Updated: March 16, 2011
As part of an apparent new effort by Revolution Muslim (RM) to rebrand itself as an Islamic policy think tank, the fringe anti-Semitic Muslim organization that justifies terrorist attacks is now offering a free online 10-week academic-style course on Islam and capitalism.
Titled "Shariah Compliant Economics: Paradigm Shift or Neo-imperialism," the course is given by Younes Abdullah Muhammad, RM's leader, who is currently residing in Morocco. The course is being offered through WiZiQ, a non-extremist Web site that serves as both an online educational platform and a social networking site.
During the March 6, 2011, session Abdullah Muhammad explained that America and the West are in decline and that his course will help foster an alternative Islamic system that will compete against what he described as "a one world governance."
The course is another step in the rebranding effort on which RM has embarked since the end of 2010, when it adopted the name Islam Policy and moved to a new Web site by that name. Though it continues to be affiliated with Abdullah al-Faisal, RM's extremist "imam and spiritual advisor," and to promote other agitators for violence and Al Qaeda supporters such as Abu Hamza al-Masri, RM is now portraying itself as a serious think tank that promotes discussion on policies in the Muslim world.
RM's recent efforts come after several RM activists and followers of RM's Web site were implicated in terror-related criminal cases. The efforts also follow a split in the group's leadership, which led it to denounce its founder, Yousef al-Khattab. In addition to being a reaction to outside pressures on the group, the academic-style online course and other such initiatives reflect the leadership style of Abdullah Muhammad. According to RM, however, the changes in its operation were in reaction to world events and the subsequent changes in priorities for Muslims.
In a November 2010 document title "On Crafting Islamic Policy: The Methodology of Islamic Social Sciences," released shortly after RM's move to the new Web site, Abdullah Muhammad wrote that "the purpose of [Islam Policy] will be to insert fresh analysis and thereby policy ideas into the public forum." Abdullah Muhammad wants RM to fight against "the coerced 'secularization' of Islamic societies" by contributing to a better "understanding [of] Islam as a complete political, economic and social system." The document still pays tribute to what Abdullah Muhammad terms "Islamic terrorism." It also asserts that "in order for policy analysis to be effective, an activist component must also exist."
Abdullah Muhammad's new online course is being advertised on RM's Web site. In addition, RM posted a syllabus, complete with list of subjects to be covered in each lecture and required reading to the file sharing site Scribd. Most of the topics that will be discussed during the course concern either the Islamic approach to finance or Western capitalism and imperialism. The last lecture promises to "identify the potential Islamic Economics has for transforming banking, finance, and development globally." The reading includes Muslim and non-Muslim academic sources.
RM is also asking participants to make intellectual contributions, stating on the syllabus that those taking part "will be asked to produce some form of multimedia (articles, videos, audios, graphic design, etcetera) as a final project in order to better promote the ideas and concepts covered in the course…"
Underscoring RM's continual role as an agitator in support for violence—now through its new Islam Policy Web site—is a statement in support of the physical assault sustained by CNN reporter Anderson Cooper while covering demonstrations in Cairo. (Abdullah Muhammad has a personal grudge against Cooper because of a story Cooper did on RM.) On February 2, 2011, RM posted a video of the attack on its Web site and commented: "The time is now, Anderson Cooper is an enemy of Islam, a propagator of the dawa of the Devil. We implore the Egyptians to run him out of dodge by any means necessary..."