Board of Auditors did not think highly of the agency’s ability to judge it. “Performance from its country network does not enable management to make effective judgments as to the cost-effectiveness of projects and activities or to hold local managers accountable for performance,” the report says.
If anything, the Board of Auditors report underplays the seriousness of UNHCR’s lack of field intelligence on its own operations, many of which stem from a multimillion-dollar fiasco involving installation of a new, systemwide software system, known as Focus. The software was supposed to integrate financial and human resources information, in order to propel UNHCR toward better “results-based management.”
According to another internal U.N. inspection report, which Fox News reported on last May, there have been “years of delays” in installing Focus, and the lack of information has affected hundreds of millions of dollars in UNHCR spending.
Asked how the U.S. viewed the Board of Auditors report, a State Department spokesman declared that “we follow the institutional and operational issues closely.” The spokesman also pointed to statements made by the U.S. at a meeting of UNHCR’s executive committee last October, where a U.S. diplomat declared that “several of the findings of the Board concern us,” without going into detail. At another “ex-com” session in Geneva, U.S. Ambassador David Robinson underlined that “the United States remains a committed partner with UNHCR and the beneficiaries it serves.”
How does UNHCR itself intend to deal with the management swamp outlined in the Board of Auditors report?
Not to worry, according to the agency’s management. In a report nearly as long as the auditors’ investigation, UNHCR last September outlined a lengthy list of “measures taken and proposed” to improve things. Some of them, however, seemed vague, or less than wholesale.
On the alarming bank account reconciliation process, for example, the agency reported that it had already done a great deal, and that “bank accounts held at Headquarters are fully reconciled and are routinely reconciled on a monthly basis.” But this excludes accounts in the field, where the auditors are particularly critical of oversight lapses.
In addressing what the auditors call “deficiencies in country office financial management and reporting capacity,” UNHCR says it will “review relevant audit and inspection reports, consult with Headquarters and Bureaux and continue to analyse data … to focus on those country offices in need of greater strengthening of financial management practices. Based on this review and analysis, UNHCR will develop workplans to address the identified gaps.” It hopes to have the process completed by the end of this year.
When it comes to adopting a “risk-management” approach to its partners in relief operations, as the auditors recommended, UNHCR says it first must adopt a “Differentiated Risk-Based Framework” and then apply it appropriately. The agency projects, somewhat murkily, that the “overall development application of the Framework will be completed by 2014.”
Click here to read the ‘Measures Taken’ report.
Asked by Fox News last week whether it was on track to meet the many promised deadlines in its “measures taken” report, UNHCR had not replied before this

Helen Clark’s bid for top UN job

While it hasn’t been officially announced yet it’s being widely reported that a nomination for Helen Clark for the position of the United Nations Secretary General is expected to become official today. This is no surprise. It has been signalled as a possibility for months. John Key has already indicated strong support for Clark as […]

https://markgeoffreykirshner.com/2016/04/14/helen-clarks-bid-for-top-un-job/

Helen Clark: Speech at the Opening Session of the Global Conference on Women and Social Inclusion: From Beijing to post-2015 | UNDP

Helen Clark: Speech at the Opening Session of the Global Conference on Women and Social Inclusion: From Beijing to post-2015 | UNDP. Helen Clark: Speech at the Opening Session of the Global Conference on Women and Social Inclusion: From Beijing to post-2015 06 May 2015 It is a pleasure to speak at the opening of […]

https://markgeoffreykirshner.com/2016/04/23/helen-clark-speech-at-the-opening-session-of-the-global-conference-on-women-and-social-inclusion-from-beijing-to-post-2015-undp-4/

Trust and Accountability: Why Transparancy is at the Core of Our Mission

We have placed transparency at the very core of our mission. We believe it is vital to build and maintain trust with all our partners and with the citizens we serve in developing countries. Those who channel funding through us have a right to know how it is used, and so do citizens. As the […]

https://markgeoffreykirshner.com/2016/04/23/trust-and-accountability-why-transparancy-is-at-the-core-of-our-mission-4/

The Not So Fine Line: Differences Between Humanitarian and Developmental Aid

Aid – in terms of sending money, supplies, food, and manpower to foreign countries – is often used broadly by the general public. Many would say that humanitarian and developmental aid have the same goals in mind; and to an extent, they are right. There is though, a difference between humanitarian and developmental aid that […]

https://coreyengelen.wordpress.com/2016/05/17/the-not-so-fine-line-differences-between-humanitarian-and-developmental-aid/

Can We Get Back to the Peace Train?

img_18801img_0076img_2037img_0628markkirshner_1455879141_54727

img_0071The next major ponderable impossibility would be for them — as well as their parents — to have been given enough accurate information about “why” he decided to jump off the friendly choo choo and align himself to what seems today to be an alien and anti-Western religion, hell-bent on the destruction of civilization as we know it. How can we solve this paradox as we observe the increasingly frightful and blood-chilling news connected to the name of the faith he adopted as his own — Yusuf Islam?

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Although the new Prime minister of Canada Mr. Justin Trudeau sent a

special video message of welcome and support to the event, there was hardly any other blip on the radar of media consciousness. Shame. Maybe that was because there was no bomb threat, no chaotic scenes or bloodshed; so it passed most people by like a snowflake floating in the breeze without even a whimper.
Why do beautiful things have such a hard time being noticed? And here’s the point: If the real intellectual and heart-cleansing message of Islam is not publicized or promoted, then the field is left to the belligerents and deadly aspirants of Armageddon. Can’t we try a bit harder to get back on that “Peace Train” again? To recall some lyrics in that anthem, “Why must we go on hating, why can’t we live in bliss?”
It was truly refreshing listening to some of the inspiring testaments and speeches of the heart-centered scholars of this religion, reminding us of our common humanity and the links to wisdoms so often forgotten in the flattened landscape of modern reporting these days. The metaphysical mountain of knowledge and wisdom of the scholars of the heart are hardly seen or heard.
One of the illuminated (Western) Muslim scholars of the convention, Dr. Umar Faruq Abd-Allah reminded us of the universal essence in the axis of all being: “Truth is necessarily coherent; it’s in your DNA, in your teeth, the dragonfly, the colorful fish of the reef — it’s in the Golden Mean of geometry.”
He pointed out that the major problem with “science” today is its separation from metaphysics. How can you study the beauties of the intricately unified geometric patterns of the cosmos and not recognize the awesome intellect and artist behind its existence?
Another problem is how little people know or are informed about the core commonalities between roots of Islam and Christianity and Judaism. As a British Muslim and artist and musician, born and bred in the heartlands of modern Western culture and civilization, it’s still disheartening. That’s why, when lecturing in public to mainly English-speaking audiences, I personally make sure to remind them that Islam embraces an unshakable belief in Jesus, Moses, Abraham and most prophets and messengers of the One true God mentioned in the Bible.
“How can you study the beauties of the intricately unified geometric patterns of the cosmos and not recognize the awesome intellect and artist behind its existence?”
“If the real intellectual and heart-cleansing message of Islam is not publicized or promoted, then the field is left to the belligerents and deadly aspirants of Armageddon.”

