‘Spy Cables’: Reject Rogue Foreign Agencies

2015-02-25 21:26

The potentially damaging and embarrassing leak of hundreds of South African classified intelligence information, released by Al Jazeera in collaboration with The Guardian newspaper, should be a cause of great concern, especially for our government’s Security Agency (SSA).

Although transparency, accountability and openness are important tools in a democracy, to release classified information to unauthorized individuals is truly unethical and devious.

It is disingenuous that anybody who would call himself a journalist would publicly release classified information.

Moreover, some of the leaks are completely baseless, unfounded and questionable. To release information without verification is shoddy journalism, unethical and unacceptable.

In this regard, I am deeply concerned about the linking of a number of highly acclaimed and reputable Muslim institutions with Iranian funded Islamist training camps.

The leadership of these institutions have reacted with surprise and anger at these allegations. To quote the principal of Darul Uloom Zakariyya, Mufti Shabbier Ahmed Saloojee: "The reports are wholly untrue, and maliciously so." "This allegation was printed on your website under the South African Operational Target Analysis of Iran, whereas our institution is a strictly Sunni institution, who are diametrically opposed to Shiasim and we have no ties to Iran or any country". "Students at the institution are strongly directed to distance themselves from all politics and anything that could bring the institute or our country into disregard." "We therefore demand an apology from your station and also demand that our response be printed and published on your website." (extracted from Darul Uloom Zakariyya's letter to Al Jazeera). These unsupported and unsubstantiated accusations against Muslim institutions can unjustly fuel hostility and suspicion towards Muslims and their organisations. While there maybe reports of some individuals supporting Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS), generally South African Muslims by and large are rational and balanced. These ISIS - SA-links still needs more investigation, interrogation, discussion and clarification. To quote Simon Allison, Daily Maverick journalist and author of Is this the first South African fighting for the ISIS?, Alison said on a radio interview: "while he has been investigating ISIS for some time, he does not think that South Africa is fertile ground for such groups to recruit because South African Muslims by and large are so-called moderate and they are tolerated in the country.” “There is no tension in this country between Muslims and the government, Muslims and non-Muslims." The ISIS Caliphate is not based on sharia or Islamic standards and ignores the necessary realistic requirements of Islam. Their behaviour and values are not in keeping with the true teachings of Islam. Moreover, many Islamic scholars from around the world including South Africa, have issued open statements denouncing terrorism, bloodshed and violence.

The intentions of these leaks are mysterious and they are not random. They are selected leaks with an aim to instil fear.

The Muslim greeting Assalamu-Alaikum (peace be upon you) is evidence of not only the Muslim desire for peace but also for peaceful co-existence.

This principle has characterised the lives of Muslims in South Africa generally and I hope and pray that South Africans will not allow the enemies of Islam to sabotage this desirable position.

We should focus our energy, means and time on "real terrorists", not on Muslims who practice their religion and uphold the rule of law to the best of their ability.

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