A Muslim police officer apparently objected to protecting the Israeli embassy on moral grounds. To make matters worse, the bungle-prone Metropoliatan Police accepted his request for another posting:
PC Alexander Omar Basha, who is attached to the force’s Diplomatic Protection Group, objected to being posted to protect Israel’s embassy in central London from possible terrorist attack because he disagreed with the country’s bombing of Lebanon. The officer had reportedly attended a recent anti-war protest.
Most commenters are – rightly – upset because he’s been allowed to pick and choose what parts of his job he does based on his political beliefs, rather than demonstrate the political impartiality that is required of a police officer.
But I thought I’d add one more thought to the mix. Has PC Basha considered what the role of an embassy actually is? It’s too facilitate talking – negotiation rather than war. We encourage the presence of the embassies of our enemies, so that we can try to talk our way out of crises – even occasionally while fighting rages around.
If we all followed the logic of PC Basha’s actions, we’d remove all protections from embassies of those countries with whom we disagreed. They’d then either be attacked, or live in fear being attacked. And, if they had any sense, they’d pack up and go home.
And we’d have no-one to talk to about peace.
Update: And how’s this for a breath-takingly stupid take on the affair:
MPA member Peter Herbert said the row was a “ridiculous fuss about nothing” and attacked Sir Ian [Blair – head of the Met Police] 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.”
Has Peter Herbert not noticed that 40% of the people of Lebanon are, in fact, Christians? Would he also advocate preserving the Met’s reputation by preventing Christian police officers from protecting the Israeli embassy?