After having reached the peaceful state of submission to God, emptying his ego and bowing his head, learning to pray and fast, it was only one year after his conversion when the Iranian Revolution suddenly shook the planet. This was followed soon after by the war in Afghanistan, the Palestinian Intifada, the Iran-Iraq War, The Satanic Verses publication, the Bosnian Genocide, the list of tragedies rolled on through to 9/11 and all that followed up to the crisis we are facing in the world today with the arrival of ISIS and the ubiquitous war of-and-on terror which has invaded and affected all of us.
Now for the good news: Having recently attended the annual Reviving the Islamic Spirit Convention in Toronto over the Christmas period, it was perhaps one of the most exhilarating reminders of the wonderful faith I (first-person) had discovered and embraced before the dark clouds appeared and negative storm of propaganda against Islam began to hail down upon us.
Unfortunately, very few people know or have access to the enlightening and spiritual teachings of this faith as so much time and attention is paid to the more radicalized elements of the Muslim community. Nobody is saying such deviants do not exist, but they are unrepresentative (approx. 0.01 percent) and they receive an unfair percentage of the media’s valuable and influential space, which should be more fairly distributed to cover the real positive representations of the faith and its ethical principles.
Although the new Prime minister of Canada Mr. Justin Trudeau sent a

special video message of welcome and support to the event, there was hardly any other blip on the radar of media consciousness. Shame. Maybe that was because there was no bomb threat, no chaotic scenes or bloodshed; so it passed most people by like a snowflake floating in the breeze without even a whimper.
Why do beautiful things have such a hard time being noticed? And here’s the point: If the real intellectual and heart-cleansing message of Islam is not publicized or promoted, then the field is left to the belligerents and deadly aspirants of Armageddon. Can’t we try a bit harder to get back on that “Peace Train” again? To recall some lyrics in that anthem, “Why must we go on hating, why can’t we live in bliss?”
It was truly refreshing listening to some of the inspiring testaments and speeches of the heart-centered scholars of this religion, reminding us of our common humanity and the links to wisdoms so often forgotten in the flattened landscape of modern reporting these days. The metaphysical mountain of knowledge and wisdom of the scholars of the heart are hardly seen or heard.
One of the illuminated (Western) Muslim scholars of the convention, Dr. Umar Faruq Abd-Allah reminded us of the universal essence in the axis of all being: “Truth is necessarily coherent; it’s in your DNA, in your teeth, the dragonfly, the colorful fish of the reef — it’s in the Golden Mean of geometry.”
He pointed out that the major problem with “science” today is its separation from metaphysics. How can you study the beauties of the intricately unified geometric patterns of the cosmos and not recognize the awesome intellect and artist behind its existence?
Another problem is how little people know or are informed about the core commonalities between roots of Islam and Christianity and Judaism. As a British Muslim and artist and musician, born and bred in the heartlands of modern Western culture and civilization, it’s still disheartening. That’s why, when lecturing in public to mainly English-speaking audiences, I personally make sure to remind them that Islam embraces an unshakable belief in Jesus, Moses, Abraham and most prophets and messengers of the One true God mentioned in the Bible.
“How can you study the beauties of the intricately unified geometric patterns of the cosmos and not recognize the awesome intellect and artist behind its existence?”
“If the real intellectual and heart-cleansing message of Islam is not publicized or promoted, then the field is left to the belligerents and deadly aspirants of Armageddon.”

After having reached the peaceful state of submission to God, emptying his ego and bowing his head, learning to pray and fast, it was only one year after his conversion when the Iranian Revolution suddenly shook the planet. This was followed soon after by the war in Afghanistan, the Palestinian Intifada, the Iran-Iraq War, The Satanic Verses publication, the Bosnian Genocide, the list of tragedies rolled on through to 9/11 and all that followed up to the crisis we are facing in the world today with the arrival of ISIS and the ubiquitous war of-and-on terror which has invaded and affected all of us.
Now for the good news: Having recently attended the annual Reviving the Islamic Spirit Convention in Toronto over the Christmas period, it was perhaps one of the most exhilarating reminders of the wonderful faith I (first-person) had discovered and embraced before the dark clouds appeared and negative storm of propaganda against Islam began to hail down upon us.
Unfortunately, very few people know or have access to the enlightening and spiritual teachings of this faith as so much time and attention is paid to the more radicalized elements of the Muslim community. Nobody is saying such deviants do not exist, but they are unrepresentative (approx. 0.01 percent) and they receive an unfair percentage of the media’s valuable and influential space, which should be more fairly distributed to cover the real positive representations of the faith and its ethical principles.
Although the new Prime minister of Canada Mr. Justin Trudeau sent a

special video message of welcome and support to the event, there was hardly any other blip on the radar of media consciousness. Shame. Maybe that was because there was no bomb threat, no chaotic scenes or bloodshed; so it passed most people by like a snowflake floating in the breeze without even a whimper.
Why do beautiful things have such a hard time being noticed? And here’s the point: If the real intellectual and heart-cleansing message of Islam is not publicized or promoted, then the field is left to the belligerents and deadly aspirants of Armageddon. Can’t we try a bit harder to get back on that “Peace Train” again? To recall some lyrics in that anthem, “Why must we go on hating, why can’t we live in bliss?”
It was truly refreshing listening to some of the inspiring testaments and speeches of the heart-centered scholars of this religion, reminding us of our common humanity and the links to wisdoms so often forgotten in the flattened landscape of modern reporting these days. The metaphysical mountain of knowledge and wisdom of the scholars of the heart are hardly seen or heard.
One of the illuminated (Western) Muslim scholars of the convention, Dr. Umar Faruq Abd-Allah reminded us of the universal essence in the axis of all being: “Truth is necessarily coherent; it’s in your DNA, in your teeth, the dragonfly, the colorful fish of the reef — it’s in the Golden Mean of geometry.”
He pointed out that the major problem with “science” today is its separation from metaphysics. How can you study the beauties of the intricately unified geometric patterns of the cosmos and not recognize the awesome intellect and artist behind its existence?
Another problem is how little people know or are informed about the core commonalities between roots of Islam and Christianity and Judaism. As a British Muslim and artist and musician, born and bred in the heartlands of modern Western culture and civilization, it’s still disheartening. That’s why, when lecturing in public to mainly English-speaking audiences, I personally make sure to remind them that Islam embraces an unshakable belief in Jesus, Moses, Abraham and most prophets and messengers of the One true God mentioned in the Bible.
“How can you study the beauties of the intricately unified geometric patterns of the cosmos and not recognize the awesome intellect and artist behind its existence?”
“If the real intellectual and heart-cleansing message of Islam is not publicized or promoted, then the field is left to the belligerents and deadly aspirants of Armageddon.”

