Islamic Movement Leader in Israel Arrested in London

Head of northern branch of Islamic Movement in Israel, Sheikh Ra'ad Salah, expected to be deported from U.K.; reason for arrest unknown.

The head of the northern branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel, Sheikh Ra'ad Salah, was arrested in London on Tuesday evening. The sheikh spent the night in a prison cell, and is expected to be deported from the U.K.

Zahi Nujeidat, spokesperson for the northern branch of the movement, told Haaretz Wednesday morning that Salah was arrested at the hotel where he was staying after a speaking engagement in the U.K. city of Leicester.

Tess Scheflan

Nujeidat said that there is no explanation for the Islamic leaders arrest, but he believes that it is largely due to the Zionist lobby and members of the British Jewish community.

The movements spokesman claimed that community members pressured government officials not to allow Salah into London for a speaking tour.

There is no doubt that this is due to the Zionist lobby, and there is no legal or lawful reason for his arrest. We are following the developments in the coming hours, and have sent a lawyer to represent the sheik, the groups spokesman said.

Nujeidat added that based on the movements assessment of the situation, British authorities will request the sheiks extradition, because there is no real reason for the arrest.

Salah was released from an Israeli prison last December after a five-month incarceration for insulting and attacking a police officer near the Temple Mount in February of 2007. The sheik was attending a rally held by the Islamic movement to protest repairs being done on the Mugrabi Gate.

Salah was initially sentenced to nine months in prison, but an appeal to the district court granted him a shortened sentence of five months.