The above headline – “Terror Target Sugar” – provided a front page splash for the Sun in January. The story explained that Muslims were plotting on an on-line forum to attack British Jews over Israel’s actions in Gaza; the paper’s evidence was postings made by a certain “Abu Islam” and brought to the attention of the newspaper by Glen Jenvey, an “anti-terrorist” expert who had previously appeared on BBC Newsnight discussing extremist Muslims and as a pundit for the American Obsession documentary. However, Tim Ireland of Bloggerheads found evidence strongly suggestive that Jenvey himself was Abu Islam, and that he had made the postings which he then “exposed” for the Sun. The story was removed from the internet, and Sugar’s lawyers announced plans to sue.
Since then, a lot has happened – and the most unexpected development has been Jenvey’s own conversion to radical Islam. Jenvey has now confessed his authorship of the “Abu Islam” posts in a message to a moderator at Ummah.com, the forum where this all began. I have had some private correspondence with Jenvey myself, and I can confirm the authenticity of this message:
Brother i’m sorry for the Allan Sugar story plant. I’m retired now from spying on Muslims. I saw a chance to install fear back in Jews who were killing Muslims.I was wrong to use you and your site.If you need any thing to help you in any way in the name of Allah just ask.
But yes the Sun did not know who posted it.I say sorry to you from my heart. if you want show the police and get me arrested. but with the first ramadaam coming i want to clear my past sin’s before i start my fasting and pray.
I would write this on your forum but im blocked out. may Allah reward you for your good work you do.Ameen
Omar Hamza Jenvey
This is extraordinary: Jenvey admits to being “Abu Islam”, and he tells us that his deliberate purpose was to cause Alan Sugar and other Jews to fear fear and distress. And that he was able to get the Sun to oblige with a front page story that spread rapidly across the media.
However, it is also rather weird: Jenvey announced his intention to convert to Islam only in June. This followed a Daily Mail article which mentioned him in passing in a story about football hooligans in Luton (Jenvey was an associate of Paul Ray, the Luton-based anti-Muslim blogger known as “Lionheart”. Ray dismissed the claim that Jenvey was Abu Islam as “propaganda!“, and after the Sun article was published Ray appeared on No Compromise, a right-wing American internet radio programme, to explain that Jenvey was now in hiding from Muslim extremists who had vowed to behead him). Jenvey found the Mail article very offensive, and this was the apparent catalyst for his conversion. He was not a Muslim when he wrote the “Abu Islam” posts – at the time, causing Jews to feal fear was just a means to an end, the end of course being to generate general public fear and disgust against Muslims for targeting Jews.
But there are also some bigger questions: how can the media be manipulated so easily in this way? The reality and dangers of Islamic fundamentalism of course must not be underestimated, but now we have to ask: what other information about radical Islam which has come through the media is of dubious provenance? We know there was a channel by which material “discovered” by Jenvey made its way to the desk of Patrick Mercer MP, the former Conservative Shadow Minister for Homeland Security. Mercer, and those who generated this channel, are now in rather embarrassing situation, it seems to me. Are court cases involving extremists now really in jeopardy, as Jenvey claims is the case as regards Abu Hamza?
And what about the credibility (as if it ever had any) of Obsession, which was distributed as a free DVD to 28 million American homes in 2008, and which featured Jenvey along with the likes of Daniel Pipes, Alan Dershowitz, and Brigitte Gabriel?
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