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August 20, 2002

Muslim accused of incitement to be released on bail

A Muslim shaykh, accused of ‘encouraging’ people to murder Jews, is to be released on bail on Wednesday after being held at Belmarsh top security prison in south-east London for the past six months, The Muslim News has learnt.
Shaykh Abdullah el-Faisal, a 38-year old Jamaican-born convert, was arrested by British anti-terrorist squad officers at his home in Stratford, east London on February 21.
According to his counsel Irfan Butt, the Old Bailey Criminal Court on Monday surprisingly granted an application for his release when the six-month detention time limit, allowed for all but the most difficult criminal cases, expires.
El-Faisal is charged with soliciting, encouraging, persuading or endeavouring to persuade any person to murder any other person under Offences Against the Person Act 1861, which has not been used for over a 100 years. He is also accused of inciting racial hatred under the 1986 Public Order Act.
His trial, which is due to be held next January, is expected to focus on comments that the Shaykh has made about Hindus and Jews in religious sermons.
Some British newspapers have suggested that the case in effect will be unprecedented in be putting the Qur’an on trial with experts from the Middle East due to give evidence.
El-Faisal’s arrest followed a complaint made by Labour MP, Andrew Dismore, Vice-Chairman of Labour Friends of Israel, who wrote to Home Secretary David Blunkett, calling for tough action to be taken against what he called the spread of anti-Semitic propaganda.
Liberal Democrat peer, Lord Alton, who has actively supported the anti-Iranian MKO terrorist group, has pursued his case, asking the Government after his arrest why no criminal proceedings had been brought.
The British Government has suffered a trilogy of setbacks in arresting Muslims for claimed terrorist-related offences following the events of September 11 in the US.
Algerian pilot, Lofti Raissi, accused of teaching the September 11 suicide hijackers, was released in February without charge, after spending five months in jail on a failed extradition application from the US.
Yasser al-Siri, a Muslim bookseller, was freed from prison last month after Bow Street magistrate’s court in London also threw out a US extradition request.
Three weeks ago, the Special Immigration Appeals Court ruled that the detention of nine foreign Muslims without trial was unlawful because the government’s emergency anti-terrorism law passed last December was “discriminatory.”

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