PARIS – Yusuf Islam, formerly known as pop singer Cat Stevens, is denying rumors that he is associated with a militant Muslim group in Britain.
"Like most Muslims all over the world, I want to state without reservation that massacres like those committed in the United States ... have nothing to do with Islam or with the beliefs of most Muslims," he said in a letter published Thursday in the French newspaper Le Figaro.
The former pop singer said he'd heard that French television linked his name with a hard-line, British-based Muslim activist, Sheikh Omar Bakri Mohammed.
"Under the present circumstances, I think it's essential to set things straight," he wrote, alluding to last week's suicide hijacking attacks in the United States.
Islam, who changed his name after converting to the religion in the late 1970s, cautioned against violent counterattacks to retaliate for the terrorist hijackings, saying that "this situation must not be exacerbated by reprisals on even more families and innocent communities."
Those heading such reprisals would be showing the same mentality that provoked the "appalling tragedy" in New York and Washington, he added.