Jon Stewart raised a lot of eyebrows over the weekend when the “Rally to Restore Sanity” showcased Yusef Islam, a.k.a. Cat Stevens. Islam has over the years said a lot of radical things including a number of comments where he essentially endorsed the infamous fatwa against Booker-Prize-Winning novelist Salman Rushdie. Islam has since tried to backpedal, but it’s hard to disguise his radicalism. (For more on Islam’s slippery defense of his comments, see Michael Weiss at The New Criterion.)
Anyway, Rushdie was sufficiently perturbed by Yusef Islam’s appearance at the Rally to Restore Sanity that he called Jon Stewart to discuss the matter. Here’s how Rushdie described their conversation to Nick Cohen at Standpoint magazine:
I spoke to Jon Stewart about Yusuf Islam’s appearance. He said he was sorry it upset me, but really, it was plain that he was fine with it. Depressing.
And there you have it. It seems the Rally to Restore Sanity has become the Rally to Restore the Reputation of Islamic Extremists. Then again, the rally was supposed to be ironic, wasn’t it?