Bedouin Teacher Gets Nine Months for Supporting ISIS in Class

Bashir Abu Alkian, 25, played an Islamic State song to his students and sang the group's praises to fellow residents in Hura.

An Islamic State fighter celebrates in Mosul on June 23, 2014.
Reuters

A Bedouin teacher who voiced support for the Islamic State, both in the classroom and on social media sites, was sentenced to nine months in prison on Tuesday.

Bashir Abu Alkian, 25, had been arrested along with five other members of his clan – all residents of the Negev Bedouin town of Hura. But his attorney, Michal Pomerantz, later struck a plea bargain with the prosecution.

Under the deal, Abu Alkian confessed that in 2014 and 2015, he met with other residents of Hura to speak with them about Islamic State’s worldview and the rightness of its path. He also played a song for his students that was produced by ISIS and contained religious content.

The Bedouin village of Hura, in the Negev.
Eliyahu Hershkovitz

In March 2015, after relatives and friends urged him to stop such activities lest he lose his job, Abu Alkian erased all the pro-Islamic State content he had posted on his Facebook page and other Web platforms.

The prosecution sought a sentence of two to three years in jail, but Pomerantz argued that Abu Alkian’s crimes weren’t that serious, especially since some of the things he posted on social media were merely comments on content produced by others, rather than content he created himself.

Be’er Sheva District Court Judge Eliahu Bitan sided with Pomerantz, saying the proper punishment would be somewhere between community service and 18 months in jail. He ultimately decided on nine months.

Last week, Issa Abu Alkian was sentenced to three years in jail for attempting to go to Syria to join ISIS. And earlier this month, Mohammed Abu Alkian was sentenced to four years for trying to join the fighting in Syria.