WASHINGTON, United States (AP) — The Treasury Department took action yesterday against a Jamaica-based Islamic cleric accused of helping Islamic State recruits travel to areas controlled by the militant group.
Treasury officials designated Abdullah Ibrahim al-Faisal as a global terrorist. The action blocks any property he has within US jurisdiction and prevents Americans from engaging in any transactions with him.
“Faisal has recruited for and provided support to IS, and his actions have influenced terrorists who engaged in bomb plots and other horrific attacks on innocent civilians,” said John Smith, director of the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control. “This designation will help deter Faisal's global following and prevent US persons from supporting him in any manner.”
The New York County District Attorney's office for the State of New York unsealed an indictment in August charging Faisal with helping support IS group recruits. According to the indictment, Faisal is accused of recruiting individuals to travel to IS-controlled territory, providing them with contacts abroad and advice on how to evade detection by law enforcement. He is facing extradition proceedings in Jamaica.
Treasury officials alleged that Faisal has directly or indirectly influenced numerous terrorists, including the Ohio State University attacker in 2016; a Garland, Texas, shooter at a Prophet Muhammad drawing contest in 2015; Faisal Shahzad, the attempted Times Square car bomber in 2010; Mohammed Chowdury, who planned and attempted to bomb the London Stock Exchange in 2010; Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the underwear bomber who attempted to down an airliner over Detroit in 2009; two of the four bombers of the July 7, 2005, attacks in London; and Richard Reid, the 2001 shoe bomber.
Al-Faisal, 54, was born Trevor William Forrest. He is linked to the jihadist group Authentic Tauheed, which is aligned with Islamic State, according to the Counter Extremism Project.
He was an imam in London's Brixton district and was convicted in 2003 of soliciting murder and inciting racial hatred, spending four years in prison before being released and expelled to Jamaica.
After that, he also spent time in Africa and has a base of support in Kenya, according to the Counter Extremism Project. Several people died in protests in support of al-Faisal in January 2010 when the Kenyan Government moved to expel him from the country.
— Additional reporting by AFP