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Solomons clumsiness and myths a formula for idiocy

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29 August 2008


Solomon’s Clumsiness and Myths a Formula for Idiocy

*By Iqbal Jassat

Professor Hussein Solomon’s latest myth-making briefing paper titled “South Africa’s Ambiguous Response to Terrorism” has been- regrettably for him- released two hours too early! He is probably feeling embarrassed and possibly anticipating a new round of humiliation for his latest faux pass. Well, here it is!

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.” This is my saving grace, he must have thought! Now I can nail the Media Review Network and others who are in denial about military training at Muslim high schools.

In fact “I can once again claim credibility for my research on Muslim organisations, mosques and madrassahs and Muslim media for their roles in preparing Muslims for terrorism”, must have been Solomon’s cherished dream, when he saw a chance to exploit the detention of Mufti Hussain Bhayat and Haroon Saley. 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! This blew Solomon’s over once again. His attempt to fuel alarm about SA Muslims’ terrorist leanings is designed to pressure the government to become- in his words- “a credible international partner against global terror”. To attain such credibility, it is clear that regimes allied 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!

In his latest missive, Solomon sought to link two distant scenarios and present 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”.

Of course to his dismay, Uganda’s release of Bhayat and Saley undermines his 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 o 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.

But his 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.

* Iqbal Jassat- Chairman of Media Review Network

(Media Review Network is an advocacy group based in Tshwane (Pretoria), South Africa)