Islamist Propagandist Abdullah Al-Faisal Has Been Linked To 52 Other Extremists
(New York, N.Y.) – Last week, U.S.-Specially Designated Global Terrorist and Islamist propagandist Abdullah al-Faisal was extradited to New York from Jamaica to face charges of supporting terrorism by conspiring to recruit followers and fighters for ISIS. The radical cleric is considered one of the most influential terrorists in the world and is well-known for his use of fiery online rhetoric and militant propoganda. Many of his social media accounts have been suspended, although channels on the Telegram and PalTalk communication platforms affiliated with his Islamist propaganda group—Authentic Tauheed—remain online. The Counter Extremism Project (CEP) has noted that even though its main website has been shut down, Authentic Tauheed and its propaganda remain online through a WordPress site. Authentic Tauheed also featured Faisal’s lectures in a podcast that remains available on multiple websites.
To read CEP’s Extremism Spotlight: Abdullah al-Faisal’s Ties to Extremists, please click here.
CEP has documented a total of 52 extremists linked to Faisal. Of these, 26 are violent extremists, 12 are successful or attempted foreign fighters, and 18 are propagandists (some extremists are counted in multiple categories). As a popular cleric among jihadists, Faisal had amassed thousands of followers on a variety of social media websites, promoting murder, violence against women, and condoning the use of chemical weapons on non-believers.
Faisal’s lectures, website, and videos 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 fighters who traveled abroad 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. One of the most notorious propagandists of all time, al-Qaeda operative Anwar al-Awlaki, corresponded directly with Faisal.
Faisal was first arrested in 2003 by in the United Kingdom for inciting hatred and soliciting murder against minority groups. He was deported to Jamaica after serving a four-year sentence and placed on an international terrorist watch list. On August 25, 2017, the New York County District Attorney’s Office charged Faisal with five counts of recruiting and providing support to those seeking to commit acts of violence and terrorism in connection with ISIS after reviewing evidence from an undercover police officer’s online interactions with al-Faisal.
To read CEP’s report, Abdullah al-Faisal’s Ties To Extremists, please click here.
To read CEP’s Abdullah al-Faisal resource, please click here.
Abdullah al-Faisal’s Online Presence
Abdullah al-Faisal previously maintained an extensive web presence through the Islamist website Authentic Tauheed. Authentic Tauheed maintained a Blogspot blog at www.authentictauheed.com and a Twitter account, @AuthenticTauhid. Online since 2010, the Twitter account had more than 1,000 followers as of December 2017. The account advertised a twice daily lecture by Faisal. The Twitter account has since been suspended. The Authentic Tauheed website maintained a blog that featured Faisal, as well as al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula propagandist Anwar al-Awlaki and jailed British propagandist Omar Bakri Muhammad. The blog’s owners also maintained accounts on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. Most of these accounts have since been suspended.
Website: The Authentic Tauheed website contained hundreds of Faisal’s lectures and essays. The site used Google’s Blogger platform, with Go Montenegro Domains as the registrar and Domains by Proxy (owned by Go Daddy) as the registrant contact. The site has since been suspended. The Blogspot website’s precursor website, hosted by WordPress, remains online and maintains an archive of Authentic Tauheed posts from 2010. One Faisal sermon from August 13, 2010, declares that Islam will be “victorious over all (other) religions” while the “kuffar [non-believers] slander and reject faith in the prophets.” That same sermon also declares, “Capitalism and democracy will be soon in their graves!” A July 31, 2010, post by Faisal labels the Bible an “enemy of humanity” that promotes incest. The site also hosts sermons by U.S. Islamist propagandist Ahmad Musa Jibril, who has reportedly influenced Westerners to fight in the Syrian conflict. WordPress’s User Guidelines prohibit content that “threatens, incites, or promotes violence, physical harm, or death.”
Facebook: Authentic Tauheed’s primary Facebook account had more than 11,300 followers as of December 2017. The account has since been suspended. A second Authentic Tauheed Facebook account remains online but has not been updated since 2017 and has only 17 followers as of August 17, 2020. A third Authentic Tauheed account remains online but has not been updated since 2014 and has 233 followers as of August 17, 2020. That page advertises Authentic Tauheed’s active PalTalk account and defunct Twitter account. A Facebook group, previously called “Authentic Tauheed Question and Answer,” had 6,415 members as of August 17, 2020. The group changed its name to “o” on May 15, 2020. It has no other public posts. According to the group’s description, “Shaykh Abdullah Faisal, Jamaica ...will be happy to answer your ??s here.”
Podcasts: Authentic Tauheed podcasts of Faisal lectures remain available on multiple websites: Listen Notes, Blubrry, https://profluentdeserttortoise.htmlpasta.com/, and Player FM.
YouTube: Authentic Tauheed’s YouTube channel, ATmovement2000, hosted 48 videos mostly featuring Faisal. The account has since been suspended. A YouTube search for “Abdullah Faisal” led to 2,360 results on August 17, 2020.
PalTalk: The Authentic Tauheed PalTalk channel remains active and had 1,744 followers as of August 17, 2020. The channel is owned by a user named “Shaikh Faisal_2000.” The channel appears to be inactive and has not gained new members since 2017.
Telegram: An Authentic Tauheed channel on Telegram had 97 members as of August 17, 2020. The channel features links to Faisal’s speeches, including praise of ISIS’s caliphate. The channel has not been updated since 2016.
Twitter: Authentic Tauheed’s Twitter account had more than 1,000 followers as of December 2017 but has since been suspended.