Cat Stevens accepts damages over sexist bigot claims

Singer wins libel case after news agency wrongly accused him of ignoring women

Yusef Islam, the artist formerly known as Cat Stevens, has won substantial damages today (July 18) over a claim that he refuses to talk to women who do not wear a veil.

Islam, responsible for such hits as ‘Father And Son’, later covered by Boyzone, and ‘Wild World’, was awarded an undisclosed sum by the High Court.

The World Entertainment News Agency, which supplies entertainment news to websites across the globe, had accused the singer of refusing to speak or even acknowledge any women not wearing traditional Islamic dress at an awards ceremony last year.

The agency also suggested that his manager, Adam Tudor, had stated: “Mr Islam doesn’t speak with women except his wife. Least of all if they don’t wear a headscarf. Things like that only happen via an intermediary.”

Speaking after the court hearing this morning, Tudor told PA that the article had painted the singer in a completely fictional light.

He said: “Mr Islam has never had any difficulties working with women, whether for religious or any other reasons. In his normal life, women feature among some of the most influential people in Mr Islam‘s team.”

“Unsurprisingly, the article caused Mr Islam considerable embarrassment and distress, particularly given that it had the effect not only of creating an utterly false impression of his attitude to women, but because it cast serious aspersions, quite wrongly, on his religious faith, which is a matter of the utmost importance to him.”

The damages will be paid to Small Kindness, a Muslim charity that raises money for children in need.

Cat Stevens converted to Islam at the height of his fame in 1977, changing his name and refusing to play any gigs or record new music.

In 2006, he returned to the pop world with his first album for 26 years.