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Muslim Race Case Cleric Convicted By: Sue Clough
News.Telegraph.co.uk | Wednesday, February 26, 2003

The first Muslim cleric to be prosecuted in the British criminal courts over the contents of his preachings was convicted yesterday of soliciting the murder of Hindus, Jews and Americans.

Abdullah El-Faisal, an associate of Abu Hamza, the extremist cleric ousted from the Finsbury Park mosque, was also found guilty of stirring up racial hatred in a series of venomous sermons against non-Muslims.

El-Faisal, 39, preached to hundreds of impressionable young Muslims around the country and his tapes were sold in specialist bookshops and on the internet.

Among his messages, he argued that it was acceptable to murder "non-believers" - including Hindus, Jews and Americans - with chemical weapons.

Police believe some of his "students" went abroad to fight or join training camps.

El-Faisal, Jamaican-born and a twice-married father of three, will be sentenced at the Old Bailey next week.

Soliciting to murder carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment. El-Faisal is also likely to be ordered to be deported after his sentence.

Though police found no proof of a direct link between El-Faisal and al-Qa'eda, he undoubtedly knew some of its adherents, including James Ujaama, who is currently in jail in Seattle on charges of running an al-Qa'eda training camp in Oregon.

El-Faisal also attended the Finsbury Park mosque, where Hamza - who has been linked to al-Qa'eda - has preached.

Outside court, one of El-Faisal's supporters, Muhammed Abdul-Mutakabbir, said: "This is an injustice. Because Sheikh El-Faisal has been convicted, so has the Koran."

However, Deputy Assistant Commissioner Peter Clarke, head of the Metropolitan Police anti-terrorist branch, said: "El-Faisal tried to use the Koran to justify his violent and offensive rhetoric.

"The Muslim community are quite rightly appalled by his lectures, which were deliberately targeted at impressionable young people."

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