OME (AP) - Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev presented the singer
once known as Cat Stevens with a peace prize on Wednesday, honoring his
work for charity.
Yusuf Islam received the "Man for Peace'' award from Gorbachev's
foundation and Rome Mayor Walter Veltroni's office at the opening of a
meeting of Nobel Peace Prize laureates.
In September, the British musician was expelled from the United States
after authorities diverted his London-to-Washington flight to Maine to
remove him, saying he was suspected of ties to terrorism. He says he was a
victim of an ''unjust and arbitrary system,'' and that he has denounced
Gorbachev alluded to the musician's troubles as he presented the award.
"Cat Stevens' life has not been simple,'' Gorbachev said. "Every person
who takes a critical stance to make the world a better place ... has a
The meeting of Nobel Peace Prize laureates is organized every year in Rome
by the Gorbachev Foundation.
"I'm very honored to be here today, not as a rock 'n' roller, but as
someone who is sharing a platform with these noble examples,'' said Islam,
who founded Small Kindness, a charity to raise money for children and
families suffering from poverty and war in the Balkans and Middle East..