London, Oct 25 : Popstar Cat Stevens alias Yusuf Islam has rebuffed claims that Israeli security services objected to his entry into the country, claiming that it was he who backed out due to other date conflicts.
The grapevine has it that Stevens, who converted to Islam in 1977, was invited to headline an October 27 peace concert to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the founding of the Peres Centre for Peace, an organisation backed by Israeli President Shimon Peres.
Uri Savir, a former Israeli diplomat and negotiator who heads the Peres Centre, earlier said that when Stevens' passport details were submitted for a "conventional security check", it sparked a "huge row".
"After re-evaluating the situation Cat Stevens will not be arriving in Israel," the Telegraph quoted Uri Savir as saying.
However, the 'Wild world' hitmaker has rebuffed the claims.
"This is a storm in a jam jar, because in fact I had already put a cap on this matter. I'd given apologies to the Peres Centre some time ago, due to the date of the event coinciding with a scheduled trip to the United States," he said.
"That's not to say that I didn't appreciate the invitation from the Centre, and I am of course supportive of initiatives for peace," he said in the emailed statement," he added.