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Sheikh Raed Salah (C), head of the Islamic Movement in northern Israel..(Photo by: REUTERS)
Salah evades UK ban, uses video link
Leader of the Islamic Movement’s Northern Branch in Israel apparently appears as guest speaker at a Manchester meeting of the Palestine Forum in Britain.
LONDON – Sheikh Raed Salah, the leader of the Islamic Movement’s Northern Branch in Israel who was banned from entering the UK in 2011 because of his extremist views, apparently appeared as guest speaker at a Manchester meeting of the Palestine Forum in Britain organization on Saturday by video link.

In 2007, Salah delivered a speech in Jerusalem in which he invoked anti-Semitic blood libel. He was recently convicted of racist incitement by an Israeli court, having previously been convicted of inciting violence in the same speech.

The UK’s Jewish Community Security Trust called on the government to change the banning order regulations to include the use of video links and other methods of communication in an attempt to block ways round the loopholes used by those no longer welcome in the UK.

In 2011, Salah visited Britain despite Home Secretary Theresa May’s efforts to prevent him from entering the country and then to deport him. While Salah was not deported, he had been banned from entering the country again.

Salah has said that Israel intends to destroy al-Aksa Mosque, which the CST said is “an incendiary and false claim that is fueling the current violence in Jerusalem,” and which might import these tensions to the UK since it pinpointed the conflict as one of religious claims.

In response to the rising tension in Israel, Salah earlier this month glorified “the blood of our martyrs,” calling on Muslims all over the world to lend their support.

“The issue of al-Aksa Mosque is not just an issue for individual Palestinians, Arabs, or Muslims; it is the issue of the Islamic nation, Arab world, and all of Palestine. It is a matter of our civilizational and historical right and a matter of our present and future,” he said.

Salah, with his message of incitement, hatred and religious conflict, is “the last person whose voice is needed in the UK at this moment,” a CST spokesman told The Jerusalem Post.

“If he plans to attend the Palestinian Forum in Britain event in person, we expect him to be stopped at the border. If he is due to speak by video link, then this is a loophole in the law that needs to be closed. And we call on the Palestinian Forum in Britain to think again about its choice of speaker,” he added.

A spokesman for Greater Manchester Police told the Post that they were aware of the Palestine Forum in Britain conference, but declined to comment about Salah’s reported video appearance.

Meanwhile, the Home Office said that “We do not tolerate the existence of terrorist and extremist propaganda, which directly influences people who are vulnerable to radicalization.”

“We work closely with the Internet industry to remove online terrorist material hosted in the UK or overseas, and support organizations which challenge those who use the Internet to promote their warped ideology,” it said. “The police have comprehensive powers to take action against people who spread hatred and incite violence, while the independent regulator Ofcom [Office of Communications] has a range of powers to deal with licensed broadcasters who breach the Broadcasting Code.”
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