Top Israeli Muslim leader detained, banned from Jerusalem

Sheikh Raed Salah, leader of Israel's Islamic Movement, was banned from Jerusalem after three days of sporadic violence. Police say they banned him on suspicion that he was inciting violence.

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Police detained a leader of Israel's Islamic Movement of the North, Sheikh Raed Salah, on Tuesday, the third consecutive day of intermittent violence in Jerusalem between Palestinians and Israeli police. Salah was arrested on charges of incitement of violence, but was released several hours later after being barred from entering Jerusalem for 30 days. Sheikh Salah's detention has provoked calls for the Islamic Movement to be banned and could therefore further stoke tensions in volatile Jerusalem.

According to Agence France-Presse, Salah was singled out for inciting clashes in recent days.

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Sheikh Raed Salah was arrested during clashes between Palestinians and police in the neighborhood of Wadi Joz in Israeli-occupied east Jerusalem on the third day of sporadic violence in and around the Holy City.
"He was arrested over his inflammatory statements in recent days and on suspicion of incitement," police spokesman Shmulik Ben-Rubi told AFP….
Salah, who has been arrested several times and spent two years in Israeli prison, has repeatedly called in recent days for Muslims in Israel and the Palestinian territories to "defend" the Al-Aqsa mosque against Israel.

Initially, Israeli police asked that Salah be remanded for another five days, reports YNet News, an English-language Israeli news website. But police agreed late Tuesday night to have Salah confined to Umm al-Fahm, a city in Haifa district where Salah previously served as mayor for 30 days.

The police argued that Salah called for a "religious war" and presented the court with confidential documents. In his verdict, Judge Shimon Feinberg said there was good reason to suspect Salah as a dangerous body.
"His presence in Jerusalem could be inciting," the judge said, and ordered he be banned from the capital for a month, under personal and third party guarantee.

Salah's detention provoked calls for the Islamic Movement of the North to be banned. According to the Jerusalem Post, National Infrastructures Minister Uzi Landau "called for the indictment of those Muslim leaders who were calling for violence and confrontation in the capital and encouraging hateful anti-Israeli sentiments, among them "[Islamic Movement northern branch leader] Sheikh Raed Salah and his ilk." In addition to Landau, Israeli Vice Prime Minister Silvan Shalom also called for the Islamic Movement to be banned, according to United Press International.

You can read more about Salah's views in this earlier Monitor interview with him.

Salah's is not the first detention in the course of recent violence in Jerusalem. The Christian Science Monitor reported that three other Palestinian leaders were arrested on Sunday.

One of the three Palestinians arrested Sunday was Khatem Abdel Khader, PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad's former advisor on Jerusalem affairs. Israeli police also arrested and are questioning Kamel Khatib, of the Islamic Movement of the North, a hard-line Islamist group that operates inside Israel. The movement's leadership regularly warns of the impending destruction of the Al Aqsa Mosque at Israeli hands.

Emotions have been at a high pitch in Jerusalem since Sunday, when clashes broke out between Arab youths and Israeli police after the authorities closed the compound of the Al-Aqsa mosque, Islam's third-holiest site, reports the BBC. On Monday, clashes continued at Al-Aqsa mosque and the police closed the mosque to male worshippers under the age of 50. At the time of Salah's arrest on Tuesday, 2,000 police officers had been deployed across Jerusalem during the Jewish festival of Sukkot, which passed peacefully.

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