Leading Palestinian activist Sheikh Raed Salah arrested in London, reports say

Sheikh Raed Salah is said to be banned from Britain but pro-Palestinian groups say he knew nothing about it

Press Association |guardian.co.uk, Wednesday 29 June 2011 10.17 BST

Sheikh Raed Salah, leader of the Islamic Movement in Israel, has reportedly been arrested in London

Sheikh Raed Salah, leader of the Islamic Movement in Israel, has reportedly been arrested in London under a travel ban. Photograph: Ahmad Gharabli/AFP/Getty Images

Sheikh Raed Salah, a leading Palestinian activist, has been detained in London amid reports that he is banned from the UK

Salah, the leader of the Islamic Movement in Israel, was detained on Tuesday night by police, the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) said.

Sarah Colborne, PSC director, insisted that Salah was the leader of a legitimate political organisation. He rejected all forms of racism, including anti-semitism, she said.

His solicitor, Farooq Bajwa, said Salah had “no knowledge” of an alleged travel ban and had made “no attempt” to conceal his identity when he entered Britain.

“Sheikh Raed Salah is the leader of the Islamic Movement in Israel, the largest movement for Palestinians in Israel,” Colborne said.

“This is a legitimate organisation which Israel has never moved to ban.

“Raed Saleh regularly speaks at venues across Israel where he has considerable support amongst the Palestinian citizens of Israel, who make up a fifth of the population.

“Sheikh Raed has been elected as mayor of his home town, Um al-Fahm, three times. He has never been convicted of anti-semitism in Israel.

“Before coming to Britain, he faced horrific allegations of anti-semitism, which he completely refuted.

“He has clarified his position of being opposed to all forms of racism, including anti-semitism, Islamophobia and racism against his own people, the Palestinians.”

The home secretary, Theresa May, said officials from the UK Border Agency were taking steps to remove Salah from the country. She said an investigation had been launched into how he managed to get into the UK.

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