- The Washington Times - Friday, February 22, 2002

LONDON British authorities have charged the country's most outspoken Muslim cleric with incitement to murder after widespread criticism that the government had done little to combat Islamic extremism at home.

Abdullah Faisal, 38, who was arrested Monday at a house in East London, was denied bail and remanded in custody till Feb. 28 at a hearing yesterday at Bow Street Magistrates Court.

Police said Mr. Faisal was charged Tuesday under the rarely used Offenses Against the Person Act of 1861.

The arrests came in a dawn raid on his home, more than two weeks after the Times newspaper of London had reported on its front page that Mr. Faisal had repeatedly called on young Muslims to kill Jews and non-Muslims.

The government of Prime Minister Tony Blair has been criticized in Parliament, even by members of his own party, for failing to crack down on local militants.

Islamic extremists have long operated freely in London.

Sheik Omar Saeed, a 27-year-old Muslim educated at the London School of Economics, is now jailed in Pakistan on charges of abducting Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl.

Recordings by Mr. Faisal continue to be sold openly in Islamic bookshops for $3 each.

Since September 11, he had issued two new tapes instructing all Muslim males to train for battle and promising 72 virgins in paradise for those who die in holy war, the paper reported.

In response to the attacks in New York and on the Pentagon, Mr. Faisal issued two new cassettes, one in which he tells an audience of British schoolboys: "All of you sitting down in front of me are soldiers. Is it sensible for you to be a soldier and you don't know how to shoot a Kalashnikov? Therefore jihad training is compulsory for all of you."

Another tape, titled "History Repeats Itself," comes in a box with a picture of the World Trade Center in flames.

Mr. Faisal maintains that the Americans bombed the twin towers in 1993 to claim the insurance.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center, which monitors attacks on Jewish organizations and people, said it was "relieved" Mr. Faisal had been arrested.

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