Photo Credit: Stay Human via Wikimedia
Raed Salah

Police arrested the head of the northern branch of the Islamic Movement Sheikh Raed Salah, overnight Tuesday, on suspicion of incitement to violence and terrorism and of illegal organizing. Police raided Salah’s home, confiscating two computers. Salah was brought to a remand hearing at noon, Tuesday, at the Magistrate’s Court in Rishon Letzion.

Born in Umm al-Fahm, Israel, where he was elected mayor three times, Raed Salah Abu Shakra Salah was convicted by Israel of funding Hamas, and of having contact with an Iranian intelligence agent. He served a two-year sentence from 2003 to 2005, after which he was released under a deal that barred him from traveling abroad and required him to check in with an officer every month.

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In 2013 Salah was tried for incitement to violence and to racism following remarks he had made in 2007. He was convicted of incitement to violence by the Jerusalem Magistrates’ Court, but acquitted of incitement to racism.

To be specific, Salah stated in that 2007 speech: “We [Muslims] have never allowed ourselves to knead [the dough for] the bread that breaks the fast in the holy month of Ramadan with children’s blood. Whoever wants a more thorough explanation, let him ask what used to happen to some children in Europe, whose blood was mixed in with the dough of the [Jewish] holy bread.”

The Israeli Prosecution appealed Salah’s acquittal on the racism charge and a District Court overturned it in November 2011, finding Salah guilty of incitement to racism for his ‘blood libel’ comments.

In April 2014, Salah was convicted of obstructing a police search of his wife at a border crossing three years before. He was released in January, after serving nine months in prison. His newest arraignment is over police charges that prison had not had the desired correctional influence on him, and that he took up his vile anti-Semitic vitriol practically as soon as he had walked out of the prison gates.

In 2015, Prime Minister Netanyahu’s Political-Security Cabinet declared the northern branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel an unlawful association. Most of the movement’s institutions, including associations and civic organizations, were shut down. Any person belonging to this organization and any person who gives or operates a service within the organization, commits a criminal offense and may be subject to imprisonment. In addition, all the property belonging to the organization was confiscated.

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