Raed Salah

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Raed Salah

Raed Salah Abu Shakra (Arabic: رائد صلاح‎, Hebrew: ראאד סלאח‎; born 1958) is the leader of the northern branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel. He was born in Umm al-Fahm, Israel, and was elected as the mayor of that city three times: in 1989, 1993 and 1997.[1] He has eight children and is a former poet.[2]

He was convicted in Israel of funding Hamas, and of having contact with an Iranian intelligence agent; he served a two-year sentence from 2003 to 2005.[2][3] In 2010, he served a five-month sentence after being convicted of assaulting a police officer and leading a violent demonstration.[4]

In 2011, Salah entered the United Kingdom but it was then found that he had been banned a few hours previously. He was arrested but his ban was overturned by an immigration court.[3][5]


Criticism of Israeli policy[edit]

On May 24, 2011, Salah addressed an audience of Arab-Israeli students from Tel Aviv University, where he reiterated his anti-occupation position stating: "We must keep fighting until we remove the Israeli occupation and free the holy Jerusalem."[6]

Activism in Jerusalem[edit]

On February 28, 2007, Israeli police prevented Christian and Muslim leaders from holding a meeting and press conference organized by Salah in Jerusalem to put forward their opposition to Israeli excavation work being carried out near the Al-Aqsa Mosque complex, the Temple Mount and known to in Arabic (and in Islam) as the Haram al-Sharif.[7] Police claimed that the organization behind the event, the al-Aqsa Foundation, was affiliated with Hamas.[7] When the event was moved to another hotel after receiving a cancellation order, Israeli police moved in and broke up the meeting.[7] Salah told The Guardian newspaper that this "childish behavior" on the part of Israeli security forces "...does not protect security. It actually makes the security situation explosive."[7]

In 2010, Salah was arrested for allegedly attacking a policeman in the Old City of Jerusalem during the 2007 protests. He was convicted and served a five-month prison sentence. When he was released he said: "We continue our activities fearlessly until we fulfill our aspirations."[3][8] Salah was acquitted by an Israeli court on charges of rioting and "involvement in an illegal gathering" in connection with the 2007 protest, a judge ruling that the charges, brought by police, were "inconsistent with witness testimony and video evidence produced by the defence".[9]

On October 2, 2009, Salah gave a speech which was branded "incitement" by police. Arab riots over the Temple Mount were taking place in Jerusalem and surrounding villages, and police claimed that he had incited rioters to violence. On October 6, 2009, Salah was arrested in Wadi al-Joz. Following a remand hearing before the Jerusalem Magistrate's Court, Salah was released hours later, but was banned from entering Jerusalem for thirty days. Judge Shimon Feinberg argued that there was good reason to suspect Salah as a dangerous body, and that his presence in Jerusalem "could be inciting".[10][11]

Involvement with 2010 Gaza flotilla[edit]

Main article: Gaza flotilla raid

Salah participated in the 2010 Gaza Freedom Flotilla, a flotilla carrying 10,000 tonnes of aid to the Gaza Strip, with the aim of breaking Israel's blockade. Salah was on the Mavi Marmara, the lead ship in the convoy. On 31 May 2010, the flotilla was intercepted and the Mavi Marmara was boarded by the Israeli Navy, and activists on the Mavi Marmara attacked the Israeli commandos with iron bars cut from the ship's railings. In the subsequent clash, nine activists were killed and dozens injured. Seven Israeli naval commandos were also injured. An Israeli Police source told the Jerusalem Post that Salah tried to provide cover for an activist who shot at naval commandos during the raid, but that the gunman had already been hit. Early Palestinian reports claimed that Salah had been critically injured by a gunshot wound to the head. The Israeli Foreign Ministry, dismissed the reports as "rumors" and claimed that Salah was not seriously hurt, but suffered minor injuries.[12] He was removed from the ship and taken to Ashdod, and questioned.[13]

Salah along with the head of the Islamic Movement's southern branch, Hamad Abu Daa'bas, was relocated to the Ela Prison in Beersheba to await a hearing before the Ashkelon Magistrate's Court on their involvement with the flotilla.[14] On June 6, Salah was released on NIS 150,000 bail, but placed under house arrest and temporarily barred from leaving Israel.[15] Hours after he was released, Salah gave a speech in Umm al-Fahm, during which he claimed that Zionism "which began in Turkey, would end in Turkey".[16]

Arrests and imprisonments[edit]

Alleged Hamas fundraising and 2003 conviction[edit]

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,[2][3] 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.[3]

