56-years-old Jamaican Muslim cleric, Sheikh Abdullah al-Faisal has been extradited to the United States to face terrorism-related charges.
Senior police sources have confirmed that the controversial cleric who was born in St. James, was flown out of the country hours ago. He was taken into custody after a month-long operation carried out by an undercover New York Police Department officer, who allegedly communicated with him via e-mail, text, and video chat.
Abdullah al-Faisal ... was arraigned in New York City Friday on charges that he supported terrorism by plotting to recruit for the Islamic State. He pleaded not guilty.
The cleric has been linked to other high-profile terrorists, including the attempted Times Square bomber in 2010, the “Underwear Bomber” in 2008 and several other convicted or suspected terrorists in New York, London and elsewhere.
He stands accused of having an established online presence which he supposedly used to broker marriages for females who wanted to migrate and marry Islamic State (IS) members and also had connections with people interested in joining the terrorist network. Assistant District Attorney David Stuart said in court Friday that al-Faisal used encrypted messages to communicate with prominent leaders of the Islamic State. The Manhattan district attorney described al-Faisal in 2017 as the “fulcrum of a recruitment effort that encouraged individuals to carry out acts of terrorism in the name of the Islamic State.”
Jamaican authorities arrested al-Faisal at his home in St. James, Jamaica, in 2017 as a result of the sting, and was held there until he was flown to NYC to be arraigned this week.
Assistant District Attorney Gary Galperin stated in court Friday that the defendant has spent nearly his entire adult life advocating radical violent jihad and perverting the Islamic faith.
According to the Counter Extremism Project, a nonprofit international policy organization, al-Faisal was born Trevor William Forrest in Jamaica but converted to Islam and changed his name while living in Saudi Arabia as a teenager. He eventually moved to London in the 1990s and became an Islamic cleric, catching the attention of British authorities with lectures that called for the murder of so-called nonbelievers. He was arrested and convicted of soliciting murder and inciting racial hatred in the UK in 2003, but was released and deported in 2007.
In 2010, he was deported from Kenya after again being accused of spreading racial hatred. He then traveled the world recruiting for the Islamic State and other terrorist organizations before his arrest in Jamaica in 2017.
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