The Trump administration on Tuesday designated a Jamaican-based Islamic cleric for his ties to numerous terrorist attacks carried out in the United States and the United Kingdom. According to the Treasury Department, Abdullah Ibrahim al-Faisal influenced many terrorists involved in attacks in Ohio, New York, Texas, and Michigan. He also had a role or connection to the Richard Reid matter, the 2001 shoe bomber case.
Al-Faisal was named as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) and added to a U.S. government watch list. The designation or blacklisting of al-Faisal prohibits persons subject to U.S. law from doing business with him. If al-Faisal had any bank accounts or other property within a U.S. jurisdiction, it was likely frozen or can be in the future. In other words, al-Faisal’s access to the United States and the U.S. financial markets has been blocked.
“Faisal has recruited for and provided support to ISIS, and his actions have influenced terrorists who engaged in bomb plots and other horrific attacks on innocent civilians,” said U.S. Treasury OFAC Director John E. Smith. “This designation will help deter Faisal’s global following and prevent U.S. persons from supporting him in any manner.”
According to the OFAC press release,
al-Faisal provided recruitment services to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and was blacklisted for assisting in, sponsoring, or providing financial, material, or technological support for, or financial or other services to or in support of ISIS.
On August 25, 2017, the New York County District Attorney’s office for the State of New York unsealed an indictment charging al-Faisal with recruiting and providing support to those seeking to commit acts of violence and terrorism in connection with ISIS. al-Faisal is currently facing extradition proceedings in Jamaica.
Faisal facilitated and helped connect ISIS recruits with those who could arrange travel and entry into ISIS-controlled territory in order to join ISIS. Moreover, the OFAC press statement says that he helped hide those seeking to join ISIS or travel to the ISIS-controlled territory. Faisal is also an ISIS-trusted individual who has vouched for those seeking to join ISIS.
This particular fellow has had an online presence for many years, and according to the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies al-Faisal has “pushed his jihadist message long before the rise of the Islamic State.” I wonder, why has it take so long to muzzle this fellow? Have Jamaican authorities cooperated with American law enforcement? What were his ties, if any, to like-minded fellow travelers in the Americas?
The Trump administration announcement and designation is a reminder that there are bad actors perched throughout the Western Hemisphere, including in Latin America and the Caribbean connected to radical Islamic terrorist organizations.
From Cuba’s cozy relationship with the Iranian regime and other radical Islamic actors, Venezuela’s Vice President’s ties to Hizbollah, and plenty of other dangerous characters throughout the Americas, it appears that much needs to be done to break whatever network these state and non-state actors have created in Latin Amerca and the Caribbean.