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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Although it is no longer active, the RM site continues to influence homegrown extremists.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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May 3, 2013

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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