Time (thanks to Unhinged) contends that the whole Cat Stevens imbroglio comes down to a spelling error:
The Yusuf Islam incident earlier this week, in which the former Cat Stevens was denied entry into the U.S. when federal officials determined he was on the government’s “no-fly” antiterror list, started with a simple spelling error. According to aviation sources with access to the list, there is no Yusuf Islam on the no-fly registry, though there is a “Youssouf Islam.” The incorrect name was added to the register this summer, but because Islam’s name is spelled “Yusuf” on his British passport, he was allowed to board a plane in London bound for the U.S. The Transportation Safety Administration alleges that Islam has links to terrorist groups, which he has denied; British foreign minister Jack Straw said the TSA action “should never have been taken.”
Maybe this is so. After James Yee was arrested for mishandling classified documents and then prosecutors had to go back to determine whether or not they were really classified, and finally ended up dropping all charges, I am not surprised by federal incompetence. But was Yusuf Islam/Cat Stevens barred from Israel also for a spelling error? Or is there more to his case than DHS has yet made public? They still aren’t talking.
UPDATE from The Guardian: The Cat is initiating legal action:
Yusuf Islam, the former pop star previously known as Cat Stevens, said today he had begun legal action over what he called the “baseless slur” of the refusal to grant him entry to the United States.
A statement from his lawyers said he wanted to “find out exactly what is going on, and to take all necessary steps to undo the very serious, and wholly unfounded, injustice which I have suffered”.
Great. I want to know too. DHS’s silence about this only allows its opponents to impute to it the basest of motives, and makes even its friends suspect incompetence (at least).