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November 19, 2013

ADL’s Terrorism Update Focuses On How FTOs Attract American Recruits

The November edi­tion of Ter­ror­ism Update, ADL’s newslet­ter pro­vid­ing news and analy­sis on inter­na­tional ter­ror­ist orga­ni­za­tions and their fol­low­ers in the U.S., is now avail­able to our subscribers.

The fea­ture arti­cle focuses on Al Shabaab, the Al Qaeda affiliate organization in Somalia, and its capacity to attract American recruits to its cause. Al Shabaab claimed that three Americans participated in the group’s deadly attack this September on the Westgate Mall in Nterrorism-update-subscribe-adlairobi, Kenya, and nearly 50 other American citizens and permanent residents have either travelled to Somalia or have otherwise aided the terrorist organization since 2007.

The Profile in Terror features Omar Hammami, an American citizen from Alabama who once served as a primary English-language recruiter for Al Shabaab before he was apparently killed by other Al Shabaab members on September 13, 2013.

This edi­tion of Terrorism Update also includes infor­ma­tion on a recent terror-related arrest in North Carolina, which under­scores a con­tin­ued trend of Amer­i­cans attempt­ing to join ter­ror­ist groups in the Syr­ian con­flict, as well as arrests in New York and California.

An update on one of the leaders of Revolution Muslim, the fringe anti-Semitic Muslim organization based in New York that justified terrorist attacks and other forms of violence against non-Muslims, is also highlighted in this edition, as is ADL’s collection of resources on Inspire Magazine, the English-language propaganda magazine produced by Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

Readers can subscribe to the ADL Terrorism Update to automatically receive the bi-monthly newsletter.

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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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February 15, 2012

Revolution Muslim Leader Yousef al-Khattab Anticipates Arrest

Update: On June 22, 2012, Muhammad was sentenced to 11.5 years in prison.

Yousef al-Khattab, cofounder and former leader of the fringe extremist Muslim organization Revolution Muslim, has released a 20-minute video on YouTube responding to Younes Abdullah Muhammad’s guilty plea last week to charges of using the Internet to conspire to solicit murder and make threatening communications.

Al-Khattab, who headed Revolution Muslim with Muhammad between 2007 and December 2009, infused the group’s activity with his provocative style and virulent hatred of Jews, especially Orthodox Jewry.

In his video, al-Khattab spends much of the time talking about the fine line between free speech and “being a mouthpiece for the mujahedeen,” as well as his relationship and activity with Muhammad during their time with Revolution Muslim. Although he concludes that he never “did break the law,” he expresses his belief that he too will be arrested.

He also defends the statements he has issued online over the years. “I’ll never shut up….everything that I have said when it comes to the issue of Zionists or America’s foreign policy, occupying sovereign territories overseas, I believe that everything I said is true.” 

On several occasions, al-Khattab posted online statements that included implicit, if not explicit, threats, particularly against religious Jews. For example, on October 7, 2009, a poem by al-Khattab on the group’s website included language asking God to “kill the Jews.” In the poem, which coincided with the Jewish holiday of Sukkoth, al-Khattab listed ways Jews could be hurt, including by burning “their flammable sukkos while they sleep” and throwing “liquid drain cleaner in their faces.”

This pattern of online threats began several years before al-Khattab founded of RM when, in 2002, al-Khattab posted a seemingly threatening note regarding a New York rabbi. He posted the rabbi’s photo and home address and wrote: “Please make every effort to reach this man, and help him understand what its like to suffer under lies…Please Ikhwan [Arabic for “brothers”], just make contact with this man.”  Al-Khattab later claimed that his home was raided by the police because of a fabricated complaint by this rabbi.

Referring to his 2009 posting on the Revolution Muslim Web site of a picture of Chabad’s world headquarters in Brooklyn with a message encouraging readers to “make EVERY attempt to reach these people and teach them the message of Islam or leave them a message from Islam,” al-Khattab admits that he is “the one that posted the things about Crown Heights,” and that he doesn’t view it as “anything illegal and I don’t think that it was a threat…”

He adds, however, that he “would have thought that they [law enforcement] would have considered that a threat much more than what he [Muhammad] did.”

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