Al-Faisal to face charges of recruiting would-be terrorists for ISIS


Al-Faisal to face charges of recruiting would-be terrorists for ISIS

Saturday, August 26, 2017

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CONTROVERSIAL Jamaican-born Muslim cleric Sheikh Abdullah al-Faisal was yesterday arrested on an extradition warrant in Kingston.

A release from the Ministry of National Security said he was apprehended by members of the Counter Terrorism and Organised Crime Branch of the Jamaica Constabulary Force and taken to his home in St Catherine where a search warrant was executed.

He will be taken to court for a hearing at a later date, the ministry said.

Al-Faisal was indicted on charges of recruiting would-be terrorists yesterday, having been arrested after a months-long sting carried out by an undercover New York Police Department officer who communicated with him by e-mail, text and video chat.

According to the Manhattan district attorney Cyrus R Vance, al-Faisal offered to help the undercover officer travel to the Middle East and join fighters with the Islamic State group, also known as ISIS.

It's not clear if al-Faisal has an attorney.

The 53-year-old al-Faisal was born Trevor William Forrest in Jamaica.

US authorities had long been concerned about him, fearing that he would emerge as a recruiter of marginalised, disaffected youth in Jamaica.

Born to Christian parents, he converted to Islam as a teenager and later left Jamaica for religious study. He preached in London mosques, delivering sermons that advocated war with Jews, Hindus and other groups, and the use of chemical weapons to exterminate unbelievers.

“The way forward is the bullet,” he said in one recorded message.

Those talks got renewed attention after the September 11 attacks and in 2003 he was convicted under of a seldom-used British law for inciting murder. After his release from prison in 2007 he was deported to Jamaica. The Islamic Council of Jamaica, which had banned al-Faisal from preaching in the country's mosques because of his inflammatory sermons, said it was not affiliated with al-Faisal and had no information regarding his arrest.

El-Faisal was subsequently ejected from Kenya after a trip there in 2009 because of suspicions of encouraging young men there to join an Islamic extremist group in Somalia. He was then deported to Jamaica in early 2010.

In diplomatic cables, first obtained and released by WikiLeaks, US officials said he or his associates had been eyed in several suspected terror plots.

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance said al-Faisal “has dedicated his life to terror recruitment”.

“Through his lectures, website and videos, he incites untold numbers of people around the world to take up the cause of jihad,” Vance said. “As is alleged in this case, he provided material support to the Islamic State by facilitating the passage of a self-described ISIS sympathiser from New York to Syria. A charismatic leader, the defendant's rhetoric has been cited by several convicted or suspected terrorists in New York, London, and beyond.”

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