Radical cleric taken to Gambia

2010-01-07 12:33

Nairobi - A radical Muslim cleric who once led a London mosque attended by convicted terrorists was deported Thursday from Kenya to the West African nation of Gambia, an official said.

Sheik Abdullah el-Faisal left on a Kenya Airways flight to Nigeria, where he will take a connecting flight to Banjul, Gambia. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not authorised to release the information.

El-Faisal was arrested in Kenya for violating the terms of his visa. He was taken into custody outside a mosque in the coastal city of Mombasa.

He had been stuck in Kenya after nations including Britain, South Africa and Tanzania refused to let him transit through their countries.

The cleric once led a British mosque attended by convicted terrorists Richard Reid and Zacarias Moussaoui. El-Faisal is also blamed for heavily influencing a suicide bomber who took part in attacks on London's transit network in 2005 that killed 52 people.

El-Faisal once served four years in a British prison for inciting murder and stirring racial hatred.

The head of Jamaica's Muslim community expressed alarm on Wednesday over the pending return of el-Faisal. Mustafa Muhammad said he would encourage Jamaica's Muslims to "pay close attention to anything that raises alarms" if el-Faisal returns.