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July 3, 2014

Colorado Arrest Highlights Increasing Pull Of ISIS

shannon-maureen-conley-isis-iraq-terrorism-denver

Shannon Maureen Conley

The arrest of a 19 year-old Colorado woman in April for attempting to travel to Syria to aid the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), demonstrates the increased allure of ISIS and the Syria conflict for Americans looking to join terror groups abroad. The arrest was made public today.

The woman, Shannon Maureen Conley, was arrested on April 8, 2014, at Denver International Airport, where she was attempting to board a flight to Germany en route to Iraq. According to court documents, Conley was apparently hoping to meet and marry an ISIS member with whom she had been communicating online. She then allegedly hoped to use her skills as a nurse on behalf of ISIS, or to fight with them “if necessary.”

Conley reportedly had attempted to receive U.S. military training that she hoped to use to aid ISIS by joining the U.S. Army Explorers, a program that exposes youth to military career opportunities and occupational skills. In conversations with FBI agents, she allegedly referred to U.S. military bases as “targets.”

Conley appears to have been influenced by online terrorist propaganda, communicated with alleged ISIS members on the Internet and, according to court documents, allegedly possessed a series of “materials about jihad and Al-Qaeda” including “a number of CD/DVDs labeled ‘Anwar al-Awlaki.’”

Conley went by the name Halima on her Facebook profile, where she described her job as “Slave of Allah.”

Conley is one of 5 U.S. citizens arrested this year on terrorism charges, 4 of whom were charged with attempting to join terrorist organizations in Syria – Michael Todd Wolfe of Texas and Nicholas Teausant of California also allegedly attempted to join ISIS, while Mohammad Hassan Hamdan of Michigan allegedly attempted to join Hezbollah. Conley, Wolfe and Teausant are also all converts to Islam.

Intelligence estimates indicate that at least 100 Americans have travelled to join the Syria conflict since it began in 2011. Altogether, between 12,000 and 15,000 foreign fighters are believed to have joined the conflict.

Court documents indicate that Conley also exhibited threatening behavior at home, drawing diagrams of and threatening a local church, which she claimed to particularly hate for its support of Israel.

She reportedly posted a link to her Facebook page from “Acknowledge Apartheid Exists” about a Palestinian farmer who was supposedly shot by Israeli troops.

Although there have been significant terror threats from a number of women such as Colleen LaRose (“Jihad Jane”), women are arrested on terror charges far less often than men. The ADL has documented 13 female citizens and permanent residents of the U.S. arrested on terrorism charges since 2002.

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April 25, 2014

Revolution Muslim Leader Sentenced To 2.5 Years For Threatening Jews

Yousef al-Khattab, the co-founder and for­mer leader of Rev­o­lu­tion Mus­lim (RM) was sentenced today to 2.5 years in prison on charges of threatening Jews and Jewish institutions.yousef-al-khattab-revolution-muslim-sentenced-prison

RM, a fringe anti-Semitic Mus­lim orga­ni­za­tion that jus­ti­fied ter­ror­ist attacks and other forms of vio­lence for many years, was mostly active in New York until the end of 2010, after which it was shut down and began oper­at­ing as Islam Pol­icy.

Al-Khattab’s sentencing makes him the last of RM’s leaders to be imprisoned.

Al-Khattab, a.k.a. Joseph Leonard Cohen, cofounded RM in 2007 with Younes Abdul­lah Muham­mad, and served as the group’s amir (leader) and “chief exec­u­tive offi­cer” until Decem­ber 2009, when he announced that he was mov­ing to Tetouan, Morocco.

Al-Khattab’s threats against the Jew­ish com­mu­nity on the RM site were both extensive and shocking. They included a video encour­ag­ing view­ers to seek out the lead­ers of Jew­ish Fed­er­a­tion chap­ters in the U.S. and “deal with them directly at their homes;” direc­tions to spe­cific Jew­ish facil­i­ties along­side a link to a man­ual for con­struct­ing and using explo­sive devices and a mes­sage encour­ag­ing read­ers to “make EVERY attempt to reach these peo­ple and teach them the mes­sage of Islam;” and a poem list­ing ways that Jews can be hurt includ­ing throw­ing “liq­uid drain cleaner in their faces” and burn­ing “their flam­ma­ble sukkos while they sleep.”

