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london cleric convicted for soliciting murder in s

  1. Feb. 24, 2003
    London cleric convicted for soliciting murder in sermons

    A Muslim cleric who allegedly urged followers to kill "nonbelievers" was convicted Monday of soliciting murder.

    A jury at the Old Bailey found Sheikh Abdullah el-Faisal guilty of three charges of soliciting murder, and three charges of incitement of racial hatred.

    Sentencing was set for March 7.

    El-Faisal, 39, denied encouraging anyone to commit murder, making threatening or abusive tape recordings and stirring up racial hatred.

    Prosecutors said el-Faisal preached across Britain and sold Arabic-language tapes of his speeches in specialist shops. They said his sermons encouraged followers to kill Hindus, Jews and Americans.

    El-Faisal, a Jamaican-born convert to Islam, was arrested in February and jailed for six months before being released on bail.

    His lawyers argued that he was a respected cleric whose quotations from scripture have been taken out of context.

    The case was the first prosecution in more than a century under the 1861 Offenses against the Person Act of soliciting murder against persons unknown.

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