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Cat Stevens alias Yusuf Islam denied US entry

Washington, Sept. 22 (Reuters): The former pop singer Cat Stevens, now known as Yusuf Islam, was denied entry to the US and his flight from London was diverted to Maine, after his name turned up on a watch list, a US transportation security official said.

United Flight 919 en route to Washington was diverted to Bangor where Islam was questioned and detained by federal authorities who planned to put him on a return flight later, the official said.

US customs and border protection authorities discovered that the name matched a federal watch list by checking passenger information transmitted by the airline after the flight departed from London, the official said. The Washington Post, citing sources familiar with the event reported that Islam, whose name is listed as 'Usef Islam,' is on several government watch lists, including the no-fly list.

United Airlines spokesman Jeff Green said the carrier was asked by the Transportation Security Administration to divert the plane to Maine for security reasons. Cat Stevens had a string of pop hits in the early 1970s including Moonshadow and Wild World before converting to Islam in late 1977.

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