Friday, October 31, 2008

MEDIA: More Kerbaj inaccuracies exposed ...

Well, it looks like my old buddy Sheik Dicky Kerbaj is keeping up with The Times and making waves about those blasted cousin-marriers in the United Kingdom.

This time, Kerbaj has co-authored an article claiming there could be tensions between Muslims and the UK police during the 2012 Olympics. Kerbaj et al have cited terrorism "experts" warning Scotland Yard that hungry and thirsty Muslims might get a little impatient with all the crowds.

The two experts cited are Michael Mumisa (an Islamic scholar) and Edward Kessler (of the Wolff Institute for Abrahamic Faiths).

Here is what Kerbaj said about both these gentlemen:

Michael Mumisa, an Islamic scholar, and one of four experts hired by Scotland Yard who began training the police this week on inter-faith issues, said that the commemoration of the 11 Israeli athletes, killed by Palestinian militants from the Black September Organisation at the 1972 Munich Games, could become a national security threat if it was not managed properly and was perceived by Muslims to be “hijacking” the Games.

Edward Kessler, executive director of the Woolfe Institute, which deals with inter-faith dialogue, teaching and research, said that police needed to have a “minimum level of faith literacy” to help them deal with religious issues during the London Games. Dr Kessler said: “During Ramadan you’re going to have a lot of tired, hungry, less evenly tempered people because they haven’t eaten for 18 hours.”
However, both the Jewish Chronicle and the UK Police have discredited the report. Writing for the Chronicle, Leon Symons cites Dr Kessler as saying ...

Sheikh Mumisa's words have been twisted in a way that is not accurate. I know what was said because I was there throughout the course. We were very unhappy with what appeared because it did not reflect the course that the officers took.

We are not experts in terrorism, we are experts in faith and interfaith and that's what they were here to learn. It was a very positive programme which dealt with subjects including antisemitism and Islamophobia.

The possibility of a ceremony to commemorate the Munich Olympics massacre was mentioned as being key to the Jewish community. But it was discussed in terms of one type of commemoration being wholly appropriate and another being wholly inappropriate. The police would have to deal with the situation on the ground and the point was that they should be aware of the sensitivities of each faith community. It was certainly not talked of as a ‘national security threat' or the Games being ‘hijacked'.
And here is how Sunrise Radio reported the story on 29 October:

The Met Police have rejected a national newspaper’s claims that Ramadan coinciding with the 2012 Olympics has increased the security threat.

An Islamic scholar allegedly warned the paper that the timing of the games could create a security threat, but he claims the paper misrepresented his words.

Sheikh Michael Mumisa, of the Woolf Institute of Abrahamic Faith, told Sunrise News he said nothing of the sort, and that journalists must act responsibly.

Chief Inspector Andy Goldstone from the Met Police Olympic Security Directorate agrees there should not be a problem.
You can read more about this episode in dangerous media silliness here. You can also read more of Kerbaj's works on the blog of one of Daniel "Saddam financed Obama's house" Pipes here.

And Australian readers can again have a good laugh by reading Kerbaj getting even the most basic Arabic naming practices muddled.