(Photo: Pope Benedict meets religious leaders in Nazareth, May 14, 2009, with many Muslim clerics in white and red turbans in the audience/Atef Safadi)
Israeli authorities have charged the imam of a mosque in Nazareth with inciting violence against Pope Benedict and supporting al Qaeda and “global jihad,” the justice ministry has said.
The indictment said Nazim Mahmoud Salim, who was arrested by police a month ago, led a group of about 2,000 worshippers, and had also preached at the flashpoint al Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem, Islam’s third holiest shrine.
Salim is charged with inciting violence against Pope Benedict during his visit last year to Nazareth, the town of Jesus’ boyhood in the heartland of Israel’s minority Arab population.
In his sermons and on his website over the past decade, the indictment on Sunday said, Salim preached “an ideological world view identical to that of global jihad” and wrote “publications that supported and identified with the terror organisation al Qaeda.”