Muslim leader detained in Israel

2011-05-19 00:00

PROMINENT Muslim leader, academic and author, Na’eem Jeenah, was detained on his arrival at the Ben Gurion Airport in Israel on Monday night prior to being deported to Istanbul.

Jeenah is the director of the Afro-Middle East Centre (Amec) in Johannesburg — a research institute studying the Middle East and relations between the region and Africa.

He was visiting Israel to participate in research meetings.

Jeenah was previously the director of the Freedom of Expression Institute and lectured in political studies at the University of the Witwatersrand.

He is a prominent leader of the Muslim community and anti-war movements in South Africa.

The reasons for his detention and interrogation are unknown. His colleague at Amec, Heidi Esekov, said Jeenah had been interrogated for hours and she had no access to him.

The Israeli Government had also initially declined to release information concerning his whereabouts, she added.

According to a statement issued by Amec Jeenah was deported to Instanbul after ten hours of interrogation. His passport and belongings were taken and not returned.

The centre called on the government to offer him full consular support and to speedily facilitate his safe travel home.

Jeenah’s wife, Melissa, said they are relying on consular support to ensure her husband’s safe return. She had been able to speak to him at the Istanbul airport where he was being held.

The offices of the Israeli ambassador were closed yesterday and no reply was received to e-mail inquiries.

Jeenah’s family hopes that he returns home today.

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