After having reached the peaceful state of submission to God, emptying his ego and bowing his head, learning to pray and fast, it was only one year after his conversion when the Iranian Revolution suddenly shook the planet. This was followed soon after by the war in Afghanistan, the Palestinian Intifada, the Iran-Iraq War, The Satanic Verses publication, the Bosnian Genocide, the list of tragedies rolled on through to 9/11 and all that followed up to the crisis we are facing in the world today with the arrival of ISIS and the ubiquitous war of-and-on terror which has invaded and affected all of us.
Now for the good news: Having recently attended the annual Reviving the Islamic Spirit Convention in Toronto over the Christmas period, it was perhaps one of the most exhilarating reminders of the wonderful faith I (first-person) had discovered and embraced before the dark clouds appeared and negative storm of propaganda against Islam began to hail down upon us.
Unfortunately, very few people know or have access to the enlightening and spiritual teachings of this faith as so much time and attention is paid to the more radicalized elements of the Muslim community. Nobody is saying such deviants do not exist, but they are unrepresentative (approx. 0.01 percent) and they receive an unfair percentage of the media’s valuable and influential space, which should be more fairly distributed to cover the real positive representations of the faith and its ethical principles.
Although the new Prime minister of Canada Mr. Justin Trudeau sent a

special video message of welcome and support to the event, there was hardly any other blip on the radar of media consciousness. Shame. Maybe that was because there was no bomb threat, no chaotic scenes or bloodshed; so it passed most people by like a snowflake floating in the breeze without even a whimper.
Why do beautiful things have such a hard time being noticed? And here’s the point: If the real intellectual and heart-cleansing message of Islam is not publicized or promoted, then the field is left to the belligerents and deadly aspirants of Armageddon. Can’t we try a bit harder to get back on that “Peace Train” again? To recall some lyrics in that anthem, “Why must we go on hating, why can’t we live in bliss?”
It was truly refreshing listening to some of the inspiring testaments and speeches of the heart-centered scholars of this religion, reminding us of our common humanity and the links to wisdoms so often forgotten in the flattened landscape of modern reporting these days. The metaphysical mountain of knowledge and wisdom of the scholars of the heart are hardly seen or heard.
One of the illuminated (Western) Muslim scholars of the convention, Dr. Umar Faruq Abd-Allah reminded us of the universal essence in the axis of all being: “Truth is necessarily coherent; it’s in your DNA, in your teeth, the dragonfly, the colorful fish of the reef — it’s in the Golden Mean of geometry.”
He pointed out that the major problem with “science” today is its separation from metaphysics. How can you study the beauties of the intricately unified geometric patterns of the cosmos and not recognize the awesome intellect and artist behind its existence?
Another problem is how little people know or are informed about the core commonalities between roots of Islam and Christianity and Judaism. As a British Muslim and artist and musician, born and bred in the heartlands of modern Western culture and civilization, it’s still disheartening. That’s why, when lecturing in public to mainly English-speaking audiences, I personally make sure to remind them that Islam embraces an unshakable belief in Jesus, Moses, Abraham and most prophets and messengers of the One true God mentioned in the Bible.
“How can you study the beauties of the intricately unified geometric patterns of the cosmos and not recognize the awesome intellect and artist behind its existence?”
“If the real intellectual and heart-cleansing message of Islam is not publicized or promoted, then the field is left to the belligerents and deadly aspirants of Armageddon.”

After having reached the peaceful state of submission to God, emptying his ego and bowing his head, learning to pray and fast, it was only one year after his conversion when the Iranian Revolution suddenly shook the planet. This was followed soon after by the war in Afghanistan, the Palestinian Intifada, the Iran-Iraq War, The Satanic Verses publication, the Bosnian Genocide, the list of tragedies rolled on through to 9/11 and all that followed up to the crisis we are facing in the world today with the arrival of ISIS and the ubiquitous war of-and-on terror which has invaded and affected all of us.
Now for the good news: Having recently attended the annual Reviving the Islamic Spirit Convention in Toronto over the Christmas period, it was perhaps one of the most exhilarating reminders of the wonderful faith I (first-person) had discovered and embraced before the dark clouds appeared and negative storm of propaganda against Islam began to hail down upon us.
Unfortunately, very few people know or have access to the enlightening and spiritual teachings of this faith as so much time and attention is paid to the more radicalized elements of the Muslim community. Nobody is saying such deviants do not exist, but they are unrepresentative (approx. 0.01 percent) and they receive an unfair percentage of the media’s valuable and influential space, which should be more fairly distributed to cover the real positive representations of the faith and its ethical principles.
Although the new Prime minister of Canada Mr. Justin Trudeau sent a

