This week, the Counter Extremism Project (CEP) spotlights ISIS propagandist Abdullah al-Faisal. Faisal is classified by the U.S. National Counterterrorism Center as a “violent extremist ideologue” and by the U.S. Department of the Treasury as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist who foments radicalization, terrorism and violence on the Internet. Faisal is currently fighting extradition from Jamaica to the United States on a charge of aiding an undercover police officer posing as a potential ISIS recruit. He has previously served four years in a British prison from 2003 to 2007 for soliciting murder and inciting racial hatred.
“Abdullah al-Faisal is an internationally banned Islamic propagandist who has been convicted for encouraging violence and inspiring others terrorist action,” said CEP Executive Director David Ibsen. “Terror propagandists such as Faisal need to have their online presence permanently removed from the public consciousness before they cause more irreparable harm. Yet, 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.”
However, U.S.-based web service companies continue to irresponsibly provide Faisal and his supporters a platform – despite the likely fact that their terms of service should cover a known ISIS surrogate wanted by the U.S. government. A simple search for “Abdullah Faisal” yields thousands of results across YouTube, Google and a variety of other sites. Faisal’s own personal website, Authentic Tauheed, contains hundreds of his lectures and essays. Faisal most recently uploaded a lecture there on August 16, 2017.
Faisal has had a lengthy career advocating for violence. He allegedly attempted to persuade British audiences to attend Afghan terrorist training camps. After he was released from a British prison, he partnered with the pro-al-Qaeda website, Revolution Muslim, before starting his own pro-ISIS website, Authentic Tauheed. His online lectures have reportedly radicalized terror suspects in the U.S., U.K. and India. Notably, former U.K. Home Secretary John Reid affirmed that Faisal “strongly influenced” Germaine Lindsay, one of the 7/7 bombers who killed 26 people and injured more than 340.
Abdullah al-Faisal’s Online Presence
Website: Faisal’s personal website, Authentic Tauheed, contains hundreds of his lectures and essays. Faisal most recently uploaded a lecture on August 16, 2017. Audio files are hosted by the Internet Archive, and embedded on the site. The site uses Google’s Blogger platform, with Go Montenegro Domains as the registrar and Domains by Proxy (owned by Go Daddy) as the registrant contact. In its Terms of Service, Go Montenegro Domains (which is now known as Domains Priced Right) specifically prohibits content that “promotes, encourages or engages in terrorism, violence against people, animals, or property …”
YouTube: A search for “Abdullah Faisal” on YouTube led to 2,440 results on January 30, 2019. Two YouTube channels, with 824 and 98 subscribers respectively, together contained 87 of Faisal’s videos and registered more than 127,500 views. Both channels were created in 2011.
Twitter: While Abdullah Faisal’s original Twitter account has been suspended, other accounts still spread his message. According to the Authentic Tauheed website’s disclaimer dated June 20, 2011, other accounts spreading his message are not official. However, it is possible that Faisal has created a new Twitter account in the years since. A Twitter handle active between May 18, 2013 and October 29, 2016 has 992 followers as of January 30, 2019.
Internet Archive: A search for “Abdullah Faisal” on the Internet Archive led to 520 results on January 30, 2019. This included 429 audio files, 79 texts and 12 movies. Combined, over 130 audio files of Faisal’s lectures have more than 1,000 views. Many of Faisal’s lectures on the Internet Archive are embedded on his personal website.
PalTalk: Faisal rose to notoriety with his sermons and classes on the video chat program PalTalk. While his original PalTalk chat room is no longer active, there is still an “Authentic Tauheed” PalTalk room with 1,745 followers owned by a user with the name “Shaikh Faisal_2000”. All signs indicate that this room is inactive.