Glen Jenvey Alleges Guardian in Terrorist Conspiracy Against Him

 The Story so Far: As I’ve blogged ad nauseum over the last few weeks, self-styled “terrorism expert” Glen Jenvey is under suspicion of making posts to Muslim forum Ummah.com under the name of “Abuislam”. He is suspected using this name to call for British Jews to be targeted over Gaza,  and of then “exposing” this as a Muslim plot to the Sun, which ran the story on page one. The considerable circumstantial evidence against Jenvey was discovered by Tim Ireland; the Sun then removed the story from its website and is now dealing with the Press Complaints Commission (PCC), and the Guardian ran a short piece on the controversy in its Media section. Jenvey’s personal friend “Lionheart” (a “former” BNP supporter who rails against “Paki Muslims”) has blustered at length that the forum is a front for al-Qaeda, and therefore that the PCC is guilty of assisting al-Qaeda by investigating the story. Jenvey has so far failed to respond to any of the circumstantial evidence – although through evangelical journalist Jeremy Reynalds he has asserted that the evidence was fabricated by the forum’s administrators by means he does not attempt to explain.

Jeremy Reynalds has now published an extraordinary second piece on the Glen Jenvey affair, in which he points out that the Guardian employs as a columnist Faisal Bodi, who has “denied Israel’s right to exist”. Bodi has links with Ummah.com (allegedly), and so he may have been “Abuislam”. The Guardian therefore published the article questioning Jenvey in order to protect their columnist. Really – it’s that weird.

Here’s the essence of it:

A journalist who has written as many as 37 articles for a widely respected British newspaper, and who was at one time the editor of a radical Islamic Internet forum, has stated publicly that Israel has no right to exist

Faisal Bodi achieved notoriety in an early 2001 Guardian editorial when he wrote the article.

…The Guardian did not immediately respond to two e-mails asking in part, “With Bodi’s connection to Ummah News, which continues to contain inflammatory comments calling for the destruction of Israel, why would you continue to use his services as a Guardian writer/commentator?”

The forum for which Bodi used to work is UmmahNews.com. Its apparent site administrator recently spoke out against a charge in a British tabloid that some of its users are extremists targeting leading British Jews.

…Jenvey said, “Could it be that Bodi is masquerading as Abuislam or another senior member of the Ummah staff?”

Now Jenvey has launched his own complaint with the PCC– against the Guardian newspaper. His complaint reads in part, “After still seeing the Guardian’s (story) on line, and the connection between the newspaper and the webmaster of ummah.com (and) ummah.net, I would like to reopen my complaint against the story as trying to discredit me.”

Jenvey added, “It is clear why the Guardian reported this story and tried to protect a terrorist web forum, as one of their reporters is the webmaster. The Sun was right to expose the evil website threats and postings.”

…Despite its self-proclaimed moderate nature, the Ummah site continues to carry material advocating the destruction of Israel and appears to continue to embrace the anti-Israel viewpoint of its former editor.

The whole thing is a blustering screed so shameless in its ad hominem attacks and conspiracy-mongering that Reynalds really ought to be ashamed of himself.

First, Ummah News is defunct, and has been for a while (Wayback has archives going back to mid 2006). I understand Ummah News and Ummah.com used to be connected, but obviously they’re not now. Second, Bodi left it some time before it closed down anyway. Third, how can Bodi be both the “webmaster” and “masquerading” as a “senior member of the Ummah staff”? Fourth, why would Bodi feel the need to “masquerade” as anyone, given that Reynalds tells us he is openly inflammatory? Fifth, what evidence is there that “Abuislam” – who registered on the forum only in January, for no other reason apparently than to suggest protesting against British Jews – is “a senior member of the Ummah staff”? Sixth, is it not obvious that an open discussion forum might carry all kinds of material from a great many sources? Seventh, the Guardian ran the story for the same reason I’m writing this blog entry – because it’s newsworthy. Bodi is only one of dozens of part-time columnists it employs. Reynalds is writing his hack job to protect Jenvey while failing to declare his long-standing links with him; it appears he assumes other journalists must operate in the same way. It is very unlikely that anyone above the Media Editor at the Guardian played any part in the decision to run its short piece, or that the journalists know or care much about Bodi. The article also came on the heels of a Private Eye piece – is Ian Hislop secretly in league with Bodi and Ummah.com too?

