Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 July 2019

Yusuf Islam to perform at memorial for Christchurch victims

The folk music hero will travel to New Zealand for the free public performance on March 29

Yusuf Islam has a history of supporting important social causes. Lucas Jackson / Reuters
Yusuf Islam has a history of supporting important social causes. Lucas Jackson / Reuters

Yusuf Islam will lead a list of artists performing at a remembrance ceremony for victims of the Christchurch mosque attacks.

The folk music legend, who is also known as Cat Stevens, will travel to New Zealand where he will perform at the free public ceremony at Christchurch’s Hagley Park on March 29.

Also on the bill are number of New Zealand musicians including Maisey Rika, Hollie Smith and Teeks.

In a statement announcing the service, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the event will be a showcase of the country's solidarity in the wake of the March 15 terror attack on the Masjid Al Noor mosque where 50 worshippers were killed by a gunman.

"In the week since the unprecedented terror attack there has been an outpouring of grief and love in our country," she said.

"The service will be a chance to once again show that New Zealanders are compassionate, inclusive and diverse, and that we will protect those values."

Yusuf’s decision to take part in the service is not surprising. The 70-year-old, known for the enduring hits Father and Son (1970) and Morning Has Broken (1971), has a history of contributing to important social causes.

Last year, Islam announced that he donated over AUD 1 million (Dh2.6 million) from the proceeds from his 2017 Australian tour to a host local and international causes through the Penny Appeal relief organisation.

“I believe that concerts are positive opportunities to receive as well as to give back, making people happy is what I love to do," Islam said.

In 2003, he performed Wild World in Cape Town as part of former South African leader Nelson Mandela's 46664 concert. Two years later Islam collaborated with Indian composer A R Rahman for the charity single Indian Ocean, which raised funds for victims of the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami.

He also runs the charity organisation The Yusuf Islam Foundation, which supports victims in conflict zones by providing relief and educational services. A percentage of his Islam's earnings goes to the charity.

Islam presently divides his time between living in the UK and Dubai.

Updated: March 28, 2019 12:58 PM

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