Yusuf Islam, the singer and songwriter formerly known as Cat Stevens, today accepted "substantial" but undisclosed libel damages and a public apology at London's High Court over an entertainment news agency slur.

The case centered on an item published March 26, 2007 on World Entertainment News Network's under the headline "Yusuf Islam Ignors Bare-Headed Women," and was reproduced on a number of Web sites including Contactmusic, which is said to have 2.2 million page views a month.

The artist's solicitor Adam Tudor told top libel judge Mr Justice David Eady, "The article suggested that Mr Islam, who is a Muslim, was so sexist and bigoted that he refused at an awards ceremony to speak to or even acknowledge any women who were not wearing a veil."

He added, "It went on to suggest that Mr Islam's manager had stated 'Mr Islam doesn't speak with women except his wife. Least of all if they don't wear a headscarf. Things like that only happen via an intermediary'."

He said that the article had caused Islam considerable embarrassment and distress particularly given that it had the effect not only of creating an utterly false impression of his attitude to women, but because it also cast serious aspersions, quite wrongly, on his religious faith.

Tudor continued: "As the defendants now accept, these allegations were entirely false. Mr Islam has never had any difficulties working with women, whether for religious or any other reasons. In his normal life, women feature among some of the most influential people in Mr Islam's team. Furthermore, the statement attributed in the article to Mr Islam's manager was simply never made."

Contactmusic also apologized today and will pay part of the damages. The compensation payment is to be donated to charity, Small Kindness. Islam is also to receive his legal costs.

Marvin Simons, attorney for World Entertainment News and Contactmusic, said the organizations had apologised for the distress and embarrassment that had been caused as a result of the "false allegations."