Israel's Islamic Movement Leader to Remain in Britain Despite Attempts to Deport Him

U.K. Home Secretary Theresa May challenges Sheikh Ra'ad Salah’s release, arguing that her office has 'strong reasons' to believe he should be in detention.

Sheikh Ra'ad Salah, leader of the northern branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel, will remain free on conditional bail in Britain, a court of appeals ruled Wednesday, despite requests by the Home Office for him to be detained or deported.

Salah entered Britain last month in order to give a series of talks, despite a government ban on his entry. However, on June 28, after attending a meeting in Leicester he was detained on his return to London.

Sheikh Raed Salah, head of the Islamic Movement's northern branch
Sheikh R'ad Salah, head of the Islamic Movement's northern branch, during questioning by police June 1, 2010.Tess Scheflan

On July 15, the High Court approved bail for Salah on a guarantee of £30,000 on condition that he report to police every day, refrain from preaching, live at a specific address and obey a curfew.

Home Secretary Theresa May then challenged the ruling, arguing that her office had “strong reasons" to believe Salah should be "in detention".

"The secretary of state took the view, and still takes the view, that individuals such as (Salah), who are well-known, are capable of inciting violence simply by their presence in the U.K.,” Robert Kellar, representing May, told the court.

"The secretary of state's position is that (Salah's) presence in the U.K. is not conducive to the public good - not just for what he says but what he stands for."

But the judge denied the arguments, and said Salah would be free on bail until his case was reviewed in September. If that review failed, the court added, Salah would indeed be returned to detention.

Sheikh Salah’s solicitor, Tayab Ali, said: “We trust that, following today’s decision, the Home Secretary will accept that her approach to Sheikh Salah’s case has been misconceived and counter-productive.”