Jamaican Muslim cleric Abdullah el-Faisal is the first man convicted under post-9/11 anti-terrorism laws in New York City for supporting the Islamic State extremist group from the Caribbean island.
The sheikh, born Trevor William Forrest, is facing between seven to 25 years in prison for inciting religious hatred as well as serving as a ‘matchmaking marriage broker’ for women with ISIS militia.
Described by New York State prosecutors as a jihadist, el-Faisal was accused of using his online presence to spread ISIS propaganda from 2014 to 2017.
According to a January 22 report in the New York Times, the St James native was indicted on five counts of terrorism by the New York Police Department (NYPD) after a years-long intelligence-gathering operation.
In August 2020, he was extradited by Jamaican authorities for trial.
While the prosecution admitted that no crime was committed in the US metropolis, el-Faisal’s trial, which began in November 2022, is the first of its kind to be held in the state-level Supreme Court after legislators enacted anti-terrorism laws following the September 2001 terrorist attacks.
El-Faisal was previously sentenced to nine years in 2003 in the United Kingdom on similar terrorism charges. After serving four years and being eligible for parole, he was released, deported back to Jamaica and permanently banned in May 2007.
The controversial cleric, who was banned from joining the Islamic Council of Jamaica on his return, is also persona non grata in Kenya and Botswana.