JERUSALEM (Ma’an) — An Israeli magistrate court in Jerusalem ruled to increase the sentence of Sheikh Omar Abu Sara from eight to 14 months in prison, a lawyer from the Palestinian Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs said Monday, after Abu Sara was charged with “inciting violence against Jews” during a religious lecture he gave at the Al-Aqsa Mosque in November 2014.
Committee lawyer Muhammad Mahmoud said that the decision came after the judge agreed to an appeal filed by the Israeli general prosecution to extend Abu Sara’s sentence. Abu Sara received his initial sentence
of eight months in prison in September last year.
Abu Sara was initially detained on Jan. 1, 2015, and spent five days in jail. During his detention, he said that Israeli officers interrogated him about a religious lecture he gave at the Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City on Nov. 28, 2014 entitled: “Jewish characteristics in the Holy Quran.”Abu Sara has denied Israeli accusations and said that his sermon was not racist or incitement, but rather religious teachings and verses from the Quran.However, Israeli media translated the sermon after a video
of it was released, which included statements such as: “I say to the Jews loud and clear: The time for your slaughter has come. The time to fight you has come. The time to kill you has come.”Abu Sara said after being sentenced: “If my sermon was incitement, then what do you call Israelis calling for the slaughter of Palestinian children, women, and men, who claim that the children will grow up to be terrorists?”His remarks seemed to refer comments made by Israeli Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked — similar to comments often made by Israel’s right-wing media and leadership — who advocated for the killing of the mothers of slain Palestinians, referring to them “snakes.