special video message of welcome and support to the event, there was hardly any other blip on the radar of media consciousness. Shame. Maybe that was because there was no bomb threat, no chaotic scenes or bloodshed; so it passed most people by like a snowflake floating in the breeze without even a whimper.
Why do beautiful things have such a hard time being noticed? And here’s the point: If the real intellectual and heart-cleansing message of Islam is not publicized or promoted, then the field is left to the belligerents and deadly aspirants of Armageddon. Can’t we try a bit harder to get back on that “Peace Train” again? To recall some lyrics in that anthem, “Why must we go on hating, why can’t we live in bliss?”
It was truly refreshing listening to some of the inspiring testaments and speeches of the heart-centered scholars of this religion, reminding us of our common humanity and the links to wisdoms so often forgotten in the flattened landscape of modern reporting these days. The metaphysical mountain of knowledge and wisdom of the scholars of the heart are hardly seen or heard.
One of the illuminated (Western) Muslim scholars of the convention, Dr. Umar Faruq Abd-Allah reminded us of the universal essence in the axis of all being: “Truth is necessarily coherent; it’s in your DNA, in your teeth, the dragonfly, the colorful fish of the reef — it’s in the Golden Mean of geometry.”
He pointed out that the major problem with “science” today is its separation from metaphysics. How can you study the beauties of the intricately unified geometric patterns of the cosmos and not recognize the awesome intellect and artist behind its existence?
Another problem is how little people know or are informed about the core commonalities between roots of Islam and Christianity and Judaism. As a British Muslim and artist and musician, born and bred in the heartlands of modern Western culture and civilization, it’s still disheartening. That’s why, when lecturing in public to mainly English-speaking audiences, I personally make sure to remind them that Islam embraces an unshakable belief in Jesus, Moses, Abraham and most prophets and messengers of the One true God mentioned in the Bible.
“How can you study the beauties of the intricately unified geometric patterns of the cosmos and not recognize the awesome intellect and artist behind its existence?”
“If the real intellectual and heart-cleansing message of Islam is not publicized or promoted, then the field is left to the belligerents and deadly aspirants of Armageddon.”

After having reached the peaceful state of submission to God, emptying his ego and bowing his head, learning to pray and fast, it was only one year after his conversion when the Iranian Revolution suddenly shook the planet. This was followed soon after by the war in Afghanistan, the Palestinian Intifada, the Iran-Iraq War, The Satanic Verses publication, the Bosnian Genocide, the list of tragedies rolled on through to 9/11 and all that followed up to the crisis we are facing in the world today with the arrival of ISIS and the ubiquitous war of-and-on terror which has invaded and affected all of us.
Now for the good news: Having recently attended the annual Reviving the Islamic Spirit Convention in Toronto over the Christmas period, it was perhaps one of the most exhilarating reminders of the wonderful faith I (first-person) had discovered and embraced before the dark clouds appeared and negative storm of propaganda against Islam began to hail down upon us.
Unfortunately, very few people know or have access to the enlightening and spiritual teachings of this faith as so much time and attention is paid to the more radicalized elements of the Muslim community. Nobody is saying such deviants do not exist, but they are unrepresentative (approx. 0.01 percent) and they receive an unfair percentage of the media’s valuable and influential space, which should be more fairly distributed to cover the real positive representations of the faith and its ethical principles.
Although the new Prime minister of Canada Mr. Justin Trudeau sent a

special video message of welcome and support to the event, there was hardly any other blip on the radar of media consciousness. Shame. Maybe that was because there was no bomb threat, no chaotic scenes or bloodshed; so it passed most people by like a snowflake floating in the breeze without even a whimper.
Why do beautiful things have such a hard time being noticed? And here’s the point: If the real intellectual and heart-cleansing message of Islam is not publicized or promoted, then the field is left to the belligerents and deadly aspirants of Armageddon. Can’t we try a bit harder to get back on that “Peace Train” again? To recall some lyrics in that anthem, “Why must we go on hating, why can’t we live in bliss?”
It was truly refreshing listening to some of the inspiring testaments and speeches of the heart-centered scholars of this religion, reminding us of our common humanity and the links to wisdoms so often forgotten in the flattened landscape of modern reporting these days. The metaphysical mountain of knowledge and wisdom of the scholars of the heart are hardly seen or heard.
One of the illuminated (Western) Muslim scholars of the convention, Dr. Umar Faruq Abd-Allah reminded us of the universal essence in the axis of all being: “Truth is necessarily coherent; it’s in your DNA, in your teeth, the dragonfly, the colorful fish of the reef — it’s in the Golden Mean of geometry.”
He pointed out that the major problem with “science” today is its separation from metaphysics. How can you study the beauties of the intricately unified geometric patterns of the cosmos and not recognize the awesome intellect and artist behind its existence?
Another problem is how little people know or are informed about the core commonalities between roots of Islam and Christianity and Judaism. As a British Muslim and artist and musician, born and bred in the heartlands of modern Western culture and civilization, it’s still disheartening. That’s why, when lecturing in public to mainly English-speaking audiences, I personally make sure to remind them that Islam embraces an unshakable belief in Jesus, Moses, Abraham and most prophets and messengers of the One true God mentioned in the Bible.
“How can you study the beauties of the intricately unified geometric patterns of the cosmos and not recognize the awesome intellect and artist behind its existence?”

THE BLOG

‘Alliance of Virtue (or Get Your Bags Together)’

Jan 29, 2016 | Updated Jan 29, 2016

Yusuf Islam / Cat Stevens Musician, Artist, Writer, Producer and Philanthropist

 

CAT STEVENS

As we settle down into the grip of another New Year, the past slips further away into obscurity and I am soberly having to grapple with the fact that many youngsters’ ears have never even heard the Beatles song, “Yesterday.” It’s an ominous sign of age creeping up and tapping you on the shoulder like a policeman halting you for driving too fast, dangling a rusty bucket in hand and reminding you of your own inescapable mortality.
If that’s the case, how much hope can we bank on to imagine they would know that there once really was a guy called Cat Stevens who dreamed of transporting his generation to a better world with a song called “Peace Train”? The chance of these young’uns ever hearing anything more about this old “Cat” becomes even more remote when you realize that he decided to embrace Islam and become a Muslim in 1977, almost 40 years ago, when none of these kids (and some of their parents) were even born.

The next major ponderable impossibility would be for them — as well as their parents — to have been given enough accurate information about “why” he decided to jump off the friendly choo choo and align himself to what seems today to be an alien and anti-Western religion, hell-bent on the destruction of civilization as we know it. How can we solve this paradox as we observe the increasingly frightful and blood-chilling news connected to the name of the faith he adopted as his own — Yusuf Islam?
Listening more closely to the “Cat” and his songs of the ‘70s might have partially solved the puzzle. When he stunned the music world by walking away from fame and money, all you had to do was to listen to “Father & Son” to hear the last words of the song say, “There’s a way and I know, that I have to go — away…” But that still doesn’t really explain “why.”
Therein lies the riddle — and here comes the explanation: What people don’t know is that the actual station, at which the earnest peace-seeking singer alighted, was in fact hundreds of light years away from the (wild) world that sprouted around him following his entrance to Islam.
“If the real intellectual and heart-cleansing message of Islam is not publicized or promoted, then the field is left to the belligerents and deadly aspirants of Armageddon.”

