The hate cleric deported from Kenya in January helped inspire the man accused of an attempted car bombing in New York’s Times Square earlier this month, a US radio network reported.
Abdullah al Faisal, a 46-year-old Muslim preacher, was deported from Kenya to his native Jamaica for allegedly recruiting on behalf of al Shabaab, the Islamist group fighting to overthrow Somalia’s government.
“Kenyans were worried about what I might say, not anything I did say,” Sheikh al Faisal told National Public Radio.
Kenyan authorities “overreacted,” he added in an interview in Jamaica with the US news outlet.
Citing sources close to the investigation of the May 1 Times Square incident, the radio said the accused attacker, Faisal Shahzad, has named the radical cleric as a motivator of his actions via the Internet.
Mr Shahzad, a 30-year-old Pakistani-American, has reportedly been cooperating with US authorities.
He was arrested while attempting to flee New York on a plane bound for Dubai two days after allegedly trying to ignite a car filled with explosives on a crowded Manhattan street.
Sheikh al Faisal has also been linked to a suicide bomber who attacked transport targets in London five years ago.
He was imprisoned in the UK in 2003 for calling on his followers to kill Jews, Americans and Hindus.
Sheikh al Faisal was deported from the UK after serving four years and then came to Africa.
Prior to crossing into Kenya from Tanzania last December, Sheikh al Faisal had visited Nigeria, Angola, Mozambique, Swaziland and Malawi.