Although it is no longer active, the RM site continues to influence homegrown extremists. Terry Lee Loewen, who attempted to bomb the Wichita Mid-Continent Airport in Kansas in December 2013, claimed to have been influenced by the site and allegedly had been sending money to the family of Younes Abdul­lah Muham­mad.

Additional home­grown ter­ror­ists associated with the RM web­site, YouTube chan­nel and asso­ci­ated online forums have includ­ed Zachary Chesser, Samir KhanJose PimentelCar­los Eduardo Almonte, Mohamed Mah­mood Alessa, and Colleen LaRose (“Jihad Jane”).

ADL recently released a report exploring the influence of online extremism, including detailed information on RM’s impact.

Yousef Al-Khattab was born in New York where he was raised as an obser­vant Jew. He later lived in Israel.  He claims that he con­verted to Islam fol­low­ing a series of online con­ver­sa­tions focus­ing on rejec­tion of Judaism and hatred of Jews.

Al-Khattab expressed remorse in court and claims to have denounced his past views, and regularly posts rejections of them on Facebook and Twitter. This represents a change from as recently as February 2012, when al-Khattab released a 20-minute video on YouTube express­ing his belief that he will be arrested and defend­ing the state­ments he has issued online over the years.

Today’s sentencing follows al-Khattab’s October 31, 2013 guilty plea.

The other lead­ers of RM, You­nis Abdul­lah Muham­mad and Zachary Chesser, were sen­tenced to prison in 2012 and 2011 respectively.

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November 1, 2013

Revolution Muslim Leader Who Threatened Jews Pleads Guilty

Yousef al-Khattab, the co-founder and former leader of Revolution Muslim (RM) pleaded guilty on Thursday to using the internet to threaten Jewish organizations.yousef-al-khattab-guilty

Al-Khattab is the third member of RM to plead guilty for making online threats in the past few years, bringing the fringe anti-Semitic Muslim organization that justified terrorist attacks and other forms of violence for many years one step closer to its demise.

RM was mostly active in New York until the end of 2010, after which it was shut down and began operating as Islam Policy.

Al-Khattab, a.k.a. Joseph Leonard Cohen, cofounded RM in 2007 with Younes Abdullah Muhammad, and served as the group’s amir (leader) and “chief executive officer” until December 2009, when he announced that he was moving to Tetouan, Morocco.

The extent of Al-Khattab’s threats against the Jewish community on the RM site was jarring. They included a video encouraging viewers to seek out the leaders of Jewish Federation chapters in the U.S. and “deal with them directly at their homes;” directions to specific Jewish facilities alongside a link to a manual for constructing and using explosive devices and a message encouraging readers to “make EVERY attempt to reach these people and teach them the message of Islam;” and a poem listing ways that Jews can be hurt including throwing “liquid drain cleaner in their faces” and burning “their flammable sukkos while they sleep.”

Through its website, YouTube channel and associated online forums, RM was associated with a number of prominent and lesser known homegrown terrorists including Zachary Chesser, Samir Khan, Jose Pimentel, Carlos Eduardo Almonte, Mohamed Mahmood Alessa, and Colleen LaRose (“Jihad Jane”).

Al-Khattab was born in New York where he was raised as an observant Jew. He later lived in Israel.  He claims that he converted to Islam following a series of online conversations focusing on rejection of Judaism and hatred of Jews.

Hours after his plea deal, Al-Khattab posted a message on his Facebook page stating that “My former views do NOT represent Islam,” calling those views “disgusting,” asking for forgiveness, and advising Muslim youth to “avoid the books of Ibn Taymiah, Muhammad Abdul Whahab, [Islamist ideologues] and anyone that supports them.”

Last year, al-Khattab released a 20-minute video on YouTube expressing his belief that he will be arrested and defending the state­ments he has issued online over the years.

The other leaders of RM, Younis Abdullah Muhammad and Zachary Chesser, were sentenced to prison in 2012 and 2011 respectively.

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