Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The arrest of Sheikh Raed Salah (Jonathan Cook//Victoria Brittain)

Found Cook's at War in Context dot org here

Quote from Jonathan Cook's article on Sheikh Salah for 5th July:

"Many Palestinians, like millions of Muslims in the Middle East, revere Sheikh Salah for his campaign to protect Muslim and Christian holy places from Israel’s neglectful, and more often abusive, policies."

Here is condensed version of Cook's:

...The raid on his hotel, from which he was taken handcuffed to a police cell, came shortly before he was due to address a meeting in the British parliament attended by several MPs. The outcry in Britain against Sheikh Salah has shocked Israel’s 1.3-million Palestinian citizens. For them, he is a spiritual leader and head of a respected party, the Islamic Movement. He is also admired by the wider Palestinian public. The secular Fatah movement, including Salam Fayyad, the Palestinian Authority’s prime minister, were among those condemning his arrest. Many Palestinians, like millions of Muslims in the Middle East, revere Sheikh Salah for his campaign to protect Muslim and Christian holy places from Israel’s neglectful, and more often abusive, policies...True, he is generally loathed by Israeli Jews, but chiefly because they regard his brand of Islamic dogma as incompatible with the state ideology of Jewish supremacism. They fear him as the leader of a local Islam that refuses to be tamed. Those Israelis who conclude that this qualifies him as an anti-Semite do so only because they class all pious Muslims in the same category...


Feature Cage Prisoners
Written by Victoria Brittain
Wednesday, 29 June 2011 (just now being reposted to wider groups via Cage Prisoners & Others)

The arrest late on Tuesday night in London of Sheikh Raed Salah is a very strange business. The political leader of the Islamic Movement in Israel, who has three times been elected as Mayor of his town, Umm al Fahm, has visited Britain without problems before, and his programme this time – including two engagements in the House of Commons - was public knowledge well before his arrival. No objection was made by any UK government agency.

Sheikh Salah entered Britain last weekend entirely openly and legally on an Israeli passport. Now suddenly, the government apparently believes that the Sheikh’s deportation would be “conducive to the public good.” He is now in a detention centre pending legal moves, instead of spending Wednesday evening addressing a large public meeting in the House of Commons.

This arrest follows a virulent and libellous media campaign against his announced visit. He was branded as anti-Semitic and this resulted in the cancelling of one of his public lectures by Queen Mary College, part of London University.

Sheikh Salah disputes all the charges made against him, in particular by the website Harry’s Place which was the source of material for others. Lawyers for him began proceedings against two journalists from the Daily Telegraph and Jewish Chronicle last Friday – two days before his arrival. Curiously the Daily Mail was alone in reporting his arrest during the night.

On Monday afternoon Raed Salah spoke to a meeting in the House of Commons in which he gave a low key detailed analysis of the situation in the Occupied Territories and for Palestinians like him who live inside Israel. He also answered questions about the impact of the Arab Spring on Israel and on Palestine, and about the possible declaration of a Palestinian state at the United Nations in September. All these are issues constantly discussed in specialist circles in Britain No one present at his academic-style presentation would have recognised the person caricatured in much of the media.

He also spoke to a large meeting Conway Hall in London on Monday night (where the Evening Standard alleged he failed to appear), and on Tuesday he spoke in Leicester.

We have freedom of speech in this country. And given the poor record of current and past governments in doing anything to bring peace to the Middle East, it is surely absurd and counter-productive to ban a much respected and much elected leader from speaking to us, as an expert about his own country.
Sheikh Salah has told his lawyers he would welcome a court case fighting his deportation. Such a case, as well as the defamation case already begun, would give people in Britain a valuable opportunity to hear for themselves and judge what kind of man our government has tried to stop us hearing from.

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