Salah said the charges against him were a "mockery".[2] The 2004 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices reported that human rights non-governmental organizations stated that Salah had been "unfairly denied bail despite his status and community ties."[17] Jonathan Cook, writing in Al-Ahram Weekly, stated that while Salah and four other party leaders stood trial on serious charges of aiding and abetting a "terror organization", the Israeli police said the accusations revolved primarily around money laundering,[18] and that for eighteen months prior to his arrest in 2003, Salah was barred from leaving Israel.[18] According to Cook, the newspaper produced by the northern branch of the Islamic Movement was shut down and charities he had founded were closed,[18] and since the election of Ariel Sharon, the Shin Bet had been monitoring and taping phone calls made by Salah and his officials, and intercepting e-mails as well.[18] Cook cited rumors that over 200,000 recordings were awaiting translation from Arabic to Hebrew to prepare for his trial.[18]

2011 arrest in the United Kingdom[edit]

On Tuesday, June 28, 2011 after entering the country and making an appearance at a meeting in Leicester, Salah was detained in London.[19] He had been due to attend a Palestine Solidarity Campaign meeting in the House of Commons on the following evening, attended by Labour MPs Jeremy Corbyn, Yasmin Qureshi and Richard Burden.[20] His request to be released on bail while awaiting the outcome of court proceedings despite the Home Office Secretary's decision to bar him from the country was granted on Friday, July 15.[21][22] He was released on Monday, July 18,[22] under strict conditions that include wearing an electronic tag, observing a night-time curfew, reporting to immigration officials, refraining from public-speaking and staying at the home of a friend.[23]

Palestinians in the United Kingdom, Israel and the Palestinian territories accused the Israeli government of being behind the arrest. In a statement, Home Secretary Theresa May said, "I will seek to exclude an individual if I consider that his or her presence in the UK is not conducive to the public good, and the government makes no apologies for refusing people access to the UK if we believe that they might seek to undermine our society. Coming here is a privilege that we refuse to extend to those who seek to subvert our shared values."[24]

Fatah spokesman, Ousama al Qawasami, has said that the arrest of Sheikh Raed Salah in Britain will give Israel the green light on detention and deportation and is a decision in identification and congruity with Israeli policies of racial discrimination against Palestinians.[25][26]

A judicial review of Britain's June arrest took place on September 30, 2011; the English High Court ruled that Salah was entitled to damages due to "wrongful detention". In response, Theresa May sought to ban Salah; a series of emails obtained reveal her correspondence with the Community Security Trust (CST),[27] who consider Salah to be an anti-Semite.[28] On October 26 an immigration tribunal concluded that May had been justified in her position. The tribunal stated that it is "satisfied that the appellant has engaged in the unacceptable behaviour of fostering hatred which might lead to intercommunity violence in the UK. We are satisfied that the appellant's words and actions tend to be inflammatory, divisive, insulting and likely to foment tension and radicalism."[29]

Salah successfully appealed the decision when a tribunal ruled that the grounds for expelling him or denying him freedom of speech in Britain were too weak and that there was no reason to believe he was a danger to British society.[30]

Later criminal convictions[edit]

In 2013, Raed Salah was tried for incitement to violence and incitement to racism over his remarks in 2007 at Wadi Joz (see above). He was convicted of incitement to violence by the Jerusalem Magistrates' Court, but initially acquitted of incitement to racism.,[31] and sentenced to eight months in prison.[32] Israeli prosecutors appealed Salah's acquittal on the racism charge to the Jerusalem District Court. The District Court overturned the earlier acquittal in November 2011, finding Salah guilty of incitement to racism for his 'blood libel' comments.[33]

In April 2014, Salah was convicted of obstructing the police over obstructing a police search of his wife at a border crossing three years prior[34]

Controversial statements[edit]

Allegations of hate speech and antisemitism[edit]

According to reports, during a protest speech in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Wadi al-Joz on February 16, 2007, Salah accused Jews of using children's blood to bake bread. Israeli newspapers at the time quoted him as saying:

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.[3][35]

Salah denied that this was intended literally to repeat a blood libel,[36] He was charged with inciting violence and racism, and was initially acquitted but later convicted on appeal.[3][37]

On October 5, 2011, Salah published an article in Sawt al-Haq w’al-Huriyya asserting that the 'unique mover' (al muharraq al awhad) behind the Twin Towers attack had issued a prior warning to 4,000 Jews not to turn up to work on the day of the assault.[38][39] In the same article he invoked the purported Franklin Prophecy.[39]

Recent statements[edit]

In a speech broadcast on Al Jazeera on September 21, 2012, Salah stated (as translated by MEMRI) "you haters, you midgets, you little insolent people – whether in America, in France, or in Denmark. ... You are slaves to global Zionism ... to Protestant Zionism ... to the Crusader hatred. You should know that we are coming to you with the compassion of Islam to deliver you from the ignominy of your slavery" which he explained was "the subjugation of your minds to the enterprise of Theodor Herzl and David Ben Gurion."[40]

In his November 7, 2014 sermon in Nazareth, Salah said "Inshallah, Jerusalem will soon become the capital of the global caliphate."[41]


