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Friday, February 16, 2007 

Scum-watch: "The Investigator" returns.

The Sun's "Investigator" is back doing his dirty work. After previously outting "paedophiles", he's today turned his attention to the current employment of Omar Khayam, who you might remember was last year returned to prison after he took part in the Danish cartoons protest wearing a faux "suicide bomber vest":

A MUSLIM fanatic who dressed as a suicide bomber at a rally threatening terror attacks has got a job on TRAINS.

Sick Omar Khayam cleans carriages unsupervised for rail giant First Group.

And he has even got keys to onboard electrical cupboards.

Holy god, really? Are we all going to die? Probably not. Here's some background from back then:

Asif Nadim, the chairman of Khayam's local mosque in Bedford, the Jamia Masjid Gulshani Baghdad, said Khayam was a "bit of an idiot" whose protest had offended everyone, including fellow Muslims. But he claimed the story had been blown up out of all proportion with the dredging up of the drugs offence committed when Khayam was 16 (The Observer article says 18). Khayam was caught when he threw a 2oz bag of crack cocaine from a car window to try to avoid detection. He got eight years in 2002 for possession of a class A drug with intent to supply and a fine for having a small amount of heroin, but his sentence was cut to five-and-a-half years on appeal.

The guy then got a ridiculously harsh sentence for something done when he was still a teenager. Prison doesn't seem to have beaten any sense into his head, judging by his attendance of the protest, but there's very little to suggest that Khayam is any way an "extremist", just a little wet between the ears and easily led. The Observer tracked down Khayam's father in Pakistan, who certainly wasn't convinced of his son's extremism:

Some reports suggest Khayam was drawn to radical Islam during his three-year jail spell, which ended with his release on licence last year. His brother, who describes Khayam as a 'moderate Muslim', denies the charge.

'He said that when there's a 23-hour lock-up, you have to make the most of the one hour you have free. He tried the gym at first, then he paid more frequent visits to the mosque.' His father interjected. 'From a religious point of view, he stayed the same. Prison had no influence on him.'

After being released last year Khayam started a bricklaying course and helped out with the family computer business in Bedford. Then came the Danish embassy protest and the suicide-bomber outfit.

The Daily Mirror did publish an article which claimed that he had became increasingly radicalised in prison, but it appears to be no longer available. His brother also rejected this:

In jail Omar got a job as a chef, Nazish says, and became popular for his fine South Asian cooking. 'Usually during Ramadan [the Muslim holy month of fasting] they just have a sandwich and an apple. When Omar arrived everything changed. He cooked chicken and meat biryanis, kormas, jalfrezis - everything you would find in a good restaurant. There were more converts to Islam in the prison than ever before. Then there was a ban on converting because they know most of the guys were doing it for the food.'

Anyway, back to the Scum:

Furious train drivers last night claimed the safety of staff and passengers is being put at risk.

One driver added: “It’s an astonishing security breach.

“We cannot believe this man is employed in a job giving him access to locked places on trains where bombs could be hidden and never be found.

“He has keys that could be passed on to others for the electrical cupboards in carriages. It is a risk too far.”

They're right to be concerned, but as ever, if these are actually drivers and not inventions of "The Investigator" then they ought to have taken their concerns to their superiors rather than splashing Khayam all over the national press again. He appears to have been trying to get on with his life, and seems to have picked the wrong job. As the First Group spokesman says:

“We are subject to UK employment law and carry out all necessary employment checks. The safety of customers and employees is our main priority.”

They would have known full well about Khayam's criminal record, and also more than likely about his idiotic and offensive protest. If he was a real threat, then they would have rejected his application, especially considering the heightened nature of the threat from extremists towards public transport. Khayam, like others confronted by the Sun, didn't do much towards his cause with his response:

“So what? I’ve not committed a crime. If there is a concern, that’s what the police are there for. That’s what security services are for.”

True, but if he'd explained that he was neither an extremist or any threat in a rational manner, he'd have at least not looked so quick to anger. Either way, one expects that Khayam will shortly be losing his job. I'm inclined to (almost) agree with the one sane voice on MyScum, who says:

with all the nonsense this paper publishes the link between the fanatic Madrid train track bombers and this guys radical views and job are far too serious to brush under the carpet, this man must be removed from this sensitive position and regardless of what discrimination this guy would decide to claim he would only have his past actions to blame for unnerving the public confidence in his position.

As usual, my objection is more to the Sun's journalism than the actual facts presented.

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