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November 1, 2013 1

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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May 3, 2013 0

Boston Marathon Bombers Inspired By Anwar al-Awlaki

Reports are emerg­ing that Tamer­lan and Dzkhokhar Tsar­naev, the broth­ers allegedly respon­si­ble for the April 15 Boston Marathon bomb­ings, were rad­i­cal­ized, at least in part, by rad­i­cal cleric Anwar al-Awlaki.awlaki-boston-marathon-bombing-adl

Dzokhar, the sur­viv­ing Tsar­naev brother, report­edly told law enforce­ment offi­cials that he and his brother were inspired by Awlaki ser­mons avail­able online. Awlaki, an American-born Mus­lim cleric who encour­aged attacks against Amer­ica and the West, deliv­ered his ide­ol­ogy of extreme intol­er­ance and vio­lence to English-speaking online audi­ences for sev­eral years.

Prior to his death in a U.S. drone strike in Yemen on Sep­tem­ber 30, 2011, Awlaki influ­enced a gen­er­a­tion of extrem­ists in the U.S and abroad. One indi­ca­tion of Awlaki’s wide­spread influ­ence is the num­ber of extrem­ists that have been found in pos­ses­sion of his mate­ri­als. In addi­tion to the Boston Bomb­ings, Awlaki’s influ­ence can be seen in at least nine other plots:

  • Quazi Nafis, who pleaded guilty to attempt­ing to bomb the New York Fed­eral Reserve Build­ing in Octo­ber 2012, report­edly watched Awlaki videos and admired him, accord­ing to friends and fed­eral officials.
  • Adel Daoud, who was arrested in Sep­tem­ber 2012 and charged with plot­ting to bomb a Chicago-area bar, shared Awlaki lec­tures with his friends.
  • Jose Pimentel, who was arrested and charged with state-level ter­ror­ism offense in New York for plan­ning to attack mil­i­tary per­son­nel and other tar­gets in Novem­ber 2011, posted at least fif­teen Awlaki videos to his YouTube chan­nel. On his web­site, Pimentel called Awlaki “The Destroyer Of The US” and posted tran­scripts of his mes­sages. Pimentel report­edly accel­er­ated his bomb-building efforts in response to Awlaki’s death in a US drone strike in Sep­tem­ber 2011.
  • Abu Khalid Abdul-Latif, who was sen­tenced for his plot to attack a mil­i­tary facil­ity in Seat­tle in June 2011, sub­scribed to a YouTube chan­nel fea­tur­ing Awlaki videos.  In one of the videos Abdul-Latif made him­self, he laments that Pres­i­dent Obama “put a hit out on Anwar al-Awlaki, our brother sheikh.”
  • Anto­nio Mar­tinez, who was sen­tenced for attempt­ing to det­o­nate what he believed to be a car bomb at a Mary­land Army recruit­ing cen­ter in Decem­ber 2010, con­veyed to an under­cover infor­mant his admi­ra­tion for Awlaki.  On his Face­book pro­file, Mar­tinez sim­i­larly broad­cast his appre­ci­a­tion of Awlaki, writ­ing, “I love Sheikh Anwar al Awlaki for the sake of ALLAH.  A real inspi­ra­tion for the Ummah, I dont care if he is on the ter­ror­ist list! May ALLAH give him Kire amen [sic].”
  • Farooque Ahmed, who was sen­tenced for his role in a plot to attack DC-area pub­lic trans­porta­tion in 2010, was found to be in pos­ses­sion of CDs con­tain­ing Awlaki lec­tures and speeches.
  • Faisal Shahzad, who was sen­tenced to life in prison for his failed attempt to bomb Times Square in 2010, told inves­ti­ga­tors he was influ­enced by Awlaki.
  • Nidal Hasan, who killed 13 peo­ple at Fort Hood, Texas, sent 16 emails to Awlaki and received two responses.  In the after­math of the attack, Awlaki claimed he “blessed the act because it was against a mil­i­tary tar­get,” gave Hasan “per­mis­sion to carry out his attacks at Fort Hood,” and instructed him to “kill other Amer­i­can sol­diers,” although his email responses were rel­a­tively innocuous.
  • Five men who con­spired to attack the Fort Dix army base in New Jer­sey in 2007 were report­edly in pos­ses­sion of an Awlaki ser­mon and were also report­edly recorded dis­cussing the lec­ture enthusiastically.
awlaki-samir-kahn-inspire-aqap

Anwar al-Awlaki and Samir Khan

Awlaki was also a con­trib­u­tor to Inspire mag­a­zine which influ­enced numer­ous inter­na­tional and domes­tic extrem­ists moti­vated by rad­i­cal inter­pre­ta­tions of Islam. Fed­eral law enforce­ment offi­cials report­edly con­firmed that the Tsar­naev broth­ers got bomb-making instruc­tions from Inspire mag­a­zine.

