Israel convicts Islamic leader for inciting riots

    By IANS,

    Jerusalem : Sheik Raed Salah, a Muslim spiritual and political leader, was convicted by an Israeli court Thursday for inciting violence six years ago during a visit to the Al Aqsa Mosque here.

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    Salah attended the mosque of Al Aqsa Salah in 2007 following construction work at the nearby Mugrabim Gate, which he said ruined holy Muslim sites that are integral part of the mosque, reports Xinhua.

    According to the Jerusalem Magistrate Court, Salah gave a speech at the place and said: “The Israeli occupation will be removed, God willing, as others like it were removed in the past.”

    The speech incited riots and clashes between Palestinians and Israeli Border Police in Jerusalem, and led to the injury of three policemen, according to the court.

    The indictment also included incitement to racism, but the court acquitted Salah of this charge.

    Salah is the leader of the northern branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel. This is not the first time Salah’s Islamist and anti-occupation line put him in clash with the Israeli legal system.

    In 2010 he was sentenced to 10 months in prison on charges of rioting and assaulting a police officer. In 2003, he was convicted in a plea bargain in contacting a foreign agent and providing services to the Islamist Hamas movement.

    The northern branch of the Islamic Movement dismissed the verdict, saying Salah’s statements are not considered as incitement to violence.

    “The sheikh will continue to act against Israeli takeover of the holy site,” a spokesperson of the Islamic Movement’s northern branch said.