The Arab League has condemned strongly the British government's arrest of Sheikh Raed Salah, the prominent leader of the Islamic Movement in Israel. In a statement the League demanded the immediate release of Sheikh Salah and called for him to be treated in a manner befitting an internationally-renowned man of faith. News of his arrest, said the League, was received "with considerable shock and surprise".
Sheikh Salah was arrested despite entering the United Kingdom openly, using his own Israeli passport, and with the full knowledge of both the British and Israeli authorities. His programme of activities in Britain was publicised well in advance; the plan was to speak about the realities of the Palestine-Israel conflict to British politicians, academics and members of the public. The intention was to provide an opportunity for those in Britain to hear the Palestinian narrative for a change.
The Arab League pointed out that Sheikh Raed Salah is well known for his prominent role in the non-violent struggle to defend the Palestinian people and their rights in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories, including the inhabitants of Jerusalem who suffer under Israel's policy of systemised racial discrimination. The defence of the Holy City's Christian and Muslim sanctities is also on Sheikh Salah's agenda for peaceful change.