Radical Cleric Indicted in Manhattan for Supporting Terrorism

(Bloomberg) -- A radical cleric previously convicted in the U.K. for inciting murder was indicted in New York for soliciting and supporting terrorism.

Trevor William Forrest, also known as Shaikh Abdullah Faisal, is accused of helping an undercover New York Police Department officer posing as a fellow radical to get in contact with the Islamic State in Syria in order to the join the group, the Manhattan District Attorney said in a statement Friday. Faisal was charged in New York State Supreme Court.

“Shaikh Faisal has dedicated his life to terror recruitment,” District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. said in the statement. “Through his lectures, website, and videos, he incites untold numbers of people around the world to take up the cause of jihad.”

Faisal, 53, was arrested by police in Jamaica, where he lives, per a U.S. extradition request, a law enforcement official said. He was convicted in a U.K. court in 2003 for inciting murder and racial hatred, urging his followers to kill Hindus, Jews and U.S. citizens.

The undercover New York police officer began communicating with Faisal last year, using email, text messages and video chats, according to the D.A.’s statement. Faisal sent the officer propaganda reports from an official Islamic State news outlet and offered to help the officer to travel to the Middle East and to marry someone in the Islamic State.

The officer and members of the NYPD’s Intelligence Bureau then traveled to the Middle East, at which point Faisal put them in touch with a person in Raqqa, Syria. Early this year, that individual started to collect information about the officer’s whereabouts to facilitate entry into the Islamic State, according to the statement.