How Reliable is the information about the al Bustanji Controversy?

August 12, 2013

Posted on the web is a video of an interview of a Jordanian Imam named Riyadh Al Bustanji, in Arabic. The interview took place on 22 June 2012 on Al-Aqsa TV, the official television station of Hamas.  The video, subtitled in English, was posted and translated by MEMRI Tv, (

MEMRI (The Middle East Media Research Institute) is a non-profit organization co-founded by a former Mossad officer, Yigal Carmon, which translates articles from Arabic into English.

The impartiality of MEMRI has been doubted and questions have been raised by Brian Whitaker of the British newspaper The Guardian, in an article from 2012, the organization’s impartiality has also been questioned by the political leader Beppe Grillo.

British Muslims urged to boycott Israeli dates during Ramadan

4 August 2010
British Muslims are being urged to boycott Israeli dates when breaking their fast during Ramadan in protest at the continued occupation of the Palestinian territories. Campaign organisers Friends of Al Aqsa hope the boycott will dwarf previous attempts to hit Israel in the pocket, capitalising on the attention afforded to the plight of Palestinians by the deadly Israeli attack on a flotilla carrying aid to Gaza at the end of May. The focus is on dates because of their symbolic importance to Muslims, who traditionally eat them at sunset during the holy month to break the daylight fast.
The check-the-label campaign is supported by a number of groups, including War on Want and Jews Boycotting Israeli Goods. Pro-Palestinian activists say dates account for about 15% of exports from Israel to the EU and its income from the fruit each year is approximately €80m (£66m). The boycott organisers believe a large proportion of that income comes from Muslims buying dates during Ramadan, and with more than 2m followers of Islam in Britain, they say they have the economic clout to harm a lucrative Israeli industry.
But the Israeli ambassador to the UK, Ron Prosor, appeared to take the threat of a boycott lightly. “Israel will continue to successfully export dates, whilst others choose to export hate,” he said. “We encourage Muslim shoppers to ignore this nonsense, and instead double the quantity they usually purchase, to help bring about a two-date solution.”

History made as Muslims visit Holy Land

Muslims, Jews and Christians joined together for a ground-breaking multi-faith pilgrimage to Jerusalem’s Holy Land. The group of 26 formed the first ever visit to Israel and Palestine organised by a predominantly Muslim group from Britain. A total of 23 Muslims took part in the pilgrimage, and were joined by fellow members of the East London Three Faiths Forum. The trip was led by Imam Dr Mohammed Fahim of the South Woodford Community Centre, Mulberry Way, South Woodford, Rabbi David Hulbert of Bet Tikvah Synagogue, Perrymans Farm Road, Newbury Park, and Fr Francis Coveney of St Anne’s Line Roman Catholic Church, Grove Crescent, South Woodford. The six-day journey saw them take in the great religious sites of the Holy Land – including the Al-Aqsa mosque and the Dome of the Rock, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, and the Western Wall. The group also visited Bethlehem to see the Church of the Nativity, spent a day in the Judaean desert, went swimming in the Dead Sea, visited Jesus’ home town of Nazareth, and even enjoyed a trip across the Sea of Galilee. Dr Fahim said he was proud to be the first British Imam to visit Israel, and was delighted to have joined with other faith groups for the emotional adventure.

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