IHH Leader and Other Islamist Activists Incite Passengers to Violence Aboard the Mavi Marmara

Muhamed Baltagi speaks before the Egyptian Parliament

Muhamed Baltagi speaks before the Egyptian Parliament

Background Information

1. A video taken aboard the Mavi Marmara (apparently by one of the photographers who documented the events on the upper deck) shows a meeting of operatives, mainly the members of the IHH hard core. It was held during the day, apparently close to the time of the violent confrontation. IHH leader Bülent Yildirim was photographed exhorting his audience and inciting them to violence in preparation for an expected confrontation with the IDF. Radical Islamic Arab-Israeli sheikh Ra’ed Salah, head of the northern faction of the Israeli Islamic Movement, was photographed sitting in the front row.

2. Bülent Yildirim spoke in Turkish using Islamic terminology and his remarks were translated into Arabic by one of the operatives (who was wearing traditional Arab dress and had a kaffiyeh [Arab head-covering] imprinted with the Palestinian flag). A speech was made by Dr. Mohamed al-Baltagi, the secretary general and member of the Muslim Brotherhood faction in the Egyptian Parliament.1

Muhamed Baltagi speaks before the Egyptian Parliament
Muhamed Baltagi speaks before the Egyptian Parliament
(Website of the Egyptian Parliament’s Muslim Brotherhood faction, June 5, 2010).

3. During the days of the sea voyage the hard core of IHH operatives on board the Mavi Marmara received religious/ideological indoctrination from senior figures such as IHH chairman Bülent Yildirim and sheikh Ra’ed Salah. A few hours before the IDF took control of the ship and while weapons and operatives were being prepared, operatives on the upper deck shouted battle cries to inflame the emotions of those who were supposed to take part in the violent confrontation (See Video File No. 2).


4. Bülent Yildirim’s main remarks were the following: "My dear brothers, with the help of Allah we set sail and we are on our way. Allah gave us great resources and a great blessing. We follow in the footsteps of the martyrs, the just and the righteous. Not everyone has the opportunity to travel on this ship. Allah has given it to those who wanted it the most…You shall see, we will definitely claim one of two victories for Allah whatever the result is. They are waiting for us in Palestine. If we show fear they will win once again. We do not want to be recorded in Allah’s book as cowards…”[An Arabic voice:] "In two days we may encounter some negative matters. Do not be like the ones who turned back and don’t turn back! Allah willing, may he be praised, we will enter Gaza and reach out brothers.”

5. With respect to Israel he said: "For four or five days Israel has been making statements against us and we thought it considered itself a state but it is not a state…Now they say that they will launch a fleet [against us], that they will send commandos here [to this ship]. And we say, ‘If you send in the commandos, we will throw you down from here and you will be humiliated in front of the whole world…2

6. Throughout the speeches the audience shouted "Takbir! [Glorification of Allah]” "Allahu Akbar!”

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1 Dr. Mohamed al-Baltagi is a medical doctor. He was active in the Muslim Brotherhood student organization, and is deeply involved in the movement’s social network, the da’wah. On March 15, 2010, he called for support for the Palestinian "resistance” (i.e., the path of terrorism), adding that "the Muslim Brotherhood will never recognize Israel or abandon the resistance and its support of Al-Aqsa mosque, regardless of the pressure.” He called upon the rules of the Arab world to admit that they had made a mistake in supporting what he called the "fictitious peace” with Israel. He said that "unity, the pressure on the [Arab] governments and supporting the resistance were the only Road Map which could rescue Jerusalem, restore Arab honor and prevent turning Palestine into a new Andalusia…” (Muslim Brotherhood website).

2 According to statements from ordinary passengers aboard the ship, the instructions given to the IHH operatives were not to permit IDF soldiers to board the ship and to throw those who did manage to board into the sea. Bülent Yildirim gave orders to form a human chain to use chairs and clubs to beat the soldiers back. In effect, during the confrontation an attempt was made to throw soldiers off the upper deck.