Israel Charges Jerusalem Religious Leader With Incitement Over Al-Aqsa Sermon

Sheikh Ismat Hammouri called on worshippers to liberate Al-Aqsa 'by arms and force'. His lawyer called the charge a 'political arrest intended to scare people away'

Nir Hasson
Nir Hasson
Sheikh Ismat Hammouri in court in Jerusalem, on Monday.
Sheikh Ismat Hammouri in court in Jerusalem, on Monday.Credit: Emil Salman
Nir Hasson
Nir Hasson

A 56-year-old Muslim leader from Jerusalem was charged with incitement Monday over a sermon he delivered last month on the Temple Mount, in which he called on a crowd of some 200 worshippers to liberate Al-Aqsa Mosque “by arms and force.”

According to the indictment, which was filed with the approval of Attorney General Gali Baharv-Miara, Sheikh Ismat Hammouri told the crowd: “There’s no other way but uniting the nations of Islam and acting decisively to liberate Al-Aqsa Mosque… The good shall return to Al-Aqsa Mosque.”

During the sermon, which lasted about 10 minutes, some worshippers chanted in support of Mohammed Deif, the commander of Hamas’ military wing.

Hammouri was arrested early last week. His lawyer, Attorney Rami Othman, called it a “political arrest intended to scare people away from Al-Aqsa Mosque.”

In a separate case, authorities arrested this week the imam of the Great Mosque in Lod, Sheikh Yusuf Albaz, who is suspected of incitement and identifying with acts of terror.

The arrest followed a speech Albaz delivered last week at a conference in his city, in which he expressed anger at Israel for interfering at Al-Aqsa Mosque and criticized the security forces’ use of weapons and stun grenades at the site.

Attorney Khaled Azbarga, who is representing Albaz, called the detention persecution. “We have a strong suspicion that behind this investigation lie extraneous and political considerations… This is a case of freedom of expression.”

During the month of Ramadan, the mosque area has been the scene of clashes between Muslim worshipers and Israeli security forces after a minority of worshipers threw stones and set off fireworks.

Click the alert icon to follow topics:

Comments

SUBSCRIBERS JOIN THE CONVERSATION FASTER

Automatic approval of subscriber comments.

Subscribe today and save 40%

Already signed up? LOG IN

ICYMI

From the cover of 'Shmutz.'

'There Are Similarities Between the Hasidic Community and Pornography’

A scene from Netflix's "RRR."

‘RRR’: If Cocaine Were a Movie, It Would Look Like This

Prime Minister Yair Lapid.

Yair Lapid's Journey: From Late-night Host to Israel's Next Prime Minister

Lake Kinneret. The high water level created lagoons at the northern end of the lake.

Lake Kinneret as You’ve Never Experienced It Before

An anti-abortion protester holds a cross in front of the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C.

Roe v. Wade: The Supreme Court Leaves a Barely United States

Yair Lapid.

Yair Lapid Is the Most Israeli of All