After having reached the peaceful state of submission to God, emptying his ego and bowing his head, learning to pray and fast, it was only one year after his conversion when the Iranian Revolution suddenly shook the planet. This was followed soon after by the war in Afghanistan, the Palestinian Intifada, the Iran-Iraq War, The Satanic Verses publication, the Bosnian Genocide, the list of tragedies rolled on through to 9/11 and all that followed up to the crisis we are facing in the world today with the arrival of ISIS and the ubiquitous war of-and-on terror which has invaded and affected all of us.
Now for the good news: Having recently attended the annual Reviving the Islamic Spirit Convention in Toronto over the Christmas period, it was perhaps one of the most exhilarating reminders of the wonderful faith I (first-person) had discovered and embraced before the dark clouds appeared and negative storm of propaganda against Islam began to hail down upon us.
Unfortunately, very few people know or have access to the enlightening and spiritual teachings of this faith as so much time and attention is paid to the more radicalized elements of the Muslim community. Nobody is saying such deviants do not exist, but they are unrepresentative (approx. 0.01 percent) and they receive an unfair percentage of the media’s valuable and influential space, which should be more fairly distributed to cover the real positive representations of the faith and its ethical principles.
Although the new Prime minister of Canada Mr. Justin Trudeau sent a

special video message of welcome and support to the event, there was hardly any other blip on the radar of media consciousness. Shame. Maybe that was because there was no bomb threat, no chaotic scenes or bloodshed; so it passed most people by like a snowflake floating in the breeze without even a whimper.
Why do beautiful things have such a hard time being noticed? And here’s the point: If the real intellectual and heart-cleansing message of Islam is not publicized or promoted, then the field is left to the belligerents and deadly aspirants of Armageddon. Can’t we try a bit harder to get back on that “Peace Train” again? To recall some lyrics in that anthem, “Why must we go on hating, why can’t we live in bliss?”
It was truly refreshing listening to some of the inspiring testaments and speeches of the heart-centered scholars of this religion, reminding us of our common humanity and the links to wisdoms so often forgotten in the flattened landscape of modern reporting these days. The metaphysical mountain of knowledge and wisdom of the scholars of the heart are hardly seen or heard.
One of the illuminated (Western) Muslim scholars of the convention, Dr. Umar Faruq Abd-Allah reminded us of the universal essence in the axis of all being: “Truth is necessarily coherent; it’s in your DNA, in your teeth, the dragonfly, the colorful fish of the reef — it’s in the Golden Mean of geometry.”
He pointed out that the major problem with “science” today is its separation from metaphysics. How can you study the beauties of the intricately unified geometric patterns of the cosmos and not recognize the awesome intellect and artist behind its existence?
Another problem is how little people know or are informed about the core commonalities between roots of Islam and Christianity and Judaism. As a British Muslim and artist and musician, born and bred in the heartlands of modern Western culture and civilization, it’s still disheartening. That’s why, when lecturing in public to mainly English-speaking audiences, I personally make sure to remind them that Islam embraces an unshakable belief in Jesus, Moses, Abraham and most prophets and messengers of the One true God mentioned in the Bible.
“How can you study the beauties of the intricately unified geometric patterns of the cosmos and not recognize the awesome intellect and artist behind its existence?”

Like most things, the trouble lies is in the narrowness of our perception, as well as where we first obtain our information about such increasingly politicized subjects. The meaning of belief in God ultimately should lead a person to be the most humane and charitable, exemplified by the true teachers of faith, the chosen missionaries of God. The Last Prophet Muhammad said, “He is not a believer who goes to sleep while his belly is full while his neighbor goes hungry.”
He also prophesized that there would arise extremists of faith who’s “words go no further than their throats.” The name given to radicals in Muslim history has always been the same: outsiders (al-khawarij). The Prophet maintained that the best of affairs lies in the “middlemost” of it, calling for justice, balance and moderation. And this was exactly what the convention was inviting to; the necessity of an “Alliance of Virtue.”
It is high time the good people of the world, from all faiths and denominations work together to benefit mankind, through knowledge and good actions. The center is where we can all meet; a place where we can stand high above the sloganizing and chaos caused by religious radicals and soldiers of self-immolation and destruction. One of the memorable sayings of a famous Muslim mystic, Rumi, comes to mind here: “Out beyond the ideas of wrong and right there is a field… I’ll meet you there.” In that spirit, the words of my old song “Peace Train” also resonate:
THE BLOG

‘Alliance of Virtue (or Get Your Bags Together)’

Jan 29, 2016 | Updated Jan 29, 2016

Yusuf Islam / Cat Stevens Musician, Artist, Writer, Producer and Philanthropist

 

CAT STEVENS

As we settle down into the grip of another New Year, the past slips further away into obscurity and I am soberly having to grapple with the fact that many youngsters’ ears have never even heard the Beatles song, “Yesterday.” It’s an ominous sign of age creeping up and tapping you on the shoulder like a policeman halting you for driving too fast, dangling a rusty bucket in hand and reminding you of your own inescapable mortality.
If that’s the case, how much hope can we bank on to imagine they would know that there once really was a guy called Cat Stevens who dreamed of transporting his generation to a better world with a song called “Peace Train”? The chance of these young’uns ever hearing anything more about this old “Cat” becomes even more remote when you realize that he decided to embrace Islam and become a Muslim in 1977, almost 40 years ago, when none of these kids (and some of their parents) were even born.

