- The Washington Times - Saturday, March 8, 2003

From combined dispatches
LONDON A Muslim cleric who urged his followers to kill Hindus, Jews and Americans was sentenced to nine years in prison yesterday for inciting others to commit murder and stirring up racial hatred.
Judge Peter Beaumont told Abdullah el-Faisal, a Jamaican-born convert to Islam, that he was issuing consecutive rather than concurrent sentences to emphasize Britain's "abhorrence of the views you expressed."
"You not only preached hate but through the words you uttered … you urged those who cared to listen and watch to kill those who do not share your faith," the judge said.
He sentenced the cleric to seven years for soliciting murder against unknown victims the first prosecution in more than a century under an 1861 law and two years for incitement of racial hatred. The maximum sentence would have been life.
Judge Beaumont said el-Faisal would have to serve at least half his sentence before becoming eligible for parole and recommended that he could be deported to Jamaica anytime during the sentence.
A group of the preacher's supporters gathered on a courtroom balcony shouted out in protest when Judge Beaumont handed down the sentence. "Allah is the only judge," yelled one.
El-Faisal, who was convicted last month of three charges of soliciting murder and three charges of inciting racial hatred, preached across Britain and distributed Arabic-language tapes of his speeches.
His attorney, Jerome Lynch, urged the judge to pass a light sentence and read letters from several people who described el-Faisal as a kind man who helped others in his community and did not preach hate. He called el-Faisal "misguided rather than malicious" and said he planned to appeal the sentence.
El-Faisal, 39, a former supporter of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, made a series of tapes with names such as "Jihad" and "No Peace With Jews" that were distributed throughout Britain for sale in Islamic book shops.
One of the tapes included a cover picture and the voice of bin Laden. El-Faisal said that while he once regarded bin Laden as a hero for the Muslim people, he believed the Saudi-born fugitive had "lost the path" since September 11, 2001.
Prosecutors said that in study group lectures and on tapes, the cleric had tried to recruit British youths for terrorist training and urged violence against non-Muslims.
"How wonderful it is to kill the [unbeliever]," he said on one tape. "You crawl on his back and while you push him down into hell fire you are going into paradise."
Prosecutors said he also backed the use of chemical and nuclear weapons against unbelievers.
A former devout Christian, el-Faisal converted to Islam at 16 and went on to study in Saudi Arabia.

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