For immediate release | Friday, June 21, 2019

Extremism Spotlight: Abdullah al-Faisal’s Ties to Extremists

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ISIS Propagandist Has Radicalized And Inspired Dozens Toward Terrorism And Violence

(New York, N.Y.) - Abdullah al-Faisal is a U.S.-designated Islamist propagandist who has recruited for ISIS and facilitated travel to ISIS-held territory. The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, in announcing his indictment, said Faisal’s lectures, websites, and videos have incited “untold numbers of people around the world to take up the cause of jihad.” New York Police Commissioner James O’Neill echoed similar sentiments, saying Faisal “has used his influence and direction to groom and inspire terrorists who have bombed trains, attempted to blow up airliners and attack Americans here and abroad.”

“Just like Awlaki, Qaradawi, and Jibril, Faisal is another glaring example of the danger and harm that results when radical extremists are allowed to remain online. They spread their messages of hate, incite to violence, and in this case, even influence each other,” said CEP Executive Director David Ibsen. “That is why when it comes to online content moderation, an industry-wide standard is an immediate necessity. Restricting content that promotes or is produced by groups on U.S., EU, and U.N. sanctions lists, as well as individuals with proven links to terror and violence, is a common sense starting point.”

CEP has documented a total of 49 extremists linked to Abdullah al-Faisal. Of these, 25 are violent extremists, 12 are successful or attempted foreign fighters, and 17 are propagandists. One of the most notorious propagandists of all time, al-Qaeda operative Anwar al-Awlaki, corresponded directly with Faisal. Together with fellow Islamic radical Samir Kahn, Awlaki launched the English-language magazine Inspire, used as a means of terrorist propaganda and instruction. Leaders and members of Revolution Muslim aided in the development of the magazine.

Faisal’s lectures, website, and videos have influenced attacks at The Ohio State University in 2016 and in Garland, Texas, in 2015, among others. Trinidadian Imam Umar Abdullah credited Faisal’s propaganda for influencing the more than 100 foreign fighters who traveled from Trinidad and Tobago, where Faisal’s recordings first gained popularity in the 1990s. Faisal has also since been linked to such notorious propagandists and violent extremists as pro-ISIS propagandist Anjem Choudary, 7/7 bomber Germaine Lindsay, and “underwear bomber” Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab.

Previously, CEP spotlighted Faisal’s extensive online reach, despite his status as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist by the U.S. Department of the Treasury and “violent extremist ideologue” by the U.S. National Counterterrorism Center. A simple search for Faisal’s name across YouTube, Google, and other platforms yielded thousands of results. Faisal’s own personal website, Authentic Tauheed, contained hundreds of his lectures and essays. “Silicon Valley looks the other way while Faisal’s radical teachings make their way all over the Internet, allowing everyone access to the rantings and ravings of a man fleeing federal authorities. It is past time for them to scrub his presence from their platforms,” Ibsen stated.

To read CEP’s resource, Abdullah al-Faisal’s Ties To Extremists, please click here

To read CEP’s previous Extremism Spotlight on Abdullah al-Faisal, please click here.