LONDON – A Muslim cleric accused of inciting followers to murder "nonbelievers" was shown on tape Thursday promising an audience that religious martyrs would be rewarded with 72 virgins in paradise.
The tape played in a London courtroom also showed Abdullah el-Faisal urging British Muslim boys to spend their school vacations learning how to use Kalashnikov rifles.
But el-Faisal, 39, denies encouraging "others to murder persons unknown," making threatening or abusive recordings and stirring up racial hatred.
Prosecutors say el-Faisal preached across Britain and sold Arabic-language tapes of his speeches in specialist shops.
They showed the jury at London's Old Bailey court a video of el-Faisal addressing a study group not long after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the United States.
El-Faisal is heard telling the gathering that it is the duty of Muslim women to bring up their sons "with a Jihad [holy war] mentality — not to be wimps."
Boys should train as soldiers for Islam from the age of 15, he said, adding, "Is it sensible for you to be soldiers without Kalashnikov training?
"So when you are on holiday from school or college, you must have Jihad training — this is your holiday."
He went on, "Even if you are hit by a cruise missile, the pain will feel like that of a mosquito bite."
The rewards for religious martyrdom include the company of 72 virgins and eating the fruits of paradise, he said.
"Religious martyrs are not dead. Do not cry for them. There is a conspiracy against Jihad," he added.
"Democracy is not the way forward. The only way to liberate land and man is Jihad. The way forward is the bullet. Our motto is, 'Might is right."'
El-Faisal, a Jamaican-born convert to Islam, was arrested in February and jailed for six months before being released on bail. He denies the charges.
"I do not hate anyone," he said after leaving jail in August.
His lawyers say he is a respected cleric whose quotations from scripture have been taken out of context.