Shaikh Abdullah Faisal, 59, a Jamaican preacher who supports the Islamic State, is on trial for terror in Manhattan, Laura Italiano reports for Business Insider.
The Islamic cleric would match women to be brides to members of ISIS. But after two potential brides turned out to be undercover NYPD officers, Faisal was quickly arrested.
The lead prosecutor in the case, Gary Galperin, labeled Faisal as “one of the most influential English-speaking terrorists of our time,” during his opening statement.
But Faisal’s defense argued that his actions did not meet New York’s statute for terrorism, questioning whether recruiting and matchmaking alone rise to the level of terror under New York state law.
“Focus on the substance of this case,” not all the “noise” about ISIS and terror, defense lawyer Alex Grosshtern told jurors.
“Focus on what Mr. Faisal actually did and not what he said,” the lawyer said.
Faisal served four years in prison after a 2003 conviction for inciting racial hatred in Britain. He was also arrested in his native Jamaica in 2017, Elizabeth Rosner and Emily Crane report for the New York Post.
He has pleaded not guilty to the five charges against him, including conspiracy as a crime of terrorism and soliciting or providing support for an act of terrorism.
If convicted, Faisal faces up to 25 years in prison.