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Muslim cleric: 9 years for urging murder

By AL WEBB, United Press International   |   March 7, 2003 at 9:22 AM   |   Comments

LONDON, March 7 (UPI) -- A radical Muslim cleric who urged his followers to kill "non-believers," including Jews, Hindus and Americans, was jailed Friday for nine years in Britain for soliciting murder and stirring racial hatred.

Abdullah el Faisal, a Jamaican native born 39 years ago as William Forest, was the first person in more than a century to be charged under Britain's Offenses Against the Person Act of soliciting without a specific victim -- a law dating back to 1861.

A jury at London's Old Bailey also found el Faisal guilty of preaching racial hatred against non-Muslims in videotapes and personal appearances around the country. In passing sentence Friday, Judge Peter Beaumont said the cleric had "fanned the flames of hostility."

The judge also ordered that the father of three be deported back to Jamaica when he has finished his prison term.

El Faisal claimed during his trial that his messages came from the Koran, Islam's holy book, and that his words had been misrepresented. He stretched his arms in frustration to a dozen supporters as the sentence was handed down.

During the trial, the jury heard a series of tapes made by the bearded cleric. On one, entitled "Jihad" (holy war), he was heard to say, "So you go down to India, and if you see a Hindu walking down the road, you are allowed to kill him and take his money. Is that clear?"

Jews, he said, "are rotten to the core" and "should be killed very soon, as by Hitler."

El Faisal insisted that "every Muslim hates the unbeliever" and that "we want to see their extermination. One of the truths about Islam is that Allah said 'Kill them.' You can use anything -- even chemical weapons."

On another tape, called "Rules of Jihad" and believed to have been made before the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on New York's World Trade Center and the Pentagon in Washington with hijacked airliners, the cleric told his listeners, "You have to learn how to shoot."

"You have to learn how to fly planes, drive tanks, and you have to learn how to load your guns and to use missiles," he said, in a message that British authorities claimed was directed at impressionable young Muslims.

He added that "you are only allowed to use nuclear weapons in that country which is 100 percent unbelievers." He told younger followers that they should prepare to sacrifice their lives for "jihad" from the age of 15 and promised each of them 72 virgins in paradise if they died as religious martyrs.

British authorities said el Faisal had links with other extremists and was associated with James Ujaama, who is awaiting trial in the United States for allegedly trying to set up a training camp for terrorists.

But it was unclear whether the Jamaican cleric had any ties with Osama bin Laden, the accused mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks, or with bin Laden's al Qaida organization.

© 2003 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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