Freedom of Speech or Incitement?

Haifa University said it could not legally prevent Muslim radical Sheik Salah from preaching against Israel. Jews were barred for fear of violence.

Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu and Avraham Zuroff,

Sheikh Raad Salah
Sheikh Raad Salah
Israel news photo: Flash 90

The head of the radical Islamic Movement's northern branch told some 200 Arab students at Haifa University on Wednesday that Israel is tunneling underneath the Temple Mount in order to build the Third Temple.

The claim is not new, but Haifa University officials said Thursday they could not prevent Sheikh Ra'ad Salah from repeating the charges.

Salah added, “We welcome death” rather than “give up our principles and holy sites.”

The university had fought for several weeks against his appearing but legally could not stop him from speaking, a university spokeswoman said. "The university does not accept what he speaks for,” she stated.

Jews were barred from the auditorium where he spoke, as a measure to prevent violence. The spokeswoman added that the Islamic Movement student group that invited Salah took responsibility for keeping out protestors without the need to ask for identity cards.

Approximately 150 students demonstrated outside the building while security officers kept them away from the Arab group. The spokeswoman noted that Jewish reporters and officials of the university were present at the speech.

Salah was indicted in January for incitement and making racist statements during a speech given last year in protest of repairs to the Rambam (Mughrabi) gate near the Temple Mount. In a speech given in Wadi Joz in February of 2007, Salah accused Israelis of murdering Arabs, and said that the honors given to IDF captains were “made from the skulls of our martyrs.” Salah also implied that Jews in Europe had used the blood of non-Jewish children to bake “holy bread,” and that Jews in Israel did the same.

Minister of Education Gideon Sa'ar said he intends to file a complaint to the Higher Education Council about Salah’s remarks to Muslim students. While protestors outside chanted, “This is not Tehran,” Muslim students inside yelled “Allah Hu Akbar” (Allah is great) and “With our soul and our blood we will free you, Aksa!”