“America’s Pastor” Rick Warren recently embraced pop-music-legend-turned-jihadist Cat Stevens, now known as Yusuf Islam.

I sure would have liked to be a fly on the wall at that meeting in Warren’s home, which he Tweeted about. (You can see the warm embrace for yourself and one between Warren and me from a few years ago. I guess you could say that gives me one degree of separation from Cat Stevens – a distance I’m not sure is far enough for my comfort.)

I’ve written a fair amount about Rick Warren over the years – not all of it flattering. But one thing I can say about my Warren chronicles – they’re all true.

I can’t say I’m surprised by this meeting. Warren has always been nostalgic about pop culture legends – like the time he played air guitar to Jimi Hendrix’s “Purple Haze” at Angels Stadium. He has also addressed the annual convention of the Muslim Brotherhood front group, the Islamic Society of North America, and has, as I first pointed out, apologized for Islamic dictators like Syria’s Bashar Assad.

Meanwhile, it may have been more difficult for Cat Stevens, AKA Yusuf Islam, to participate in this embrace. Stevens, best known as the singer-songwriter of “Peace Train” when he was a pop star, now writes songs that contain lyrics like, “I’m praying to Allah to give us victory over the kuffar,” as a Muslim convert and supporter of the revolutionary Shiite regime of Iran. “Kuffar” is usually translated as “unbeliever.”

But there they were – Rick Warren and Cat Stevens, “America’s Pastor” and “Mr. Peace Train.”

What did they discuss? What common ground do they share?

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It’s clear Warren believes in maximizing interfaith dialogue. But does Stevens-Islam?

In 1989, he famously endorsed Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeni’s death fatwa against writer Salman Rushdie.

You can see that for yourself in the video that memorialized it forever.

Back then, it was also reported in the New York Times: “The musician known as Cat Stevens said in a British television program to be broadcast next week that rather than go to a demonstration to burn an effigy of the author Salman Rushdie, ‘I would have hoped that it’d be the real thing.’

“The singer, who adopted the name Yusuf Islam when he converted to Islam, made the remark during a panel discussion of British reactions to Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s call for Mr. Rushdie to be killed for allegedly blaspheming Islam in his best-selling novel ‘The Satanic Verses.’ He also said that if Mr. Rushdie turned up at his doorstep looking for help, ‘I might ring somebody who might do more damage to him than he would like.’

”’I’d try to phone the Ayatollah Khomeini and tell him exactly where this man is,’ said Mr. Islam, who watched a preview of the program today and said in an interview that he stood by his comments.”

No, I can’t say as I approve of one of my Christian brethren embracing Stevens-Islam – at least without some remorse and repentance being displayed by him.

Is this a big deal? Yes, it is – especially in the broader context of Rick Warren’s previous activities.

So I will simply close by adding this latest outrage to the “Rick Warren Chronicles.”

They include:

Here’s a picture of Rick Warren and me together – in happier times. It is somewhat reminiscent of the photo of Warren and Stevens-Islam – but I have a bigger smile on my face than the obviously uncomfortable Mr. Peace Train.


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