01 September 2008

The successful return on Friday of two SA Muslim relief workers detained in Uganda for a week was an indication of how badly controversial academic at the University of Pretoria, Professor Hussein Solomon, shot himself in the foot. That was the statement on Saturday issued by the Media Review Network’s chairperson, Iqbal Jassat after what it called Solomon’s latest “myth-making briefing paper titled South Africa’s Ambiguous Response to Terrorism”. This comes as on Friday the Minister in the Presidency Essop Pahad, reported that more and more South Africans were being listed on so-called “terrorist” lists.

According to Jassat, the paper was released two hours too early and could only be described as a faux pass for Solomon. “In his rush to judge he has yet again put hid foot in his mouth. Sensing an opportunity to capitalize on reports of two South African Muslims captured in Uganda for alleged ‘terror’ activity, Solomon grabbed it with closed eyes. Having scored dismally in his previous attempts to tarnish SA Muslims and their institutions as breeding grounds for ‘terrorism’, he must have relished the news about Uganda 2.”

Solomon and Muslim advocacy groups like MRN as well as Muslim academics like Naeem Jeenah of a newly established foundation for Middle Eastern affairs have for the past year been engaged in public debates on Solomon’s persistent claims of military training at Muslim institutions in the country. Among others, Solomon claims credibility for research on Muslim organisations, mosques and madaris and Muslim media for their roles in preparing Muslims for terrorism.

In the latest volley, Jassat said Solomon had hoped to exploit the detention of Mufti Hussain Bhayat and Haroon Saley last week. “And true to form, without missing a beat, Professor Hussein Solomon shot from the hip in true Western cowboy fashion. Much to his shame and disgrace, his aim was rather low. Having pulled the trigger too quickly while his gun was still in its holster, he shot himself in the foot. As his briefing paper was being circulated and newspaper editors were considering the merits of his thumb-suck, the Department of Foreign Affairs announced that the Uganda 2 were freed by their captors without any charge.”

Jassat said this blew Solomon’s claims out of the water. “His attempt to fuel alarm about SA Muslims’ terrorist leanings is designed to pressure the government to become ‘a credible international partner against global terror’. To attain such credibility, it is clear that regimes allied to the American/Israeli axis must suspend due process of law; practise illegal renditions; engage in unlawful torture and build gulags such as Guantanamo Bay for detaining people indefinitely without trial.”

According to the MRN, in his latest missive, Solomon sought to link two distant scenarios and presents this amalgam as “evidence” of terror threats. He cites the example of Francois Hugo of the Institute for Maritime Technology (IMT) whom he quotes as being “not overly optimistic” about local law enforcement agencies making the country’s maritime borders and ports safe from “terror attacks during the 2010 Soccer World Cup.”

“The second example is that of the Uganda 2. In his clumsy desperation to fabricate ‘evidence’, Solomon presents Hugo’s concern about maritime safety as ‘highlighting South Africa as a target for terrorists’ and jumps to the Ugandan fiasco as underlining ‘the risks of South Africa exporting terrorism’.”

However, Jassat said, the release of the Uganda 2 undermines Solomon’s “flimsy supposition of terror exports”. “It also suggests that suggests that his knowledge of the humanitarian missions undertaken by the two on behalf of their NGO, Crescent of Hope, is very vague. Indeed it is an indictment on his institute, CIPS, as well as on his employer, the University of Pretoria that he would venture to associate a well-known charitable organisation as potential exporters of terrorism. Crescent of Hope has a distinguished track record in poverty alleviation projects- many of these in partnership with government departments.”

Jassat said the academic’s mischief is contained in his non-disclosure of IMT’s interest in the maritime industry. “Hugo represents IMT, which is subsidiary of Armscor, a business entity that has strategic ties with the Defence industry. It makes perfect business sense for SA’s military industrial complex to seek additional revenue for marketing its products and services. In this regard expect the IMT and its employees to secure the provision of techno-military products to players in the industry such as the Navy and the SA National Defence Force.

“Hence, the context of Hugo’s observations is far removed from Uganda’s humiliation of a pair of devoted humanitarians seeking to serve the poor. For Solomon to make political capital of their misfortune is deeply offensive and insulting,” Jassat concluded.

Source: Voice Of the Cape
Posted on: 2008-08-31 04:20:22

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.