McDonald’s and Burger King. Coke and Pepsi. Anwar al-Awlaki and Sheikh Abdullah el-Faisal. Counterterrorism officials have already identified the biggest terrorist threat to U.S. soil: radicalized American citizens converted to jihadism by English-preaching imams giving sermons on the Internet. Now the NYPD, CIA, and FBI are worried Jamaican imam el-Faisal is trying to battle American-born al-Awlaki for market share. Like al-Awlaki, el-Faisal claims to have inspired failed Times Square bomber Faisal Shahzad and failed airplane underwear bomber Farouk Abdulmutallab. A law enforcement source told the Daily News that el-Faisal “has a big ego” and hates “playing second fiddle” to al-Awlaki, who’s being targeted by the U.S. for his role in the Fort Hood shootings and the underwear-bomb attempt. Terror expert Evan Kohlmann says that el-Faisal shares the same charisma as al-Awlaki, but el-Faisal is “willing to say things that would make even Awlaki turn pale.”
What could shock a man whose rantings are so destructive that the military is permitted to assassinate him on sight? Well, there was that time el-Faisal said that the “aim and objective of jihad is to kill [nonbelievers] to lessen the population.” Oh, right. Since the Islamic Council of Jamaica banned him from speaking in mosques in February, el-Faisal has gone the way of most fame-seeking fringe characters: YouTube. Earlier this month, YouTube gave into political pressure and took down some of the hundreds of videos by al-Awlaki posted on the site.