US seeks extradition of Jamaican muslim cleric el-Faisal on terrorism charges

(Jamaica Gleaner) Law enforcement sources say controversial Muslim Sheikh Abdullah el-Faisal, who was arrested yesterday is wanted in the United States on terrorism-related charges.

He was arrested on a provisional warrant under the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty with the US.

A release from the National Security Ministry says el-Faisal was arrested in Kingston by members of the Counter Terrorism and Organised Crime Branch of the Jamaica Constabulary Force.

Sheikh Abdullah el-Faisal was arrested on a provisional warrant under the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty with the US.

It says he was taken to his home in St. Catherine where a search warrant was executed.

El-Faisal  is to be taken to court for a hearing at a later date.

The ministry further says more information will be made available as soon.

The Westmoreland-born el-Faisal was deported to Jamaica from Kenya in January 2010.

In 2007, he was expelled from Britain after serving a jail term for inciting racial hatred and urging his followers to murder Jews, Hindus, Christians and Americans.

The cleric once led a London mosque attended by convicted terrorists, and Britain has said that his teachings heavily influenced one of the bombers in the 2005 transport network attacks in London that killed 52 people.

In 2015, the Reuters News Agency reported that a US Federal law enforcement official said an American woman who was arrested for trying to travel to Syria to join the militant group Islamic State, was in touch with an Islamist preacher in Jamaica.

The preacher was identified as el-Faisal. According to Reuters, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance said yesterday that el-Faisal used lectures, a website and videos to incite followers to join Islamic State, which is designated a terrorist organization by U.S. authorities.

“A charismatic leader, the defendant’s rhetoric has been cited by several convicted or suspected terrorists in New York, London, and beyond,” Vance said in a statement.

Yesterday’s indictment follows a year-long investigation by the New York Police Department’s intelligence bureau and the Manhattan District Attorney’s office’s counter-terrorism program, according to the announcement from Vance’s office.

 

Prosecutors said that beginning in December 2016, el-Faisal began communicating remotely from Jamaica with an undercover NYPD officer. He urged the officer to view Islamic State propaganda materials online, and offered to help him travel to the Middle East to fight for the organization, prosecutors said.

NYPD members ultimately did travel to the Middle East, and once they arrived, el-Faisal put them in touch with a contact in Raqqa, Syria, according to prosecutors.

El-Faisal is charged with soliciting or providing support for an act of terrorism. It was not immediately clear whether he had an attorney.

 

 

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