However, in a later posting to another online forum, al-Khattab explained that he would still support actions such as the Fort Hood shooting and that he still supports the notion of a "Mushroom Cloud Over Israel." He also continues to support replacing the U.S. Constitution with Sharia law and promotes the extremist ideologies of the Muslim Brotherhood (MB), Hamas and Abdullah Azzam, Osama bin Laden's spiritual mentor.
In response, Abdullah Muhammad denounced Al-Khattab, writing on RM's Web site: "we feel that he has deviated from the clear truth and recommend everyone simply forget about him."
During his tenure RM's leader, al-Khattab infused the group's activity with his provocative style and virulent hatred of Jews, especially orthodox Jewry. While Abdullah Muhammad would write long treatises in support of political violence, al-Khattab posted photos and videos in which he was seen mocking the victims of terror attacks in Israel. He and other RM members would often display a sign during anti-Israel rallies that read: "God will send the mushroom cloud over Israel."
On several occasions, al-Khattab, or RM under his leadership, posted online statements that included implicit, if not explicit, threats, particularly against religious Jews. For example, on October 7, 2009, RM posted to its Web site a poem by al-Khattab in which he asked 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."
Several months earlier, during the 2008-2009 war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, RM posted a picture on its site 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 reported that he and another RM member were questioned by the police about the post.
In a subsequent online video, al-Khattab recommended that Muslims protest at the home of the head of the Jewish Federation and said that the Chabad center and the Yeshiva University in New York were two of the "sources" for the attacks on the Palestinians in Gaza.
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.
While establishing RM as an independent group, al-Khattab has worked closely with members of the New York-based Islamic Thinkers Society (ITS), an offshoot of a banned British group by the name Al Muhajiroun. Counterterrorism officials reportedly identified al-Khattab as being ITS's main ideologue before he established RM. Since establishing RM, al-Khattab and RM have held numerous rallies with ITS, which like RM, supports violence in order to create a global Islamic state. During one rally near the Israeli consulate in New York, an ITS speaker pointed to al-Khattab as an example of a person who gave up the "Jewy tactics" and "accepted Islam and saved himself from the punishment of Allah."
Al-Khattab was born in Brooklyn where he attended a Jewish seminary and became a member of the Satmar Hasidic community. In 1998, he and his family immigrated to Israel and moved to a Jewish community in the Gaza Strip and later to a small town in Israel. Al-Khattab obtained Israeli citizenship.
Al-Khattab says his conversion to Islam started after a series of conversations online with a Muslim from the United Arab Emirates. Based on al-Khattab's account, rejection of Judaism and hatred of Jews were the focus of their exchange.
Al-Khattab and his wife converted to Islam and together with their children moved to an Arab neighborhood in East Jerusalem, where he worked for a Muslim charity. Around that time, he became involved with a Web site that aims to convert Jews to Islam, called Jews for Allah (JFA). The JFA site, created by al-Khattab's associate, Mohammed Ghounem, contained anti-Semitic content. For example one section called "Judaism: A Religion of Terrorists?" argues that Zionist-Jews are terrorists and explains that "Jews who accept Islam are in reality leaving the proven illegal terrorists and joining the peaceful Muslims."
In the past, al-Khattab claimed to have been in contact with three individuals who were later implicated in terrorist activity. Al-Khattab says he met in Atlantic City with Bryant Neal Vinas, a New Yorker who pleaded guilty to providing information to Al Qaeda and to firing rockets at an American military base in Afghanistan. He also claims to have been friends with Tarek Mehanna, a Massachusetts man who was charged for allegedly planning to attack a shopping mall and American troops in Iraq, and Daniel Maldonado, a U.S. citizen who was sentenced to 10 years in prison for participating in terrorist activities in Somalia.