Jamaican-born Muslim cleric loses appeal in England


Wednesday, February 18, 2004    

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LONDON (AP) - A Jamaican-born Muslim cleric who was imprisoned for urging his followers to kill Jews, Hindus and Americans lost an appeal of his conviction, yesterday.

Abdullah el-Faisal, 39, of London, was present at the Court of Appeal as the three judges issued their ruling.

One of them, Lord Justice Potter, said the reason the appeal was dismissed would be announced at a later date.

The judges then opened a hearing into el-Faisal's separate appeal of his prison sentence.

During his trial el-Faisal was sentenced last year to prison for nine years, but that was later reduced to seven.

The appeal of his conviction centred on the trial judge's summation to the jury of the defence's arguments before the cleric was found guilty on three charges of soliciting murder and three charges involving stirring up racial hatred.

Sentencing the father of three in March, a judge blamed him for fanning "the flames of hostility" and recommended the Jamaican convert to Islam be deported when he is released from prison.

In speeches, el-Faisal had told Muslim schoolboys it was their duty to kill Americans, Indian Hindus and Jews, referred to as "nonbelievers". He also said the children would be rewarded in paradise if they died in a holy war.

El-Faisal's conviction included charges of using insulting words and distributing tapes of insulting words.

During his trial, el-Faisal argued that he had been interpreting and updating the words of the Koran, the Muslim holy book.




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