A comment on Professor Hussein Solomon’s presentation on “Global Jihad: The South African Front” presented at the University of Pretoria, Wednesday 17th March 2010

By Quraysha Ismail Sooliman

Muslim students came in their numbers; it was a show of strength. Hussein Solomon was to meet his Moses. For months he has avoided sharing a platform with any Muslim academic, cleric or media personality. This day, there was no escape.
In trying to consolidate himself, Solomon attempted to soften the introduction to his paper by quoting religious texts and traditions of the prophet (SAW).He initially distinguished between what he called “Islam” the religion and “Islamism” a new brand of extremist ideology within the Muslim community. As an academic presentation however, the paper was largely flawed. Solomon cited situations but did not follow through with the analysis or the outcomes.

An obvious case of “selective bias” had influenced the academic credibility of the presentation. Solomon mentioned a Pakistani national who had been detained at OR Tambo, but did not specify if the suspect had been charged. He spoke about the so-called Somali cells, but never once mentioned the position of South African (SA) Law enforcement agencies on this “threat”

He spoke about SA’s flawed immigration control because a “known” Muslim “suspect”  wanted by the CIA had slipped through immigration and entered the country, but never mentioned the two Mosad agents who traveled from Dubai to Johannesburg and entered the country, also undetected. He described various “terrorist” cells in Somalia and Afghanistan without clarifying the motivation for their hostilities. He stressed on the availability of fake SA passports but failed to mention that the problem is not unique- both British and French passports were forged in the recent Dubai killing of a Hamas member by Mosad agents.

It is important to ask the question: “According to whose definition of terrorism are you defining these groups?” After all, one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter.

Solomon failed to justify many of his claims and could not reasonably answer the majority of the questions posed to him. It was a case of riding the see-saw. When the weight of the question was too much, he simply bounced to something else. Media Review Network spokesperson, Bibi Ayesha challenged Solomon to produce his “academic” sources for verification. An academic paper has no value if only newspaper articles constitute the bulk of the evidence. What happened to the concepts of credibility, verification and objectivity?

Naeem Jeenah, Executive Director of the Afro-Middle East Centre criticized Solomon for incorrect factual detail on ANC policy pre -1990. Uwais Ahmed, an engineering student queried Solomon’s use of quotes “out of context”.

So, who stands to benefit from a terrorist attack on South Africa during the Fifa World Cup? A question Solomon somehow failed to consider. According to Jeenah, the Americans need to find a way to coerce the SA government to tow the line on “terrorism” policies and other related issues. A stance, the South African government is not willing to take. So what better way to convince SA that the American way is the only way? Invigorate the “terrorist attack” phobia, repeat the lies often enough so that people will start to think it’s the truth (the Iraqi invasion is a classic example of this tactic) and use a “man of the community- a Muslim” to cast the doubt!

Brilliant. A typical “Wag the Dog” plot. Israelis on the other hand need to discredit the Muslim community so that anti-Israel protests and pressure on the SA government to support the “Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions” campaign will not be entertained. Fortunately, many SA citizens are vigilant enough to look beyond the smoke-screens and spurious rhetoric. The question now is:  Who monitors the credibility of institutions? Institutions that give credence to academically flawed papers?

MRN

Author: MRN Network

The aspiration of the Media Review Network is to dispel the myths and stereotypes about Islam and Muslims and to foster bridges of understanding among the diverse people of our country. The Media Review Network believes that Muslim perspectives on issues impacting on South Africans are a prerequisite to a better appreciation of Islam.