The next major ponderable impossibility would be for them — as well as their parents — to have been given enough accurate information about “why” he decided to jump off the friendly choo choo and align himself to what seems today to be an alien and anti-Western religion, hell-bent on the destruction of civilization as we know it. How can we solve this paradox as we observe the increasingly frightful and blood-chilling news connected to the name of the faith he adopted as his own — Yusuf Islam?
Listening more closely to the “Cat” and his songs of the ‘70s might have partially solved the puzzle. When he stunned the music world by walking away from fame and money, all you had to do was to listen to “Father & Son” to hear the last words of the song say, “There’s a way and I know, that I have to go — away…” But that still doesn’t really explain “why.”
Therein lies the riddle — and here comes the explanation: What people don’t know is that the actual station, at which the earnest peace-seeking singer alighted, was in fact hundreds of light years away from the (wild) world that sprouted around him following his entrance to Islam.
“If the real intellectual and heart-cleansing message of Islam is not publicized or promoted, then the field is left to the belligerents and deadly aspirants of Armageddon.”
Now for the good news: Having recently attended the annual Reviving the Islamic Spirit Convention in Toronto over the Christmas period, it was perhaps one of the most exhilarating reminders of the wonderful faith I (first-person) had discovered and embraced before the dark clouds appeared and negative storm of propaganda against Islam began to hail down upon us.
Unfortunately, very few people know or have access to the enlightening and spiritual teachings of this faith as so much time and attention is paid to the more radicalized elements of the Muslim community. Nobody is saying such deviants do not exist, but they are unrepresentative (approx. 0.01 percent) and they receive an unfair percentage of the media’s valuable and influential space, which should be more fairly distributed to cover the real positive representations of the faith and its ethical principles.
If the real intellectual and heart-cleansing message of Islam is not publicized or promoted, then the field is left to the belligerents and deadly aspirants of Armageddon. Can’t we try a bit harder to get back on that “Peace Train” again? To recall some lyrics in that anthem, “Why must we go on hating, why can’t we live in bliss?”
It was truly refreshing listening to some of the inspiring testaments and speeches of the heart-centered scholars of this religion, reminding us of our common humanity and the links to wisdoms so often forgotten in the flattened landscape of modern reporting these days. The metaphysical mountain of knowledge and wisdom of the scholars of the heart are hardly seen or heard.
One of the illuminated (Western) Muslim scholars of the convention, Dr. Umar Faruq Abd-Allah reminded us of the universal essence in the axis of all being: “Truth is necessarily coherent; it’s in your DNA, in your teeth, the dragonfly, the colorful fish of the reef — it’s in the Golden Mean of geometry.”
He pointed out that the major problem with “science” today is its separation from metaphysics. How can you study the beauties of the intricately unified geometric patterns of the cosmos and not recognize the awesome intellect and artist behind its existence?
Another problem is how little people know or are informed about the core commonalities between roots of Islam and Christianity and Judaism. As a British Muslim and artist and musician, born and bred in the heartlands of modern Western culture and civilization, it’s still disheartening. That’s why, when lecturing in public to mainly English-speaking audiences, I personally make sure to remind them that Islam embraces an unshakable belief in Jesus, Moses, Abraham and most prophets and messengers of the One true God mentioned in the Bible.
“How can you study the beauties of the intricately unified geometric patterns of the cosmos and not recognize the awesome intellect and artist behind its existence?”

Like most things, the trouble lies is in the narrowness of our perception, as well as where we first obtain our information about such increasingly politicized subjects. The meaning of belief in God ultimately should lead a person to be the most humane and charitable, exemplified by the true teachers of faith, the chosen missionaries of God. The Last Prophet Muhammad said, “He is not a believer who goes to sleep while his belly is full while his neighbor goes hungry.”
He also prophesized that there would arise extremists of faith who’s “words go no further than their throats.” The name given to radicals in Muslim history has always been the same: outsiders (al-khawarij). The Prophet maintained that the best of affairs lies in the “middlemost” of it, calling for justice, balance and moderation. And this was exactly what the convention was inviting to; the necessity of an “Alliance of Virtue.”
It is high time the good people of the world, from all faiths and denominations work together to benefit mankind, through knowledge and good actions. The center is where we can all meet; a place where we can stand high above the sloganizing and chaos caused by religious radicals and soldiers of self-immolation and destruction. One of the memorable sayings of a famous Muslim mystic, Rumi, comes to mind here: “Out beyond the ideas of wrong and right there is a field… I’ll meet you there.” In that spirit, the words of my old song “Peace Train” also resonate:
Get your bags together,

Go bring your good friends, too

‘Cause it’s getting nearer

It soon will be with you
Call me Cat or Yusuf, I am an optimist — and a believer cannot be anything else. Until that great train arrives, I hope that the expanding year will truly be one in which we can resolutely commit to our common humanity, and practice the heavenly teachings of true teachers and guides, many of whom I was honored to meet at the Convention in Toronto.
Peace be with you
Yusuf Islam (aka Cat Stevens)
For further information about the Revival of Islamic Spirit Convention please go to: risconvention.com.
More: Canada Justin Trudeau Community Mysticism Cat Stevens

 

Yusuf Islam / Cat Stevens Musician, Artist, Writer, Producer and Philanthropist

 

 

The next major ponderable impossibility would be for them — as well as their parents — to have been given enough accurate information about “why” he decided to jump off the friendly choo choo and align himself to what seems today to be an alien and anti-Western religion, hell-bent on the destruction of civilization as we know it. How can we solve this paradox as we observe the increasingly frightful and blood-chilling news connected to the name of the faith he adopted as his own — Yusuf Islam?
Listening more closely to the “Cat” and his songs of the ‘70s might have partially solved the puzzle. When he stunned the music world by walking away from fame and money, all you had to do was to listen to “Father & Son” to hear the last words of the song say, “There’s a way and I know, that I have to go — away…” But that still doesn’t really explain “why.”
Therein lies the riddle — and here comes the explanation: What people don’t know is that the actual station, at which the earnest peace-seeking singer alighted, was in fact hundreds of light years away from the (wild) world that sprouted around him following his entrance to Islam.
“If the real intellectual and heart-cleansing message of Islam is not publicized or promoted, then the field is left to the belligerents and deadly aspirants of Armageddon.”

