Yusuf Islam fascinates concert audience in Ankara

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First Lady Emine Erdoğan warmly welcomed world-renowned musician Yusuf Islam’s concert in the Turkish capital on Monday.

Islam, also known as Cat Stevens, performed for the first time in the country in Istanbul as part of the Beyoğlu Culture Road Festival last week.

“We are extremely happy to have welcomed world renowned musician Yusuf Islam and his family to our country. He touched our hearts with his works reflected through the universal language of music,” Ms Erdoğan said on Twitter.

She also said they were fascinated by the song of Islam, inspired by Turkish folk poet Yunus Emre.

The First Lady shared photos from the night, including one where President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan holds the guitar of Islam.

Proceeds from the concerts will go to the Islamic charity “Peace Train”, which aims to feed people around the world.

In March, Islam received an International Benevolence Award organized by the Turkish Presidency of Religious Affairs for his Peace Train project, named after his 1971 song. The motto of the Yusuf Islam Foundation’s charity, Peace Train , involves food aid to disadvantaged communities around the world, access to water and the construction of playgrounds for children in Africa, among other charities. The prize organizers claim that Islam has touched the hearts of Muslims and non-Muslims alike with its “true worshiper position” and “actions”. Islam has also been recognized for his contribution to the Cambridge Mosque, Europe’s first eco-friendly mosque, located in the eponymous English city. Islam, who was unable to attend the ceremony, personally sent a video message and thanked Erdoğan for Turkey’s acts of benevolence and leadership towards Muslims around the world.

Yusuf Islam, born Steven Georgiou, converted to Islam in 1977 after a near-death experience when he nearly drowned in the Pacific while swimming off Malibu Beach.

He now works for philanthropic causes, especially for Muslim communities around the world.

Islam began his musical career in the 1960s. Islam, 70, was born in London, where he learned to play the piano at a young age. When he was 15, he started playing guitar and started writing songs.

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