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Radical Muslim cleric tried to recruit terrorists, Manhattan DA says

A radical Muslim cleric who was convicted of stirring up racial hatred in Britain and deported to Jamaica has been indicted in New York on charges of recruiting would-be terrorists.

Sheikh Abdullah el-Faisal was arrested Friday in Jamaica and is awaiting extradition to New York City.

El-Faisal was arrested after a monthslong sting carried out by an undercover NYPD officer who communicated with him by email, text and video chat.

According to the Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, el-Faisal offered to help the undercover officer travel to the Middle East and join fighters with the Islamic State group, also known as ISIS.

“Shaikh Faisal has dedicated his life to terror recruitment,” Vance said in a statement Friday. “Through his lectures, website, and videos, he incites untold numbers of people around the world to take up the cause of jihad. As is alleged in this case, he provided material support to the Islamic State by facilitating the passage of a self-described ISIS sympathizer from New York to Syria. A charismatic leader, the defendant’s rhetoric has been cited by several convicted or suspected terrorists in New York, London, and beyond.”

In the statement, NYPD Commissioner James P. O’Neill said: “Shaikh Faisal has used his influence and direction to groom and inspire terrorists who have bombed trains, attempted to blow up airliners, and attack Americans here and abroad. His arrest for his efforts to recruit people for ISIS, a terrorist group that has plotted attacks against New York City, should bring an abrupt end to his global outreach in support of terror groups such as al-Qaida and ISIS.”

It’s not clear if el-Faisal has an attorney.

El-Faisal, 53, was born Trevor William Forrest.

He was deported from Britain to Jamaica in 2010.

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