A Muslim cleric? But how could a man who has devoted his life to understanding Islam properly and communicating it effectively have gotten the idea that the Religion of Peace was exhorting him to wage war against unbelievers? Learned imams such as Pope Francis and H.R. McMaster need to travel to Jamaica forthwith to explain to Sheikh Abdullah el-Faisal that authentic Islam and the proper understanding of the Qur’an reject every form of violence.
“U.S. indicts radical cleric on terror charges,” by Karen Matthews, Associated Press, August 27, 2017:
NEW YORK — A radical Muslim cleric who was convicted of stirring up racial hatred in Britain was indicted Friday in New York on charges of recruiting potential terrorists.
Sheikh Abdullah el-Faisal was arrested in Jamaica, where he had been deported a decade ago….
According to the Manhattan district attorney, el-Faisal offered to help the undercover officer travel to the Middle East and join fighters with the Islamic State extremist group….
The 53-year-old el-Faisal was born Trevor William Forrest in Jamaica.
U.S. authorities had long been concerned about him, fearing that he would emerge as a recruiter of marginalized, 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 nonbelievers.
“The way forward is the bullet,” he said in one recorded message.
Those talks got renewed attention after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks. 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 el-Faisal from preaching in the country’s mosques because of his inflammatory sermons, said it was not affiliated with el-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 to join an Islamic extremist group in Somalia. He was then deported to Jamaica again in early 2010.
In diplomatic cables, first obtained and released by WikiLeaks, U.S. officials said he or his associates had been linked with several suspected terror plots.
Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance said el-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 [Islamic State] sympathizer 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.”