After having reached the peaceful state of submission to God, emptying his ego and bowing his head, learning to pray and fast, it was only one year after his conversion when the Iranian Revolution suddenly shook the planet. This was followed soon after by the war in Afghanistan, the Palestinian Intifada, the Iran-Iraq War, The Satanic Verses publication, the Bosnian Genocide, the list of tragedies rolled on through to 9/11 and all that followed up to the crisis we are facing in the world today with the arrival of ISIS and the ubiquitous war of-and-on terror which has invaded and affected all of us.
Now for the good news: Having recently attended the annual Reviving the Islamic Spirit Convention in Toronto over the Christmas period, it was perhaps one of the most exhilarating reminders of the wonderful faith I (first-person) had discovered and embraced before the dark clouds appeared and negative storm of propaganda against Islam began to hail down upon us.
Unfortunately, very few people know or have access to the enlightening and spiritual teachings of this faith as so much time and attention is paid to the more radicalized elements of the Muslim community. Nobody is saying such deviants do not exist, but they are unrepresentative (approx. 0.01 percent) and they receive an unfair percentage of the media’s valuable and influential space, which should be more fairly distributed to cover the real positive representations of the faith and its ethical principles.
Although the new Prime minister of Canada Mr. Justin Trudeau sent a

special video message of welcome and support to the event, there was hardly any other blip on the radar of media consciousness. Shame. Maybe that was because there was no bomb threat, no chaotic scenes or bloodshed; so it passed most people by like a snowflake floating in the breeze without even a whimper.
Why do beautiful things have such a hard time being noticed? And here’s the point: If the real intellectual and heart-cleansing message of Islam is not publicized or promoted, then the field is left to the belligerents and deadly aspirants of Armageddon. Can’t we try a bit harder to get back on that “Peace Train” again? To recall some lyrics in that anthem, “Why must we go on hating, why can’t we live in bliss?”
It was truly refreshing listening to some of the inspiring testaments and speeches of the heart-centered scholars of this religion, reminding us of our common humanity and the links to wisdoms so often forgotten in the flattened landscape of modern reporting these days. The metaphysical mountain of knowledge and wisdom of the scholars of the heart are hardly seen or heard.
One of the illuminated (Western) Muslim scholars of the convention, Dr. Umar Faruq Abd-Allah reminded us of the universal essence in the axis of all being: “Truth is necessarily coherent; it’s in your DNA, in your teeth, the dragonfly, the colorful fish of the reef — it’s in the Golden Mean of geometry.”
He pointed out that the major problem with “science” today is its separation from metaphysics. How can you study the beauties of the intricately unified geometric patterns of the cosmos and not recognize the awesome intellect and artist behind its existence?
Another problem is how little people know or are informed about the core commonalities between roots of Islam and Christianity and Judaism. As a British Muslim and artist and musician, born and bred in the heartlands of modern Western culture and civilization, it’s still disheartening. That’s why, when lecturing in public to mainly English-speaking audiences, I personally make sure to remind them that Islam embraces an unshakable belief in Jesus, Moses, Abraham and most prophets and messengers of the One true God mentioned in the Bible.
“How can you study the beauties of the intricately unified geometric patterns of the cosmos and not recognize the awesome intellect and artist behind its existence?”

Like most things, the trouble lies is in the narrowness of our perception, as well as where we first obtain our information about such increasingly politicized subjects. The meaning of belief in God ultimately should lead a person to be the most humane and charitable, exemplified by the true teachers of faith, the chosen missionaries of God. The Last Prophet Muhammad said, “He is not a believer who goes to sleep while his belly is full while his neighbor goes hungry.”
He also prophesized that there would arise extremists of faith who’s “words go no further than their throats.” The name given to radicals in Muslim history has always been the same: outsiders (al-khawarij). The Prophet maintained that the best of affairs lies in the “middlemost” of it, calling for justice, balance and moderation. And this was exactly what the convention was inviting to; the necessity of an “Alliance of Virtue.”
It is high time the good people of the world, from all faiths and denominations work together to benefit mankind, through knowledge and good actions. The center is where we can all meet; a place where we can stand high above the sloganizing and chaos caused by religious radicals and soldiers of self-immolation and destruction. One of the memorable sayings of a famous Muslim mystic, Rumi, comes to mind here: “Out beyond the ideas of wrong and right there is a field… I’ll meet you there.” In that spirit, the words of my old song “Peace Train” also resonate:
Get your bags together,

Go bring your good friends, too

‘Cause it’s getting nearer

It soon will be with you
Call me Cat or Yusuf, I am an optimist — and a believer cannot be anything else. Until that great train arrives, I hope that the expanding year will truly be one in which we can resolutely commit to our common humanity, and practice the heavenly teachings of true teachers and guides, many of whom I was honored to meet at the Convention in Toronto.
Peace be with you
Yusuf Islam (aka Cat Stevens)
For further information about the Revival of Islamic Spirit Convention please go to: risconvention.com.
More: Canada Justin Trudeau Community Mysticism Cat Stevens

 

THE BLOG

‘Alliance of Virtue (or Get Your Bags Together)’

Jan 29, 2016 | Updated Jan 29, 2016

Yusuf Islam / Cat Stevens Musician, Artist, Writer, Producer and Philanthropist

 

CAT STEVENS

As we settle down into the grip of another New Year, the past slips further away into obscurity and I am soberly having to grapple with the fact that many youngsters’ ears have never even heard the Beatles song, “Yesterday.” It’s an ominous sign of age creeping up and tapping you on the shoulder like a policeman halting you for driving too fast, dangling a rusty bucket in hand and reminding you of your own inescapable mortality.
If that’s the case, how much hope can we bank on to imagine they would know that there once really was a guy called Cat Stevens who dreamed of transporting his generation to a better world with a song called “Peace Train”? The chance of these young’uns ever hearing anything more about this old “Cat” becomes even more remote when you realize that he decided to embrace Islam and become a Muslim in 1977, almost 40 years ago, when none of these kids (and some of their parents) were even born.

The next major ponderable impossibility would be for them — as well as their parents — to have been given enough accurate information about “why” he decided to jump off the friendly choo choo and align himself to what seems today to be an alien and anti-Western religion, hell-bent on the destruction of civilization as we know it. How can we solve this paradox as we observe the increasingly frightful and blood-chilling news connected to the name of the faith he adopted as his own — Yusuf Islam?
Listening more closely to the “Cat” and his songs of the ‘70s might have partially solved the puzzle. When he stunned the music world by walking away from fame and money, all you had to do was to listen to “Father & Son” to hear the last words of the song say, “There’s a way and I know, that I have to go — away…” But that still doesn’t really explain “why.”
Therein lies the riddle — and here comes the explanation: What people don’t know is that the actual station, at which the earnest peace-seeking singer alighted, was in fact hundreds of light years away from the (wild) world that sprouted around him following his entrance to Islam.
“If the real intellectual and heart-cleansing message of Islam is not publicized or promoted, then the field is left to the belligerents and deadly aspirants of Armageddon.”

