Country superstar Dolly Parton was thrilled when Yusuf Islam agreed to collaborate with her on her new covers album because she wanted to show fans he's a "really sweet man."

Parton has been a longtime friend and fan of the folk icon, formerly CAT STEVENS, and was horrified when she learned he had been refused entry to America last year (04) for his Muslim beliefs.

Islam was turned back when his name appeared on a mysterious list of potential terrorist sympathisers. He has been fighting the humiliating immigration mess ever since. And, by including him on her new album, THOSE WERE THE DAYS, patriotic Parton felt she was doing him a great service because her fans would never expect her to collaborate with anyone who meant to harm Americans.

She says, "I had recorded a song on this CD, called WHERE THE CHILDREN PLAY, and I thought it was worth a chance (to ask Islam to join her), so we sent an email... and he said, `Sure, I'll play the guitar.'

"He's a precious man. He's got a lot of bad press lately but I think he's out to try to save the world, not destroy it."