Jury Finds “Radical Cleric” From Jamaica Guilty In First NYS Terrorism Trial

The case against Shaikh Faisal, who attempted to lure an undercover NYPD officer to become an ISIL bride, ended in court on Jan. 26 with a five-count conviction from the jury. It’s New York’s first “full trial” of an international terrorism case.

| 27 Jan 2023 | 12:46

Jury deliberations came down swiftly on Thursday, Jan. 26 against Shaikh Faisal, 59, who beginning in 2016 attempted to lure an undercover NYPD officer to aid ISIL fighters and broker a marriage between her and someone on the ground, according to the indictment. New Yorkers found Faisal guilty of all five counts against him, based on a years-long history of spreading propaganda online and communicating via text and email to recruit Americans to join ISIL.

Next, his sentence will be issued on Feb. 9.

“This defendant threatened the safety of thousands by providing material support for an international terrorist organization,” NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell said in a statement, released after the conviction was made. The jury verdict is the latest development in a New York first: a “full trial,” as a press officer described it, in which the Manhattan District Attorney’s office went after a suspect on international terrorism charges. Post-9/11 anti-terror laws “created a way for the state to pursue them,” she said.

“This case was about the far reach of crimes committed by Shaikh Faisal and the promotion of terrorism,” Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg said in a statement following the verdict. “Faisal aided ISIS as it committed horrific violence against innocent people.”

Faisal, a Jamaican preacher born Trevor William Forrest, coached an undercover NYPD officer to use an “encrypted chat tool” and communicated with her via text, email and video, according to a press release. He then attempted to arrange her marriage to a member of ISIL, when she said she was CPR certified and wanted to help ISIL fighters on the ground in Iraq and Syria.

“Do you want the cell number of the brother u can marry,” he texted the officer, according to the indictment.

Two decades ago, Faisal served four years in prison in Britain, after being convicted of “inciting racial hatred and soliciting murder after encouraging the killing of Hindus, Jews and Americans,” the New York Times reported.

“Do you want the cell number of the brother u can marry?” Shaikh Faisal, convicted on terrorism charges that included trying to recruit NYPD agent to be an ISIL bride