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Mrn open letter to university of pretoria

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By Ibrahim Vawda – Senior Researcher,MRN

On the 17th March 2010, Hussein Solomon, a lecturer in Political Science at the University of Pretoria, will be hosting a seminar titled: “Global Jihad: The South African Front”. In view of his anti-Muslim stance and the fact that his alarmist theories bordering on 42have been previously discredited, the following open letter has been sent to the relevant authorities at the University of Pretoria.


TEL:               +27 (0) 12 374 0326/ 374 6987
FAX:               086 692 2704

10th March 2010


On 17th  March 2010, Professor Hussein Solomon, a lecturer in the Department of Political Sciences at the University of Pretoria, will be presenting a seminar entitled ‘Global Jihad: The South African Front’ as part of the Faculty of Humanities Seminar Series. While Media Review Network (MRN) respects and encourages responsible academic freedom and healthy dialogue, we are extremely concerned that Prof. Solomon is using the University of Pretoria as a platform to propagate his anti-Muslim views.

Professor Solomon has played a key role in fuelling alarm and suspicion against Muslims in South Africa. On 13 March 2008, MRN brought to the University’s attention the content of a defamatory address that Prof. Solomon made at a conference in Israel in September 2007. During this presentation Solomon claimed:

South African Muslim organizations, mosques and the Muslim media were psychologically preparing local Muslims for terrorism; Military training is occurring at various South African Muslim high schools; Muslims were a potential threat to the 2010 World Cup; South African madressahs (religious schools) were a breeding ground for terrorism.

He went on to state that the local Muslim community was “volatile” and would provide safe-houses and money to potential terrorists. At no point did Prof. Solomon provide a shred of evidence to substantiate his distortions and wild allegations.

In October 2009, Solomon repeated these ludicrous statements in the media, accusing the South African Somali community of having Al Qaeda operatives within their community who intended to attack US interests during the World Cup. Prof. Solomon also claimed that South Africa’s intelligence services were “woefully inadequately prepared” for the upcoming World Cup. Despite being legally bound by South African anti-terrorism legislation to share his evidence to substantiate these claims, Prof. Solomon has not done so.  Prof. Solomon’s inability to provide evidence to support the serious allegations he has very publicly made about the alleged role of the South African Muslim community in terrorist activities confirms MRN’s belief that Prof. Solomon is “shooting from the hip”.  His writings are steeped in anti-Muslim rhetoric; his research lacks academic accuracy and methodology and utilizes the flimsiest evidence – all in an effort to demonize Islam and its adherents. Prof. Solomon’s irresponsible claims unjustly sustain the misconception that Islam and SA Muslims are a threat to domestic and world peace. This erroneous perception leads to the unfair profiling of Islamic schools, charities and religious organizations, and creates a climate where all Muslims are feared and despised.

The title of Prof. Solomon’s forthcoming seminar suggests that he will, again, claim that South Africa is a hotbed for terrorism. MRN, therefore, calls on the University of Pretoria to demand from Professor Solomon academically-sound proof to corroborate any claims he makes about terrorism in South Africa. As an internationally-renowned, government-funded academic institution, the public deserves nothing less.Yours sincerely,Ibrahim VawdaSenior Researcher,Media Review NetworkTell: 012 374 6987Cell: 072 295 0088E-mail: webmaster@mediareviewnet.comContact Details of the authorities at the University of Pretoria:

Prof. M.M.E. Schoeman:           012 420 2464Prof. Sandra  Kloppers :           012 420 2360 / 2318Dr. Thula Simpson :                 012 420 2360 / 2318Prof: N. J. Grove:                   012 420 4273