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Press release

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New Age report on al-Qaeda’s “SA links”

A report in the ‘New Age’ with a screaming headline “SA’s al-Qaeda links revealed” (May 3, 2011) is not only misleading, its also entirely speculative.

Quoting faceless South African and American intelligence sources, it makes utterly outrageous and unsubstantiated allegations such as this country being used as a springboard to infiltrate al-Qaeda-linked operatives into Europe, the UK and the US. It goes on to claim that the infiltration is run by a network of Pakistani citizens who bring in illegal aliens by air via OR Tambo airport or overland through Mozambique, Swaziland and Lesotho.

The report is mischievous, misleading and malicious for the rest of its content deals with a deliberate attempt to conflate criminal conduct with a movement widely viewed as an “Islamic terror group”.

Money laundering and forgery of documents along with human trafficking is criminal!  Whilst we applaud the Hawks for busting many of these crime syndicates, we deplore New Age journalist De Wet Potgieter’s unprofessional and wholly unethical attempt to mix fact with fiction!

We also applaud the intense operations conducted by members of specialised undercover police units and the SA Revenue Services (SARS) for their efforts to uncover and prosecute criminal gangs. We do however believe that to conflate the illegal activities of thugs with the legitimate political aspirations of people opposed to US-backed dictators is a travesty.

Such trial-by-media as is evident by this devious report does a great deal of disservice to Muslims in SA, many of whom are equally appalled by the death and destruction caused by US meddling in the Middle East, Asia, Africa and its unconditional support for Israel’s repressive oppression of Palestinians.

We therefore challenge Potgieter to disclose whether any of these criminals have been charged and prosecuted in SA as terrorists under the existing anti-terror laws.

Issued by:

Iqbal Jassat

Chairperson: Media Review Network

Cell: 083 594 3749