‘How many kids do you have?’ Turkish PM asks music legend Yusuf Islam
ANKARA - Hurriyet
British musician Yusuf Islam, formerly known as Cat Stevens, attended Friday prayers with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan during his visit to Ankara on Aug. 2. AA photoOn the sidelines of his busy political schedule, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan hosted in Ankara British legend Yusuf Islam, the musician formerly known as Cat Stevens who converted to Islam in the late 1970s.
The globally known musician was on a visit to the Turkish capital to request financial support for a new mosque to be built within the grounds of Cambridge University. After attending Friday prayers together at the prayer room of the Prime Minister’s Office, both Erdoğan and Yusuf Islam engaged in an intimate conversation in front of reporters.
“How many kids do you have, Yusuf,” Erdoğan asked the author of the hit “Father and son,” which relates a conversation in which father gives advice to his young son.
“I know your advice,” Yusuf Islam replied, referring to Erdoğan’s publicly known plea for parents to bring at least three offspring into the world. “I have six, so I have doubled it,” he added.
During the meeting that lasted around one hour, Yusuf Islam obtained Erdoğan’s promise to give financial support to the mosque project.
The musician also visited the Turkish Parliament during his time in the capital city, where he was accompanied by a series of foreign guests who are also on the committee of the mosque project.
The Cambridge team also had a meeting with President Abdullah Gül and Parliament Speaker Cemil Çiçek.
"We don't [leave Ankara] with money but with huge support," Yusuf Islam told reporters after the conclusion of his meetings.
The famous singer-songwriter converted to Islam in the late 1970s, taking on the name of Yusuf Islam and leaving behind his musical career to pursue educational and humanitarian goals. He returned to music in the late 1990s, although he is remembered above all for the hits he composed during his “hippy era” such as “Father and son,” “Wild World,” “My lady d’Arbanville” and “Peace train.”
He has also been awarded by a variety of organizations for his global peace efforts.