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Cop refuses embassy job

by: Ben Morris - Last updated: 2006-10-05

Israel

Israel

An urgent investigation into how a Muslim police officer was allowed to be excused from guarding the Israeli Embassy in London is to be launched following a newspaper report in The Sun.

PC Alexander Omar Basha, who is attached to Scotland Yard's Diplomatic Protection Group, said he would be unable to guard the embassy due to moral grounds following Israel's recent invasion of Lebanon.

“Having learned of this issue I have asked for an urgent review of the situation and a full report into the circumstances," said Met Police Commissioner Sir Ian Blair.

While not yet commenting on the issue himself, PC Basha is being represented by the Association of Muslim Police Officers

"The particular officer has brought an issue forward. His wife is Lebanese and his father is from Syria," said Superintendent Dal Babu from the association told the BBC. "He brought this issue up at the start of August and has expressed a desire to be posted elsewhere whilst the war was going on."

Now that Israel is out of Lebanon, Supt Basu said: "If an incident happens at the Israeli embassy he will deal with it".

The actions of PC Basha and his bosses in allowing him to be excused have been condemned.

"This is the beginning of the end for British policing," said John O'Connor, a former Met Police flying squad commander. "If they can allow this, surely they'll have to accept a Jewish officer not wanting to work at an Islamic national embassy.  Will Catholic cops be let off working at Protestant churches? Where will it end? This decision is going to allow officers to work in a discriminating and racist way," he added.