In 2017, Sheikh Abdullah al-Faisal was deemed a 'specially designated global terrorist' by the Office of Foreign Assets Control in the United States Department of the Treasury. He has finally been extradited to the US from Jamaica and will face charges of supporting terrorism. He has pleaded not guilty to all the charges against him. His trial is due to begin in the near future.
The Islamic cleric had been discovered to be a radical preacher who had links with terrorists involved in the London Bombings of 2005 and other prominent terror attacks. If convicted of the charges in the Manhattan court, he could face a maximum punishment of 25 years in prison.
Charges against al-Faisal
He has also been found to be preaching a hateful and radical version of Islam to his followers and actively assisting terrorist organisations like ISIS to recruit people. Sheikh Faisal has also been convicted in the United Kingdom on charges of inciting violence and spewing venomous rhetoric. It was in August 2017 that he was arrested in Jamaica after the US government, New York police specifically, coordinated with them.
"The indictment and arrest of Sheikh Faisal nearly three years ago put a stop to the prolific, radical Islamic propaganda and terror recruitment alleged in this case, delivering a major blow to ISIS' overall recruitment capabilities," Cy Vance, District Attorney of Manhattan, said.
The investigations into the activities of al-Faisal began in 2016. The police accessed his email account and found him to be in touch with senior operatives of ISIS. He even gave an online speech to motivate fighters for the terrorist outfit. He told the listeners: "The way forward is not the ballot, the way forward is the bullet."
The New York police mounted an undercover operation to find out the extent of the 56-year old cleric's activities. A police officer, under an assumed identity, travelled all the way to West Asia after getting contact information for a man in Raqqa, Syria, from Sheikh Faisal.
This man in Syria was going to let the undercover officer enter the ISIS-controlled territory and become a fighter for the organization. This daring investigation laid bare the links of the radical preacher with ISIS and proved him to be a dangerous man.