After having reached the peaceful state of submission to God, emptying his ego and bowing his head, learning to pray and fast, it was only one year after his conversion when the Iranian Revolution suddenly shook the planet. This was followed soon after by the war in Afghanistan, the Palestinian Intifada, the Iran-Iraq War, The Satanic Verses publication, the Bosnian Genocide, the list of tragedies rolled on through to 9/11 and all that followed up to the crisis we are facing in the world today with the arrival of ISIS and the ubiquitous war of-and-on terror which has invaded and affected all of us.
Now for the good news: Having recently attended the annual Reviving the Islamic Spirit Convention in Toronto over the Christmas period, it was perhaps one of the most exhilarating reminders of the wonderful faith I (first-person) had discovered and embraced before the dark clouds appeared and negative storm of propaganda against Islam began to hail down upon us.
Unfortunately, very few people know or have access to the enlightening and spiritual teachings of this faith as so much time and attention is paid to the more radicalized elements of the Muslim community. Nobody is saying such deviants do not exist, but they are unrepresentative (approx. 0.01 percent) and they receive an unfair percentage of the media’s valuable and influential space, which should be more fairly distributed to cover the real positive representations of the faith and its ethical principles.
Although the new Prime minister of Canada Mr. Justin Trudeau sent a
Another problem is how little people know or are informed about the core commonalities between roots of Islam and Christianity and Judaism. As a British Muslim and artist and musician, born and bred in the heartlands of modern Western culture and civilization, it’s still disheartening. That’s why, when lecturing in public to mainly English-speaking audiences, I personally make sure to remind them that Islam embraces an unshakable belief in Jesus, Moses, Abraham and most prophets and messengers of the One true God mentioned in the Bible.
“How can you study the beauties of the intricately unified geometric patterns of the cosmos and not recognize the awesome intellect and artist behind its existence?”

Like most things, the trouble lies is in the narrowness of our perception, as well as where we first obtain our information about such increasingly politicized subjects. The meaning of belief in God ultimately should lead a person to be the most humane and charitable, exemplified by the true teachers of faith, the chosen missionaries of God. The Last Prophet Muhammad said, “He is not a believer who goes to sleep while his belly is full while his neighbor goes hungry.”
He also prophesized that there would arise extremists of faith who’s “words go no further than their throats.” The name given to radicals in Muslim history has always been the same: outsiders (al-khawarij). The Prophet maintained that the best of affairs lies in the “middlemost” of it, calling for justice, balance and moderation. And this was exactly what the convention was inviting to; the necessity of an “Alliance of Virtue.”
It is high time the good people of the world, from all faiths and denominations work together to benefit mankind, through knowledge and good actions. The center is where we can all meet; a place where we can stand high above the sloganizing and chaos caused by religious radicals and soldiers of self-immolation and destruction. One of the memorable sayings of a famous Muslim mystic, Rumi, comes to mind here: “Out beyond the ideas of wrong and right there is a field… I’ll meet you there.” In that spirit, the words of my old song “Peace Train” also resonate:
Get your bags together,

Go bring your good friends, too

‘Cause it’s getting nearer

It soon will be with you
Call me Cat or Yusuf, I am an optimist — and a believer cannot be anything else. Until that great train arrives, I hope that the expanding year will truly be one in which we can resolutely commit to our common humanity, and practice the heavenly teachings of true teachers and guides, many of whom I was honored to meet at the Convention in Toronto.
Peace be with you
Yusuf Islam (aka Cat Stevens)
For further information about the Revival of Islamic Spirit Convention please go to: risconvention.com.
More: Canada Justin Trudeau Community Mysticism Cat Stevens

 

 

Get your bags together,

Go bring your good friends, too

‘Cause it’s getting nearer

It soon will be with you
Call me Cat or Yusuf, I am an optimist — and a believer cannot be anything else. Until that great train arrives, I hope that the expanding year will truly be one in which we can resolutely commit to our common humanity, and practice the heavenly teachings of true teachers and guides, many of whom I was honored to meet at the Convention in Toronto.
Peace be with you
Yusuf Islam (aka Cat Stevens)
For further information about the Revival of Islamic Spirit Convention please go to: risconvention.com.

Like most things, the trouble lies is in the narrowness of our perception, as well as where we first obtain our information about such increasingly politicized subjects. The meaning of belief in God ultimately should lead a person to be the most humane and charitable, exemplified by the true teachers of faith, the chosen missionaries of God. The Last Prophet Muhammad said, “He is not a believer who goes to sleep while his belly is full while his neighbor goes hungry.”
He also prophesized that there would arise extremists of faith who’s “words go no further than their throats.” The name given to radicals in Muslim history has always been the same: outsiders (al-khawarij). The Prophet maintained that the best of affairs lies in the “middlemost” of it, calling for justice, balance and moderation. And this was exactly what the convention was inviting to; the necessity of an “Alliance of Virtue.”
It is high time the good people of the world, from all faiths and denominations work together to benefit mankind, through knowledge and good actions. The center is where we can all meet; a place where we can stand high above the sloganizing and chaos caused by religious radicals and soldiers of self-immolation and destruction. One of the memorable sayings of a famous Muslim mystic, Rumi, comes to mind here: “Out beyond the ideas of wrong and right there is a field… I’ll meet you there.” In that spirit, the words of my old song “Peace Train” also resonate:
Get your bags together,

Go bring your good friends, too

‘Cause it’s getting nearer

It soon will be with you
Call me Cat or Yusuf, I am an optimist — and a believer cannot be anything else. Until that great train arrives, I hope that the expanding year will truly be one in which we can resolutely commit to our common humanity, and practice the heavenly teachings of true teachers and guides, many of whom I was honored to meet at the Convention in Toronto.
Peace be with you
Yusuf Islam (aka Cat Stevens)
For further information about the Revival of Islamic Spirit Convention please go to: risconvention.com.



Yusuf Islam / Cat Stevens

Soon after Cat received a copy of the Koran and in 1977 he embraced Islam.
He loved the name Joseph and took its Arabic equivalent as his new name, becoming Yusuf Islam. Then he amazed the world by walking away from fame and his career as a music star, to start a family and immerse himself in charity work and education.
“I wasn’t too worried about what people thought, people would get to understand, gradually, I said to myself. After all, everybody knew I was ‘on the road to findout.”
After marrying and having children, Yusuf became involved with education and humanitarian relief. After years of ceaseless campaigning, Yusuf received the news in 1998 whilst on the road to Sarajevo that the primary school he had founded in 1983 had been awarded grant–maintained status, an historic first for the country.
In the late nineties, Yusuf along with his wife, Fawziah, established the aid charity, Small Kindness, initially to help orphans, needy families and widows in the Balkans following the recent war and conflicts there.