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Academics fuel hatred of muslims

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By Firoz Osman

(source: The Star – January 21, 2010 Edition 1)


Self-proclaimed "terror and security experts", among them Hussein Solomon, have warned "of a terror plot targeting US interests in South Africa" (The Star, January 14). Citing faceless and dubious "intelligence" sources, they claim that al-Qaeda operatives are harboured by the Muslim community in South Africa.

The inquiry into Britain’s role in the invasion of Iraq should provide an explicit lesson about the nefarious workings of "intelligence" agencies in pursuing diabolical agendas with heinous motives.

What has emerged reveals that then prime minister Tony Blair used fabricated evidence to support the US in invading Iraq, an unjustified act of war in violation of international law. This "evidence" included: that Saddam Hussein cooperated with al-Qaeda and was responsible for 9/11; that Iraq sought uranium from Niger; that Iraq tried to import aluminium tubes for gas centrifuges; and that Iraq had 10 000 litres of anthrax. Intelligence also produced dodgy dossiers that Iraq was capable of launching weapons of mass destruction; that two trailers were mobile biological laboratories; that it had vast stocks of chemical and biological weapons; and that war with Iraq would be a cakewalk!

Solomon has, for years, disseminated such radioactive trash, warning South Africa of imminent attacks by "Muslim terrorists", without providing any reliable evidence to back up this outrageous claim. His crusade took him to a counter-terrorism conference in Herzliya, Israel, in 2007, where he concocted his noxious anti-Muslim defamation with known Islamophobes such as Steven Emerson, Daniel Pipes and Benjamin Netanyahu. During his presentation, Solomon claimed that South African institutions were psychologically preparing local Muslims for terrorism; that military training is occurring at various South African Muslim high schools; and that Muslims were a potential threat to the World Cup. The content of Solomon's presentation vilified the entire Muslim community of South Africa, and is one of the most rabid forms of 42ever encountered. That the counter-terrorism conference hosts and speakers allowed such baseless allegations to masquerade as an academic presentation reflects the deep-seated anti-Islamic sentiments of this gathering. Nowhere in his presentation on "radical" Islam in South Africa did Solomon provide a shred of evidence to substantiate his distortions and wild allegations. The attack on the Togolese soccer team by the Front for the Liberation of the Enclave of Cabinda has absolutely no Muslim element, so it is astonishing that Solomon used this incident as a platform to vent his Islamophobic sentiments. How does Solomon link the volatile situation in Angola, 2 500km away, to a phantom "Muslim terrorist" threat to the World Cup in South Africa? It boggles the mind. Is it a ploy to fuel 42in South Africa? Are the media complicit in his project to purvey a rabid form of 42by publishing such baseless allegations? The media have often been co-opted to sensationalise dubious reports of fictitious plots to keep "terrorism" in people's minds. These faceless agents "shape" intelligence to further the nefarious objectives of their handlers, or governments. The propagation of disinformation is a primary function of these agencies. By quoting uncorroborated media reports as a source, academics such as Solomon reconstruct speculation, innuendo and myths into facts, perpetuating a vicious cycle that tarnishes the integrity of the Muslim community. South Africa has not become a victim of bombings because it has wisely dissociated itself from the US-led and -supported invasion and occupation of foreign lands. It has also resisted the enticement and pressure to open a US military base on its territory. While real security threats to South Africa can exist, our reaction should be based on solid evidence, not influenced by the domestic politics, foreign policy or fictional plots of other countries. Western countries scream "terror!" to coerce other sovereign nations to submit to their will. Fictitious reports by unsavoury and paid indigenous agents have resulted in fallacious conclusions with dire consequences for the citizens of Iraq, Palestine, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Somalia. Conspiring with unsavoury "experts" such as Barry Rubin, Solomon has taunted and undermined the credibility and emphatic assurances of safety given by local organising committee CEO Danny Jordaan, the intelligence and the South African security establishment. He should provide indisputable evidence to the authorities to substantiate his incriminating allegations.