Cleared for publication: An indictment has been filed with the Nazareth Magistrate's Court against Nazem Mahmoud Salim Sahfe, 45, Imam of the Shihab Al-Din Mosque in Nazareth, who allegedly used his sermons to promote radical global jihad messages and to call upon his deciples to hurt non-Muslims.
The imam was arrested after one of the murderers of cab driver Yefim Weinstein, who was murdered in 2009, said he was motivated to commit the crime by Sahfe's sermons. Sahfe is being charged with incitement to violence and support of a terrorist organization.
The indictment, which was filed in coordination with the attorney general's office, suggests that Sahfe established a group called Jamaat al-Nasrallah Bayt al-Maqdis al-Nasra in 1997. Its emblem featured a black flag affiliated with the Taliban.
Over the years, the imam distributed posters, booklets and manifestos and created a website, Muslim 48, to spread his word.
Sahfe's ideological world view is similar in content to that of the global jihad and al-Qaeda. He also publically endorsed al-Qaeda in his articles and even issued statements on behalf of Osama bin Laden.
The indictment states that the Imam's activity created a "real possibility of publications leading to violence and terror."
Mosque in Nazareth (Photo: Avishag Shaar-Yashuv)
Attorney Mirit Stern, who filed the indictment, said, "Freedom of expression is a superior value, but there are equally superior values such as human life. We find that the defendant crossed all boundaries, including authorizing a murder."
Last June, after taxi driver Yefim Weinstein was murdered, police managed to solve the case and find the murderers, one of whom said that he used to frequent Sahfe's mosque with friends. He said he believed non-Muslims should be targeted.
The indictment indicates that other worshippers who were exposed to Sahfe's sermons wished to participate in the global jihad campaign against heretics. It was noted that one particular group collected weapons to be used against Israeli soldiers as well as Pope Benedict XVI, who visited Israel in 2009.
Dozens of Sahfe's supporters arrived at the Nazareth court Sunday as he attended a remand hearing.
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