And what about Bodi and the “destruction of Israel?” Reynalds quotes one of his articles:

Several years ago, I suggested in my students’ union newspaper that Israel shouldn’t exist. I also said the sympathy evoked by the Holocaust was a very handy cover for Israeli atrocities. Overnight I became public enemy number one. I was a Muslim fundamentalist, a Jew-hater, somebody who trivialized the memory of the most abominable act in history. My denouncers followed me, photographed me, and even put telephone calls through to my family telling them to expect a call from the grim reaper.  “Thankfully, my notoriety in Jewish circles has since waned to the extent that recently I gave an inter-faith lecture sponsored by the Leo Baeck College, even though my views have remained the same. Israel has no right to exist.”

So why doesn’t Reynalds write to the Jewish Leo Baeck college demanding to know why it allows Bodi on the premises? Of course, the answer to this – and to the Guardian‘s continued employment of him – is that he doesn’t subscribe to an extremist “Death to Israel” position after all. Here’s some more of his piece, to give the context that Reynalds deliberately ignores:

Israel’s other potential claim to legitimacy [after the Bible], international recognition, is just as dubious. The two pacts which sealed Palestine’s future were both concluded by Britain. First we signed the Sykes-Picot agreement with France, pledging to divvy up Ottoman spoils in the Levant. A year later, in 1917, the Balfour Declaration promised a national home for the Jewish people. Under international law the declaration was null and void since Palestine did not belong to Britain – under the pact of the League of Nations it belonged to Turkey.

…However, take away the biblical right and suddenly mutual coexistence, even a one-state solution, doesn’t seem that far-fetched. What name that coexistence will take is less important than the fact that peoples have forgiven and that some measure of justice has been restored. Jews will continue to live in the Holy Land – as per the promise – as equals alongside its other rightful inhabitants.

So, Bodi promotes a bi-national one-state solution, and by disputing the “right to exist” he was questioning Israel’s legal basis. Whatever your views on that, no-one can seriously say it’s the same as a 2006 quote from a post to Ummah made by an extremist group which Reynalds dredges up:

The Followers of Ahl Us-Sunnah wal Jamma call upon all Muslim individuals, groups and organizations to show their support verbally, physically and financially to the Mujahideen who are struggling against the fascist entity called Israel so that it can be destroyed once and for all thereby liberating the land of Palestine, the Golan Heights and the Gaza Strip which belong to the Muslims and allowing the Muslims to implement Islamic law.

Does the fact that such a post was allowed to stand unchallenged reflect poorly on Ummah administrators? Perhaps. But does it reflect Bodi’s views as presented in the Guardian article used by Reynalds? Not by any reasonable measure. And does it do anything to explain the apparent links between Jenvey and “abuislam”, which were discovered by someone with no connection to the forum? Absolutely not. As I’ve written before, these are the points Jenvey must address:

1. Who is Richard Tims, and why was he spamming Jenvey’s “Sell Your Story” website on the websites of Ummah and of Jenvey’s friend “Lionheart”?

2. Given that Richard Tims’ message gave very little away and gave no indication of being either pro and anti Muslim, how would anyone at Ummah have known that a fake link to Jenvey could be made by linking Tims to “Abu Islam”?

3. Why didn’t Ummah make the link themselves? Surely we can’t be expected to believe that the moderators faked the trail and then were just waiting around on the off-chance that an unconnected blogger might happen to pass by and work it all out by checking “Sell Your Story” at Whois?

plus also now:

4. why do “Abuislam’s” postings have the same punctuation and spelling problems as Jenvey’s writings?

Even should Jenvey and Reynalds demonstrate that Ummah‘s moderators take instructions from Hitler’s severed head preserved in a glass jar, that will not make these questions disappear.