A prominent Muslim cleric in the United States has been sentenced to life in prison for urging his followers to fight U.S. troops in Afghanistan following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

A court in Alexandria, Virginia handed down the sentence Wednesday in the case against Ali al-Timimi.  The sentence comes three months after the Islamic scholar was convicted.

Prosecutors said al-Timimi, during a meeting in the days after the terrorist attacks, urged his followers to support the Taleban regime in Afghanistan.

Three of his followers later went to Pakistan, where they received military training, but never arrived in Afghanistan.

Defense attorneys said the cleric had suggested the men leave the United States for their own protection.

Some information for this report provided by AFP and AP.