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Thursday, April 25, 2024

Jamaican cleric says he was unfairly demonized

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A radical Muslim cleric who served time in a British jail for inciting murder and was recently deported to his native Jamaica said Thursday that he has been unfairly demonized by the media.

Abdullah el-Faisal, who was sent home from Kenya last month, said in a television interview that he is not a violent person. He dismissed Britain’s claims that his teachings heavily influenced one of the bombers in the 2005 London transport network attacks that killed 52 people.

“There is no cleric who would give his blessings to them because these acts are murder and there is no place for murder in our religion,” el-Faisal told Television Jamaica.

El-Faisal, who once led a London mosque attended by convicted terrorists, was arrested in Kenya following a tour of several African countries. He had been deported to this Caribbean island previously by Britain, in 2007, after spending four years in jail for urging the killing of Americans, Hindus, Jews and Christians.

In the interview, the 45-year-old bearded cleric said Muslims can be called to violence if provoked.

“We have an institution called jihad, which is self-defense. There are evil people in this world who like to invade others and kill them and steal their natural resources. So if a Muslim country is invaded we reserve the right to defend ourselves,” he said.

Jamaican police have said they will keep el-Faisal under surveillance.

© 2010 Associated Press. Displayed by permission. All rights reserved.

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