Now wait a minute, Yusuf. From Contact Music, with thanks to all who sent this in:
YUSUF ISLAM, the artist formerly known as CAT STEVENS, was "appalled" when newspapers accused him of calling for SALMAN RUSHDIE's head on a platter. Newspapers linked the singer to a Fatwa proclaimed after Rushdie committed blasphemy in his 1989 novel THE SATANIC VERSES. But Islam insists he merely questioned Islamic law. The 58-year-old says, "I never supported the Fatwa. "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 the historical commentaries of the Koran (which states that blasphemy is a capital offence). "The next day, newspaper headlines read: 'Cat Says Kill Rushdie'. I was appalled."
Yusuf, can you clear something up for me? If "historical commentaries of the Koran" state that "blasphemy is a capital offence," why did you "never" support the death fatwa against Rushdie? Or was the idea that "blasphemy is a capital offence" an erroneous conclusion you came to based on your "limited knowledge of the scriptural texts"?
Yusuf clarifies matters at his website:
I never called for the death of Salman Rushdie; nor backed the Fatwa issued by the Ayatollah Khomeini - and still don’t. The book itself destroyed the harmony between peoples and created an unnecessary international crisis.
When asked about my opinion regarding blasphemy, I could not tell a lie and confirmed that - like both the Torah and the Gospel - the Qur’an considers it, without repentance, as a capital offense. The Bible is full of similar harsh laws if you’re looking for them.
Sure. That's why Jewish leaders and the Pope routinely sentence people to death for blasphemy.
However, the application of such Biblical and Qur’anic injunctions is not to be outside of due process of law, in a place or land where such law is accepted and applied by the society as a whole.
In other words, Rushdie should only be killed in a Sharia state. He is apparently saying that he only opposed the death fatwa because Rushdie lived in England, where Sharia was not in effect. He nowhere says that there should be no death penalty for blasphemy.