JERUSALEM - Agence France-Presse
Israeli lawmaker Michael Ben Ari speaks in front of police officers during a rally by Jewish ultranationalists in Nazareth, Israel's largest Arab town, calling to draft Israeli Arabs July 15, 2012. REUTERS photo
A court in the northern Israeli city of Nazareth has sentenced a local imam to three years in prison for incitement and supporting "terrorism," court documents showed.
Nazem Abu Slim, the outspoken imam of the Shihab al-Din mosque, was arrested in October 2010 on suspicion of having ties with militants and was convicted in April on charges of "incitement to violence and terror, and supporting a terror group." On Tuesday, Nazareth Magistrates Court sentenced him to three years in prison.
At the request of Abu Slim's lawyer, the jail term will begin on November 4, to enable the defence time to file an appeal.
In the April ruling, the court said Abu Slim had distributed booklets and brochures that support the global jihadist ideology and the ideology of the Al-Qaeda
group, "which does not allow its followers to remain dormant," which espoused "a call for violence and bloodshed." In June 2010, police and the Shin Bet domestic security agency arrested seven Israeli Arabs from the Nazareth area, who reportedly attended the Shihab al-Din mosque, on suspicion of planning attacks on Jews and Christians.
Nazareth has the largest concentration of Christian Arabs in Israel.
Israel's Arab citizens, nearly 20 percent of the population, are Palestinians who stayed in the Jewish state following the 1948 war that attended its creation, along with their descendants.