Jihad in Jamaica: How a Radical Cleric's Arrest Reveals A Link Between ISIS and the Caribbean

Dub reggae, tropical fruit, cajun eats and Rastafarianism are just some of the things people might associate with Jamaica, but this week the Caribbean island was linked with a more sinister subject: radical Islamism.

On Friday, the Manhattan District Attorney indicted a radical Islamist cleric in absentia on charges of recruiting for the Islamic State militant group (ISIS). But 53-year-old Sheikh Abdullah el-Faisal—also known as Trevor William Forrest—was not arrested in New York, but in Kingston, the capital of Jamaica.

A small number of Jamaicans and other foreign fighters from the Caribbean, numbering no more than 200, have travelled to Iraq and Syria since 2013 to join ISIS. Returning jihadis in Europe have documented encounters with them. Harry Sarfo, a German who returned home and is now in jail, said Caribbean natives he met during his training were sometimes members of special ISIS units, such as Jaysh al-Khalifa, or the Army of the Caliphate.

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