Sheikh Raed Salah
Sheikh Raed SalahFlash 90

Senior Israeli Muslim cleric Sheikh Raad Salah, head of the northern branch of the Islamic Movement, was convicted Thursday of rioting and prevent a peace officer from performing his job.

According to the charges against Salah, he attempted to enter Israel on April 17, 2011 via the Allenby Crossing from Jordan, together with his wife. Female officials asked her to accompany them to a closed area so they could do a body search, but she refused, and Salah began shouting and shoving officials.

He was eventually restrained by officers but broke free from their hold and attempted to charge into the room where his wife was being questioned. Salah was then detained and charged.

The judge said he took into account that Salah's "religious beliefs" led him to fear his "honor could be compromised" which evoked "strong emotions, that affected his actions". But he added that "the defendant knowingly executed a series of deeds aimed at interrupting the police and thwarting their act of searching" his wife.

Sentencing will take place at a future hearing, the Jerusalem Civil Court said.

Salah, an Israeli citizen, has been in and out of Israeli courtrooms and prisons for many years. He was convicted of providing funding to Hamas, and of having contact with an Iranian intelligence agent.

He served a two-year sentence from 2003 to 2005.

He was also arrested for incitement several times, including one arrest in 2007 when he accused Jews of using Muslim blood to bake Passover Matzahs. In 2010, he was arrested for aiding a terrorist who fired at IDF troops on the Gaza flotilla ship Mavi Marmara.