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Middle East
Profile: Islamic Movement in Israel
Group advocates Islam among Palestinian-Israelis in the occupied territories.
Last Modified: 27 Oct 2010 15:11 GMT
Salah was arrested for his role in the Gaza aid flotilla that was raided by Israeli forces in May [GALLO/GETTY]

The Islamic Movement in Israel was founded by Abdullah Nimar Darwish in 1971 with the aim of advocating Islam among Palestinian-Israelis.

It operates on three levels: religious [Islamic education, religious service], social [welfare services] and nationalistic [opposition to the state of Israel and support for Palestinian nationalism].

During the 1970s the movement largely focused on establishing welfare services for the Muslim community parallel to those of the state.

Among its activities were provision of computers to schools, the establishment of an Islamic football league, marriage arrangement, charity and more.

The groups' ideology is closely related to that of its mother organisation - the Muslim Brotherhood.

The differences that exist in ideology between the Islamic Movement and the Muslim Brotherhood are largely the result of the circumstances in which the former operates - namely, that the movement exists within a country who many observers feel treat the indigenous Palestinians living in Israel as an immigrant population.

The general aims of the movement are to encourage observance of Islamic law, cultivate Islamic culture and Islamic education and to carry out social welfare programmes.

Actions include the protection and cultivation of Islamic holy sites and assistance to Palestinians in the occupied territories.

The movement is split into two branches. Contrasts between the branches are mostly in relation to the state of Israel, while differences on other issues are largely negligible.

The northern branch does not recognise the state of Israel's right to exist, with the ultimate goal of it being replaced by an Islamic state.

Neither does the southern branch recognise Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state, but they exhibit readiness to take part in the political process and influence decision-making from within the framework of the state's institutions.

The movement is led by Sheikh Raed Salah, a resident of Umm al-Fahm.

The northern town was the scene of demonstrations on October 27 when members of Our Land of Israel, a right-wing Jewish group, called for the movement to be made illegal.

Salah says Israel endangers Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem.

In 2007, he was jailed by an Israeli court for disorderly conduct and assault after scuffles with police who confronted protesters during engineering work near at Jerusalem's al-Aqsa mosque, Islam's third holiest site.

Salah was arrested on June 1 for his role in participating in the Gaza aid flotilla, which was raided by Israeli forces as it tried to bring humanitarian supplies to the blockaded Gaza Strip in May.

Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
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