Addi­tion­ally, Awlaki is believed to have per­son­ally instructed Umar Farouk Abdul­mu­tal­lab to det­o­nate his bomb aboard a transat­lantic flight from Ams­ter­dam to Detroit on Christ­mas Day 2009 over Amer­i­can air­space in order to max­i­mize casualties.

Awlaki’s influ­ence is not lim­ited to plots. His pro­pa­ganda also influ­enced a num­ber of indi­vid­u­als accused of pro­vid­ing or attempt­ing to pro­vide mate­r­ial sup­port to ter­ror­ists. Recent exam­ples include Abdella Tounisi, four indi­vid­u­als from Cal­i­for­nia, Randy “Rasheed” Wil­son and Moham­mad Abukhdair. Notably, sev­eral Amer­i­can extrem­ists com­mu­ni­cated with Awlaki directly, includ­ing Nidal Has­san, Zachary Chesser and Barry Bujol, Jr.

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February 9, 2012 0

Younes Abdullah Muhammad Pleads Guilty to Threatening “South Park” Creators

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

Younes Abdul­lah Muham­mad, co-founder of the fringe extrem­ist Mus­lim orga­ni­za­tion Rev­o­lu­tion Mus­lim, pleaded guilty on Thurs­day for his role in threat­en­ing the cre­ators of the car­toon “South Park.” 

Muham­mad (a.k.a. Jesse Cur­tis Mor­ton) was arrested by Moroc­can author­i­ties in May 2011 after being charged in the U.S. with com­mu­ni­cat­ing online threats. His threats tar­geted Matt Stone and Trey Parker for their satir­i­cal depic­tion of the Prophet Muham­mad in an episode of their car­toon. In Octo­ber he was placed into Amer­i­can cus­tody and brought before a fed­eral judge in Vir­ginia to face charges.
 
Muham­mad helped Zachary Chesser, who was sen­tenced to 25 years in prison on a sim­i­lar charge, draft a state­ment con­tain­ing lan­guage jus­ti­fy­ing “the death of those who insult Islam or defame its prophet…” The state­ment was issued on behalf of Rev­o­lu­tion Mus­lim in response to the national atten­tion gar­nered by Chesser after he threat­ened the “South Park” cre­ators on a num­ber of online platforms.
 
Under Muhammad’s lead­er­ship, Rev­o­lu­tion Mus­lim dis­trib­uted anti-Semitic and pro-terrorist pro­pa­ganda at its street protests and online, which often included implicit and explicit threats of vio­lence. The group was active mostly in New York until the end of 2010, when Muham­mad moved to Morocco. Cur­rently, it oper­ates under the name Islam Pol­icy.
 
Muham­mad, who has a long his­tory of jus­ti­fy­ing vio­lence against any­one he views as an enemy of Islam, served as Rev­o­lu­tion Muslim’s most pro­lific writer. In addi­tion to his var­i­ous posts on the group’s web­site, he con­tributed to Jihad Rec­ol­lec­tions, an online Eng­lish lan­guage mag­a­zine cre­ated by Samir Khan. Khan, who is bet­ter known for edit­ing Al Qaeda in the Ara­bian Peninsula’s (AQAP) English-language mag­a­zine, Inspire, was killed by a U.S. drone strike on Sep­tem­ber 30, 2011, two years after he moved to Yemen to align him­self with Al Qaeda.
 
In the inau­gural issue of Jihad Rec­ol­lec­tions, released in April 2009, Muham­mad expressed sup­port for Al Qaeda, writ­ing that the Sep­tem­ber 11 ter­ror­ist attacks “…were, for the most part, pos­i­tive and the results even bet­ter than expected.” He also called on like-minded Mus­lims to “exploit these results and advance the jihad… It is time to begin to think about the nec­es­sary next steps that must pred­i­cate the con­quer­ing of Rome.”

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