JERUSALEM (JTA) – An estimated 15,000 Arab-Israelis protested Israel’s outlawing of the northern branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel.
Several Arab-Israeli Knesset lawmakers and Arab leaders attended the protest Saturday in the northern Israeli town of Uhm al-Fahm.
“With our spirit and blood we shall redeem you, al-Aqsa,” the protesters chanted, according to Reuters, referring to the mosque located on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. “We will not shut up. We’re all with the Islamic Movement. Outlaw the racists.”
Israel’s Security Cabinet outlawed the Islamic Movement, a group popular with Arab citizens of Israel, last month over accusations of incitement and links to terrorism. Under the decision, any person who belongs to the organization or acts on its behalf is subject to arrest and imprisonment. Property belonging to the organization can also be seized.
The northern branch of the Islamic Movement, headed by Sheik Raad Salah, has fomented the campaign that accuses Israel of intending to harm the Al-Aqsa mosque and violating the status quo on the Temple Mount, which bars Jews from praying there. It established the network of activists called the Mourabitoun and Mourabitat to initiate provocations on the Temple Mount.
In addition, the organization is a sister movement of Hamas, which Israel and the United States label as a terrorist group, and is a branch of the Muslim Brotherhood.