Loyal citizens?
20,000 Arab citizens rally for Islamic Movement

Top Arab leaders, MKs speak at massive rally against outlawing Hamas-backed radical group, proving poll that 57% back movement.

Ari Yashar ,

Islamic Movement in Israel protest (file)
Islamic Movement in Israel protest (file)
Flash 90

No less than 20,000 Arab citizens of Israel embarked on a massive protest march on Saturday against the decision to outlaw the Islamic Movement in Israel, a radical group funded by Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood.

The massive rally took place in the northern city of Umm al-Fahm, and was organized by the High Follow-up Committee for Arab Citizens of Israel. The committee's chairman ex-MK Mohammed Barakeh said the demonstration was meant to show Arab citizens won't accept the decision.

Islamic Movement head Sheikh Raed Salah, together with various MKs from the Arab Joint List party - the third largest party in the Knesset - spoke at the massive rally, which ended with two firebombs being thrown at security forces.

Salah threatened that Prime Minister Binyamin "Netanyahu is leading the Israelis to the unknown."

"The entire leadership of the Arab public opposes the outlawing of the Islamic Movement, and that is expressed in the protest today," said MK Jamal Zahalka of the Joint List.

"This is a unity protest and we won't let them isolate the Islamic Movement. Harm inflicted to the Islamic Movement is harm inflicted on the entire Arab public and it is a provocation against it," he added.

The massive outpouring provides clear illustration to a poll published two weeks ago right after the decision to outlaw the radical movement, in which 57% of the Arab citizens in Israel said the Islamic Movement faithfully represents them.

Likewise the research found that 42.2% of the Arab population including all its ethnic and religious groups define themselves as fans, members or activists of the Islamic Movement.

No less than 18.2% of Arab Muslim citizens of Israel, and 28.1% of all supporters of the Islamic Movement, said they do not consider Islamic State (ISIS) to be a radical terrorist organization, and that they are not ashamed of the brutal jihadist group.

Salah's Islamic Movement was outlawed for its long history of inciting terrorism, organizing and funding violent riots on the Temple Mount, and its close connections with Hamas.



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