'Security' row over Munich tribute at 2012

Allegations that a police trainer has labelled a proposed commemoration of the Munich Olympics massacre at the 2012 London Olympics "a security threat" have been vehemently denied.

An Islamic scholar, hired by Scotland Yard to train police on interfaith issues, had warned that a commemoration ceremony "could become a national security threat if it was not managed properly and was perceived by Muslims to be ‘hijacking' the Games", The Times reported this week.

The scholar, Sheikh Michael Mumisa, was addressing senior officers from the Yard's Transport Operations Command Unit during a two-day training course on faith and interfaith, held last month at the Woolf Institute for the Study of Jewish-Christian and Jewish-Muslim Relations in Cambridge. The course was the first of its kind held by the Institute.

Its executive director, Edward Kessler, said: "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'."

Sheikh Mumisa was not at the Institute and could not be contacted for a comment. Eleven Israeli athletes were killed by the Palestinian Black September group at the 1972 Munich Games. The 2012 Games will mark the 40th anniversary of the Munich massacre.

Alex Goldberg, chief executive of the London Jewish Forum, said that any commemoration would be "up to the families of those who died, with the Israel Olympic Association and, ultimately, the International Olympic Committee to decide what it will be".

    Last updated: 11:47am, August 18 2010

    COMMENTS

    DAVID FROM LONDON

    Thu, 10/30/2008 - 19:38

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    I wonder what the Times motives are by published such a fabrication????

    See also:

    LONDON METROPOLITAN POLICE DISCREDIT THE TIMES REPORT (SOURCE- SUNRISE NEWS RADIO)

    MET POLICE DENY OLYMPIC TERROR FEARS
    DATE: 29.10.08
    Updated: 10:29

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

    It has also now been reported that the Times’ claim that an Islamic scholar allegedly warned the paper that the timing of the games could create a security threat is unfounded.

    It has now emerged that Sheikh Michael Mumisa, a respected Cambridge Scholar, 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.

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------


    Jonathan Hoffman

    Fri, 10/31/2008 - 10:21

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    I am told that The Times journalist who interviewed Sheikh Michael Mumisa for this story, Richard Kerbaj, has the interview on tape. Presumably if the Times story is as distorted as Kessler claims, the Woolf Institute will be taking further action, eg Press Complaints Commission.


    DAVID FROM LONDON

    Fri, 10/31/2008 - 15:44

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    I agree with Jonathan. They should complain about this to PCC.

    Apparently Australian Lebanese Richard Kerbaj was discredited by Media Watch groups in Australia and taken to court for "fabricating stories". We have enough challenges already here in the UK between our communities and the last thing we need is yet another person to incite hatred. Such journalists can be as dangerous as radical and extremist preachers.

    For example, The Syndey Morning Herald once reported that:

    … "In November 2005, after a five-week investigation by the reporter Richard Kerbaj, The Australian (newspaper) said that Sheik Zoud was preaching the incitement of terrorism at Lakemba Mosque. In October, a jury heard that his passport and travel documents showed Zoud wasn’t in the country at the time.”

    Why would someone so unreliable continue to report? That speaks volumes about the state of our media today.


    DAVID FROM LONDON

    Fri, 10/31/2008 - 15:46

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    That is why I will stick to the JC!


    Jonathan Hoffman

    Sat, 11/01/2008 - 09:13

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    "Richard Kerbaj was discredited by Media Watch groups in Australia and taken to court for "fabricating stories". "

    David - Any evidence to substantiate that assertion, apart from the one SMH article you cite?


    SHELOMO

    Sat, 11/01/2008 - 14:29

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    Could the fact that he's a Lebanese Arab journalist (living in Australia) have something to do with his report?


    DAVID FROM LONDON

    Sun, 11/02/2008 - 19:44

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    Richard Kerbaj’s reports while in Australia were often criticised and attacked for being racist or racially motivated (although he is himself Arab Lebanese). In fact, his articles and reports on minority communities of Australia have often been cited and promoted by Right-Wing groups including the Neo-Nazi organisation - The Australian League of Rights (ALR) - which openly denies the Shoah. The Australian neo-Nazi group have prominently used articles by Richard Kerbaj and a Gareth Kimberly, among others, to wage a racially motivated aggressive anti-Darfur refugee campaign in Australia and warning against the arrival of Darfur and other African refugees in Australia. The Australian League of Rights cites Gareth Kimberley’s March 2003 Strategy article “The New Black Australians” which warns:

    "The Howard Government's decision to dump black Sudanese refugees in Tamworth should set the alarm bells ringing right across the country. As a result of the government's anti-Australian policies of ever-increasing indiscriminate immigration and enforced multiculturalism, it is now faced with the problem of growing racial enclaves in our capital cities. In a vain attempt to alleviate the problem it has decided to spread the burden to our country towns and any town that dares to object is branded racist."

    Richard Kerbaj’s article “WARNING ON AFRICAN REFUGEE GANGS” was also used by the Australian League of Rights. It looks like Kerbaj is very keen on giving “warnings”:

    "Warning on African Refugee Gangs" by Richard Kerbaj, The Australian26/12/06. Young Africans, many of whom served in militia groups and used rocket launches and grenades, are forming racial-ethnic gangs. These men are "haunted by childhood images of killings, torture and rape and were constantly on edge." These memories are apparently causing gang fights with Turks, Lebanese and other Africans.” (The Australian League of Rights).

    Now that Kerbaj has moved to London, what should we expect from him? We should expect more sensationalist and racially motivated reports on African-Caribbeans, the Muslim communities, and other minority ethnics. An Australian journalist who does not have the insight into the complex nature of UK’s diverse communities?


    Jonathan Hoffman

    Sun, 11/02/2008 - 23:32

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    You still have provided no evidence that Kerbaj "fabricates stories" and no evidence that his story in The Times last week was fabricated.


    SHELOMO

    Mon, 11/03/2008 - 03:56

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    Umm. I dont know about others. I, for one, will not trust the word of a reporter who is considered a reliable and authentic source on race issues by strong supporters of David Irving (Australian Leaugue of Rights).