Israeli Islamist leader jailed for incitement
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Israeli Islamist leader jailed for incitement

Islamic Movement leader Sheikh Raed Salah given 11-month sentence for 2007 sermon promoting violence

Sheikh Raed Salah, head of the radical wing of the Islamic Movement in Israel, pictured outside Ramla prison near Tel Aviv in 2010. (Yossi Zeliger/Flash 90)
Sheikh Raed Salah, head of the radical wing of the Islamic Movement in Israel, pictured outside Ramla prison near Tel Aviv in 2010. (Yossi Zeliger/Flash 90)

An Israeli court sentenced a prominent Islamist leader to 11 months in prison for incitement to violence and racism.

Thursday’s ruling by the Jerusalem Magistrate’s court comes after Sheikh Raed Salah, the leader of the northern wing of the Islamic Movement in Israel, appealed an eight-month sentence he received last year.

The prosecution charged Salah in connection with a sermon he delivered in 2007 in Jerusalem, Army Radio reported.

“May the streets of Jerusalem be purified with the blood of the innocent, who shed it in order to separate from their souls the soldiers of the Israel occupation, also in the blessed al-Aqsa Mosque,” he said during that sermon.

Last year, the court sentenced Salah, who has multiple convictions for incitement, to eight months in prison for incitement to violence.

In that ruling, the court acquitted Salah of the added charge of incitement to racism. In ruling on the appeal on Thursday, the court reversed that finding, and added three months to his sentence for the racism charge.

Avigdor Feldman, Salah’s lawyer, told Army Radio that Salah’s statements were “dwarfed” by by those made during the recent elections by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, “who refer to Israeli Arabs as a fifth column and their vote as a threat.”

During the 2007 sermon, Salah also said: “Our finest moment will be when we meet Allah as martyrs in al-Aqsa.” A crowd of Palestinian men confronted Border Police troops at the end of that sermon, wounding three of them.

Israel’s General Security Service has accused Salah’s movement of collaborating with Hamas.

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