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Israeli security forces "control the appointment of imams in Israel"

February 27, 2014 at 10:28 am

The appointment of imams of mosques inside Israel is controlled by the Israeli internal security service. That is the claim made in the Israeli media, referring to Shin Bet’s alleged determination of the appropriate candidates for the positions.

According to Haaretz newspaper, “[Israel’s] Interior Ministry employs 60 people whose job is to keep an eye on Muslim clergymen.” This team gathers information “about the family life and ethical behaviour” of the candidates before their appointment. A Shin Bet spokesperson told Haaretz that the agency “passes on relevant information [to the Interior Ministry and other governmental bodies that request information] without regard to religion or nationality.”

Sheikh Ahmad Abu Ajwa filed a lawsuit recently against the Interior Ministry, which rejected his appointment as imam of the Jabalya mosque in the city of Jaffa. The ministry’s decision was, apparently, based on a Shin Bet report claiming that the Sheikh constitutes “a danger to the peace and security of the public in Jaffa”, given his involvement in “incitement against the state and its Jewish citizens”.