Thursday, October 05, 2006

Stop bashing Basha

You have to admit that PC Basha is a wonderful name for a policeman. Beyond that I cannot find much encouraging about the extraordinary prominence his request to be excused duty outside the Israeli Embassy received today.

I understand why the Sun put it on its front page. The paper wanted to show people that you cannot trust Muslims. Even when they join the police force they are not really like us and cannot be trusted. But why did the BBC make it the lead story on the morning news and the subject of the main interview on the Today programme?

It is now clear that PC Basha was not unhappy about being on duty at the embassy because of his religion or because of his disagreement with Israeli policy. He was unhappy about it because he feared for the safety of his wife's family in the Lebanon if he was photographed there.

Fortunately some people are talking sense this evening. Two of them are quoted on the BBC website. Peter Herbert, a member of the Metropolitan Police Authority, said the row was:

a "ridiculous fuss about nothing" and attacked Sir Ian over an "unwise judgement" on opting so quickly for a review.

"From a security point of view, the Met would be seriously criticised if this guy has relatives in Lebanon and his picture was used around the world to demonstrate the irony about having a Muslim defending the Israeli embassy in the UK."

Glen Smyth, chairman of the Metropolitan Police Federation, which represents rank-and-file officers, said just one two-hour slot outside the embassy had been affected.

The officer had not refused to do duties and had made a simple request which it was "fairly sensible" to grant, Mr Smyth said.

All those bloggers and rentaquotes who rushed out statements about how civilisation would collapse if police officers were allowed to pick and choose their duties ought to feel rather silly now.

And the most important question - as Bartlett's Bizarre Bazaar asks - is who leaked the detail of this incident and why.


Will said...

Hear, hear, Jonathan.

BD said...

I think you're going to be less than impressed with today's Daily Mail:

No one should be allowed to pick and choose whom to protect. If his religion is going to get in the way of the job, he shouldn’t have joined.

And if he’s not prepared to do it fairly and impartially, he should be sacked. [...]

PC Alexander Omar Basha refused to stand guard in protest at Israel killing his brother Muslims in the recent war in Lebanon.

Ian Ridley said...

"he feared for the safety of his wife's family in the Lebanon if he was photographed there."

Amazing. I listened to 45 minutes of debate on Radio 5 yesterday and this fact never appeared.

Anonymous said...

"Oct 5, Muslim PC excused from Isreali Embassy"
As someone visiting from Canada and involved in law enforcement, I cannot help but comment on this issue about excusing an officer from duty. If we are to point fingers, I would not be blaming religion, the Met Police, or the officer, I would be investigating the superior officer who assigned him to the embassy. Out of 150 embassies and High Commissions in London, that is the only place that you would assign a Muslim PC? This would be like assigning Owen Hargreaves (Go Canada!) to goal during a World Cup match. An obvious poor deployment of personnel.
I certainly do not support an officer to refuse a posting but sometimes management needs to have a little common sense before deploying PC's.
Craig Burrows
Alderman, City of Calgary
Police Commissioner, Calgary Police Service

Anonymous said...

Islamaphobic neofascist newspapers dictate the news - and political -agenda in this country. The Sun and the Mail are the enemy within.

James Graham (Quaequam Blog!) said...

The Metropigs are as leaky as sieves. [sarcasm]I can barely wait for them to get their hands on the National Identity Database[/sarcasm].

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't describe the loony ranting by callers (on both sides) who ring up 5Live as a "debate". I'm getting heartily sick of Muslim bashing in the media generally.

As for the Daily Mail or der Sturmer as I believe it used to be known, well, its history of support for the Nazis & anti-semitism is well known, so no surprise there then. Muslims are just its latest target.

Anonymous said...

Your questions are fairly simple to answer. Plainly the story was leaked by a resentful PC; the reason was to create the controversy that was indeed created. Oddly there was paranoia, but it seems paranoia of the PC's 'own side'; ultimately proving the pointlessness of these sort of labels in the first place...

Anonymous said...

Long after the fact, but this is my comment.

If a policeman was asked to protect the embassy of country A which was currently having a war with country B, in which the policeman had relatives. The should we be surprised that he wanted to be reassigned. That fact he just happens to be a muslim is irrelevant.