Yusuf Islam: The Hellfire is my greatest fear

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Yusuf IslamNovember, 16: Born in London, Yusuf Islam, 66, began his career as Cat Stevens and became a star in the 1970s with songs such as Morning Has Broken and Moonshadow. In 1977, he converted to Islam and left the music business to concentrate on his family and charity work. He began recording again in 2006; his latest album is Tell ’Em I’m Gone.

What is your greatest fear? 
The Hellfire.

What is your earliest memory? 
Our red front door at 245 Shaftesbury Avenue in the West End. I was born off Oxford Street and grew up in Shaftesbury Avenue.

What was your most embarrassing moment? 
Meeting John Lennon and George Harrison in 1971 and saying a stupid thing, like, “Woah! It took me a long time to make it.”

What is your screensaver? 
Tin Tin in a red astronaut suit.

What would your super power be? 
The Creator of the heavens and the Earth has all power.

What makes you unhappy? 
False rumours.

What do you most dislike about your appearance? 
The way the mirror lies.

If you could bring something extinct back to life, what would you choose?
Neanderthals, to explain to Desmond Morris that they were not related to Adam.

Who would play you in the film of your life? 
Rafael Nadal.

What is your most unappealing habit? 
Eating onions.

Which book changed your life? 
The Qur’an.

What was the best kiss of your life? 
My granddaughter’s.

What did you want to be when you were growing up? 
A composer of musicals.

What is your guiltiest pleasure? 
Forcing my wife to watch football on TV.

To whom would you most like to say sorry, and why? 
John and George, for being so stupid.

Have you ever said ‘I love you’ and not meant it? 
Yes, what’s wrong with that?

Which living person do you most despise, and why? 
Bono, because he was so utterly successful. Until iTunes.

What is the worst job you’ve done? 
Explaining my position on the Satanic Verses issue.

What has been your biggest disappointment? 
Not making number one with Matthew And Son because of the Monkees.

If you could edit your past, what would you change? 
The respelling of my name to Joseph.

How do you relax? 
Feet up, watching the Premier League.

What is the closest you’ve come to death? 
Thrice: nearly falling off a roof, TB and almost drowning in Malibu.

What do you consider your greatest achievement? 
Writing songs that can be handed down through generations.

How would you like to be remembered? 
As a Muslim peacemaker.

What is the most important lesson life has taught you? 
Everything will be weighed and counted.

Where would you most like to be right now? 
At home in Dubai.

Tell us a secret 
Do you promise not to tell?

: the guardian

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