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Report: Muslim Convert Cat Stevens Has a Jewish Brother

Rock Star Cat Stevens made waves when he converted to Islam, but less well-known is his brother's conversion to Judaism.
By Moshe Cohen
First Publish: 4/10/2014, 12:47 PM

Cat Stevens a.k.a Yusuf Islam
Cat Stevens a.k.a Yusuf Islam
Reuters

Most people know that Steven Demetre Georgiou – also known as Cat Stevens – converted to Shia Islam at the height of his musical career in 1977, when he was a well-known international rock star, taking on the name Yussuf Islam. Stevens was introduced to Islam by his brother David – who, according to sources, is Jewish.

Both Stevens and his brother, David Gordon, were raised as Greek Orthodox Christians. In several inteviews given over the years, Stevens said that he had long been interested in spiritual issues and had been searching for spiritual satisfaction for many years, with the lyrics of his best known songs attesting to this search. According to Stevens, he first learned about Islam in 1976, when his brother gave him a Quran, a souvenir from a trip to Jerusalem.

After he converted to Islam, Stevens gave up the music business, recording only Islamic-oriented works until about a decade ago, when he gradually began a return to pop music. On Wednesday night, he performed on national TV in the US, as a musical guest on NBC's Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. 

According to news site Showbiz411, Stevens “is Muslim by a choice he made in 1978 — ironic since his brother, also raised Greek Orthodox, converted to Judaism around the same time.” 

Gordon, who lived in Israel for several years, is the co-founder (with Yael Drouyannoff) of Peace Child Israel, which teaches coexistence using theater and the arts. The group, according to its web site, “educates for democratic values, tolerance and mutual respect. Arab and Jewish teens work with counterparts from around the country to create original dramas about coexistence. The plays, in Arabic and Hebrew, are performed for family, friends and the public at-large.” 

David worked with his brother for many years, with reviewers calling him an "integral part" of his brother's concerts.