Not content merely to destroy mosques, the Shabak has done one better, it has imprisoned without bail yet another Israeli Palestinian imam charging him with crimes which, on the face sound grave, but which on closer examination seem less so:
Sheikh Nazem Abu Salim has allegedly used…web site and…sermons to back global jihad and declare solidarity with Al-Qaida
Israeli authorities have charged an imam from a controversial mosque in the northern city of Nazareth was charged Sunday with inciting violence against Pope Benedict…
Sheikh Nazem Abu Salim, who heads the Shihab A-Din Mosque, was arrested by police a month ago along with Mohammed Naarani, on suspicion of illegally unionizing [ed., this must be an error and probably should read “organizing”], conspiring to commit a crime and support for a terrorist organization…
The indictment said Abu Salim preached “an ideological world view identical to that of global jihad” and wrote “publications that supported and identified with the terror organization Al-Qaida”. It said Abu Salim’s teachings inspired attacks against Jews and Christians, including the murder of one Jew.
The Shabak seems unable to differentiate between an Israeli Palestinian who refuses to toe the Israeli party line and one who is truly a fomentor of terror. Abu Salim’s main threat as far as I can tell is that he is a fiery, cantankerous, even intolerant preacher who rouses his flock to resistance against both Israeli and U.S. policy in the region. He appears to be a zealous advocate for Islam, one who bears little fondness for any religion that, in his view, harms Islam. But a terrorist? Accomplice to murder? Hardly.
Here, for example is a quotation from the right-wing Maariv of statements he has allegedly made. I’m trying to do research to get the original Arabic and so do truer translations hewing to his original intent. But for now, this is what I have. In the first case, he spoke about the Pope’s visit to Nazareth:
It is true, we did not want the Pope to come here [to Nazareth]. The world-wide solution to every problem is Islam. This the imperialist Americans do not want. The Communists are gone and now they are at war with us. They seek an Islam that is weak and beholden to them as it is in America, and not true Islam…True Islam is content to live within its own faith, having mercy on the weak. But against us stands the evil global empire, America. Allah is the One who will solve our problems. There is murder against the Muslim ummah around the world–in Gaza, Afghanistan, Iraq, and more. They intentionally murder women and children. After the Gaza flotilla, Israel seeks to show the world that it is with the Christians and against the Muslims.
Maariv quotes another comment by Abu Salim on the Pope’s visit:
We are opposed to the visit by the Pope who has cursed the Prophet Muhammad, attacked Islam and approved of the slaughter in Gaza.
The prosecution claims that on his website, Muslim 48 (which Israeli authorities have taken down), he explicitly endorsed the views of Osama bin Laden. It further claims that he advocated acts of violence and that his followers committed such acts at his urging, including the murder of a taxi driver, kidnapping of a Domino’s Pizza delivery man, and cacheing of weapons for the purpose of acts of violence against “IDF soldiers, the Pope, and any target that harmed Islam.”
According to this Bar Ilan University professor publishing at News1, an Israeli right wing news portal-scandal sheet, Shabak arrested seven Israeli Palestinian youths accusing them of the crimes noted above. Several confessed to the killing and others allegedly attempted to travel to Somalia to join in global jihad. They supposedly got as far as Kenya, where authorities allegedly stopped them and returned them to Israel. All supposedly are devout followers of the Sheikh, if you believe what you read. But I think that remains to be seen and proven.
As is usual in these cases, I see lots of charges and no evidence. While I have not yet explored Abu Salim’s views in great depth, I haven’t seen any solid evidence that any of these charges are based in hard evidence. Where are the guns? Where is the proof that Abu Salim inspired anyone to kill a Jew? Where are the words of Bin Laden on the Muslim48 website (though it has been taken down I am exploring whether the site may be archived or cached somewhere online). What real violence against the Pope did he inspire?
It looks like the Shabak just got another Palestinian korban (victim) and created another martyr.