‘Se­cu­rity’ row over Mu­nich trib­ute at 2012

The Jewish Chronicle - - News - BY LEON SY­MONS

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 JewishMus­lim 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”.

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