  1. ^ http://www.middleeastmonitor.org.uk/resources/fact-sheets/1082-shaikh-raed-salah-profile
  2. ^ a b c d Ilene R. Prusher (2006-10-26). "Israeli Arab's Rising Voice of Opposition". The Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved 2007-05-06. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g "Banned hate preacher who strolled through Heathrow is arrested... and he WILL be deported says Home Secretary", Daily Mail, 29-06-2011
  4. ^ "Israel frees radical Muslim leader", MSNBC 12-12-2011
  5. ^ "Banned activist Sheikh Raed Salah wins in detention case". BBC News. September 30, 2011. 
  6. ^ http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4073212,00.html
  7. ^ a b c d "Israeli officers kill Islamic Jihad leaders". London: Guardian Unlimited. 2007-02-28. Retrieved 2007-05-06. 
  8. ^ Hassan Shaalan (2010-12-12). "Sheikh Salah released from jail". Ynetnews. Retrieved 2010-12-12. 
  9. ^ "Israeli court acquits Raed Salah". Al-Jazeera. 11 May 2010. Retrieved 6 July 2011. 
  10. ^ http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3786528,00.html
  11. ^ http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3786593,00.html
  12. ^ "Israel says Sheikh Salah in 'good health'". Ma'an News Agency. 2010-06-01.
  13. ^ "Police interrogate Islamic Movement chief Sheikh Raed Salah over role in Gaza flotilla clashes", Haaretz, Eli Ashkenazi, Jack Khoury and Liel Kyzer, 01.06.10
  14. ^ Sheikh Raed Salah faces court hearing. Ynetnews. 2010-06-01.
  15. ^ "Islamic Movement chief involved in Gaza flotilla released to house arrest, barred from leaving Israel", Haaretz, Jack Khoury, 03.06.10
  16. ^ "Salah: Zionism began in Turkey, will end there". Jerusalem Post. April 6, 2010. Retrieved October 30, 2010. 
  17. ^ "Israel and the occupied territories". United States Department of State. 28 February 2005. Retrieved 4 January 2014. 
  18. ^ a b c d e Jonathan Cook (2003-11-19). "Matrix Reloaded — Yet Again". Al-Ahram Weekly. Retrieved 2007-05-06. 
  19. ^ http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/islamic-movement-leader-in-israel-arrested-in-london-1.370246
  20. ^ Travis, Alan (June 29, 2011). "Leading Palestinian activist arrested in London". The Guardian (London). 
  21. ^ http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5irUBcEdp4VJRSHBegBPWCKPtxrxw?docId=CNG.887f499000e6a91584af43f31977bd2a.1b1
  22. ^ a b Detained Palestinian Islamic leader to be freed on bail
  23. ^ "U.K. court outlines terms for release of Israel's Islamic Movement leader", Haaretz.
  24. ^ http://www.jpost.com/International/Article.aspx?id=227131
  25. ^ http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4088649,00.html
  26. ^ http://www.middleeastmonitor.org.uk/resources/documents/2618-statements-of-support-for-sheikh-raed-salah-from-the-international-community
  27. ^ Hearst, David (2011-09-26). "May warned of weak case against Sheikh Raed Salah". Guardian (London). Retrieved 2011-10-08. 
  28. ^ Marcus Dysch, "Shambles: the Raed Salah case", The Jewish Chronicle, 21 July 2011
  29. ^ Whitehead, Tom (October 26, 2011). "Banned preacher can be removed says tribunal". Daily Telegraph (London). Retrieved October 30, 2011. 
  30. ^ Anshel Pfeffer (12 April 2012). "U.K. Jewish group should remember that anti-Semites have rights too". Haaretz (Tel Aviv). Retrieved 14 April 2012. 
  31. ^ Haaretz
  32. ^ Jerusalem Post
  33. ^ [1] Jerusalem Post
  34. ^ Haaretz
  35. ^ "Islamic Movement head charged with incitement to racism, violence", Haaretz, January 29, 2008.
  36. ^ https://www.judiciary.gov.uk/judgments/ait-decision-mahajna/
  37. ^ Jerusalem Post
  38. ^ "Raed Salah's original 9/11 conspiracy article on Jews and the Twin Towers". Daily Telegraph. 2011-07-08. Retrieved 2015-08-19. 
  39. ^ a b "From the MEMRI Archives: Raed Salah, Head of Northern Branch of Islamic Movement in Israel, Espouses Antisemitic Conspiracy Theories About 9/11, Nazi Propaganda". Translation of the Sawt al-Haq article by Middle East Media Research Institute. 2011-07-08. Retrieved 2015-08-19. 
  40. ^ Leader of the Islamic Movement in Israel Raed Sallah: Islam Will Save the West from Slavery to Global Zionism and Crusader Hatred, MEMRITV, Clip No. 3602 (transcript), September 21, 2012.
  41. ^ "WATCH: Israeli sheikh says Jerusalem will soon become capital of global caliphate". Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 9 November 2014. 

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