Controversial Jamaican cleric charged in New York for recruiting for ISIS

Abdullah al-Faisal

New York state prosecutors have charged controversial Jamaican cleric, Abdullah al-Faisal, with seeking to recruit people for ISIS.

Al-Faisal was arrested last Friday in Jamaica, and U.S. authorities will seek to have him extradited to face charges in Manhattan Supreme Court.

The 53-year-old cleric born “Trevor William Forrest” in Jamaica was previously convicted in Britain in 2003 for soliciting murder and was subsequently jailed.

Al-Faisal was deported to Jamaica in 2007 after his release.

Manhattan District Attorney, Cyrus Vance, said al-Faisal used a website, videos and audio lectures to encourage Muslims to join ISIS, which is a designated terrorist organisation by the U.S.

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

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

Prosecutors said that since last December, al-Faisal began communicating remotely from Jamaica with an undercover NYPD police officer.

The cleric advised the officer to view ISIS propaganda online and then later offered assistance to travel to the Middle East, prosecutors said.

NYPD officers travelled to the Middle East, and upon arrival, al-Faisal put them in touch with a contact in Raqqa, Syria, according to prosecutors.

Al-Faisal is charged with soliciting or providing support for an act of terrorism.

It is unconfirmed whether he had legal representation.

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