Jamaican Muslim cleric Sheikh Abdullah al-Faisal spent a second night yesterday (Saturday) in the custody of the Kenyan Anti-Terrorism Police Unit (ATPU) who arrested him in Mombasa on new year’s eve and held him on a holding charge of breaching immigration regulations.
Sheikh al-Faisal is being held at the Kilindini Port Police Station where the ATPU have issued orders that he should not be seen by anyone. The police have not formally said why he was being held but when he was arrested at the Nyali suburbs they claimed he had gone against his tourist visa by giving lectures and addressing congregations in Mosques. When his hosts were asked to take him his baggage yesterday morning (Saturday) they were told he would be deported. However later on Friday afternoon a source said they were still investigating his movements and had taken his laptop to Nairobi for expert analysis on the request of an unnamed foreign country which had issues with the cleric.
Jan. 3rd 2009, Yesterday, Assistant Commissioner of Police Glenmore Hinds said local law enforcement officials were aware that al-Faisal had left the island for Africa over a year ago. “We knew when he left and where he was going,” said Hinds. “He has been there for over a year. al-Faisal was spotted in South Africa Nigeria and Kenya.”
Hinds could not say what route the influential Muslim leader took to get to the African continent but said it was not through the US or Britain. “We know he didn’t take a direct route,” Hinds told the Sunday Observer. Hinds also said that the Jamaican authorities could not stop al-Faisal from preaching in Jamaica. However, “if he is preaching incitement to violence, then that would be something else”, said Hinds.
In 2007 Sheikh al-Faisal was deported from Britain where he had lived for twenty years to his native Jamaica for allegedly preaching “hatred against Jews, Hindus and Westerners”. He had been jailed in 2003 for the offense. Al-Faisal, who is from St James in Jamaica, left the island for the UK 26 years ago.
Born Trevor William Forrest, he earned the nicknamed “Dictionary” because of his vocabulary. His parents were Salvation Army officers and he was raised as a Christian, but when he was aged 16 he went to Saudi Arabia – where he became a Muslim and spent eight years studying Islam at Madina University and later took a degree in Islamic Studies in the Saudi capital of Riyadh before going to the UK. It was not clear whether Britain had requested his removal from Kenya.
ATPU officers in Mombasa however claimed the arrest was over immigration offenses but “he was of general interest to the unit”