Head of the Islamic Movement’s northern branch, Sheikh Raed Salah, is in hot water once again: Salah was arrested on Tuesday for allegedly damaging and setting fire to a Eucalyptus forest in Southern Israel two weeks ago. Jerusalem police, which arrested Salah on Highway 1, suspec he took part in the arson in protest of the Jewish National Fund project’s taking place in the area. Salah was released from the Ayalon Prison in Ramla last December after spending five months behind bars for attacking a policeman.
Last June, the Jerusalem Post is carried an article titled “The Rise of Raed Salah” which profiled Salah. the leader of the Northern branch of the Islamic Movement, essentially the Israeli Muslim Brotherhood. The article begins:
Umm el-Fahm – the heartland of the Islamic Movement’s Northern Branch – was on the verge of full scale rioting in the hours after the Gaza flotilla incident. False rumors saying that its head, Sheikh Raed Salah, had died aboard the Mavi Marmara led dozens of masked youths to hurl stones at border policemen in Umm El-Fahm on May 31. “If it turns out Sheikh Salah is injured, there will be big problems here and across the Arab areas,” said Ibrahim Mahajane, a young resident of the town, as he looked at the disturbances unfolding. “Salah is our leader, not just here, but for all the Arabs in Israel.” Salah later returned to a hero’s welcome in the Galilee town, and delivered a characteristically fiery speech in which he predicted that “Zionism would end in Turkey.” Founded in 1971 by Sheikh Abdullah Nimr Darwish, the Islamic Movement has become a dominant force within the Arab community, pushing aside secular Arab nationalist movements and promoting Islamist doctrines. In 1996, the movement split into two factions over the question of whether to participate in the general elections. The result was the creation of a more moderate Southern Branch, which is represented by Arab Knesset members. The Northern Branch, under Salah’s leadership, refuses to partake in Israeli democracy.
Read the rest here.
In May 2003, Salah was arrested along with other Northern Islamic Movement officials on suspicion of transferring funds to Hamas under the pretense of humanitarian aid. He was released after two years under the terms of a plea bargain. In August 2007, Salah was indicted for “inciting racism and violence” for calling for a “third Intifada,” or uprising, to defend the mosque and in 2008 Israeli security forces raided the offices of the Islamic Movement in northern Israel accusing it of aiding Hamas. In May of this year, Salah said that Israel has a ‘diabolical plan” to cause the Al–Aqsa Mosque to collapse “in a way that would appear as is happening as a result of natural causes, such an earthquake.” A previous post discussed his conviction in January for assaulting an Israeli policeman and participating in a violent demonstration.