Cat Stevens regained the limelight briefly in 1989, and alienated many former fans, when he publicly supported the Islamic ruling which found Salman Rushdie's book The Satanic Verses to be blasphemous. As Stevens noted, "under Islamic Law, the ruling regarding blasphemy is quite clear; the person found guilty of it must be put to death."

Stevens denied, though, that he was calling for Rushdie's death; he simply wanted the 'blasphemous' book to be banned.