Backgrounder: Revolution Muslim
Posted: June 30, 2010
Revolution Muslim (RM) activity is primarily focused on the distribution of anti-Semitic and pro-terrorist propaganda online and at its street protests. It targets Muslim and non-Muslim audiences by distributing CDs and printed materials, often outside mosques during Friday services and at anti-Israel rallies.
RM protests are marked by anti-Semitism and support for terror. During its protest of the Salute to Israel Parade in 2010 in New York, RM leader Younes Abdullah Muhammad declared: "We gather here to express our animosity and hatred for not only the state of Israel but all those that support it…" He went on to quote a Muslim text saying, "the Day of Judgment will not come about until Muslims fight the Jews and when the Jews will hide behind the stones and the trees, the stones and the trees will then say: 'oh [Muslims] there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him."
At its protest of the Salute to Israel Parade in New York in 2009, members held signs that read: "May Allah give victory to the mujahedeen in Palestine; May Allah wipe out the Zionist vermin in Palestine" and "every supporter of 'Israel' is an enemy combatant." Members taunted marchers with obscenities such as: "remember Auschwitz," "mushroom cloud over Israel" and "protect your behind, children, these pedophile rabbis are out to get you." At the Salute to Israel Parade in 2008, members shouted obscenities at marchers such as: "control the animal population, reopen Auschwitz…sanitize the Zionists…get the ovens burning."
RM anti-Israel protests often take place outside the Israeli consulate in New York. At one such protest, on January 3, 2009, RM members and supporters held signs that read: "Palestine is Muslim land" and "The Holocaust was a hoax." Another sign denounced Shia Islam as influenced by Judaism. At the end of the protest, Abdullah Muhammad called on bystanders to "support the Mujahedeen."
In addition to its anti-Israel activity, RM targets mosques that it perceives as being too moderate. For example, on January 16, 2009, the group set up an information table outside a mosque on the Upper East Side of Manhattan and criticized its Imam, who gave a sermon at the mosque that day. Pointing to the mosque, Abdullah Muhammad asked: "How dare you tell someone to integrate into society?" RM also uses these occasions to collect contributions.
RM often cooperates with representatives of the Islamic Thinkers Society (ITS), an offshoot of a British group by the name Al Muhajiroun. Counterterrorism officials have reportedly said that RM co-founder Yousef al-Khattab was an ITS ideologue before he founded RM. Like RM, ITS supports violence in order to create a global Islamic state. During one rally near the Israeli consulate in New York, an ITS speaker said, "We tell you Jews…Allah will wipe you, along with Israel off the map." The speaker then 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."
While RM is mostly active in New York, it has managed to attract supporters from other parts of the country. On March 20, 2010, RM held a protest in front of the White House, which coincided with an antiwar rally. During the protest, Zachary Chesser, a member of RM from Virginia who was arrested and charged in July 2010 for attempting to travel to Somalia to fight with the terrorist group Al Shabaab, called Obama "an enemy of our religion and a tyrant." The RM protest was also attended by Mohamed Mahmood Alessa, a New Jersey man arrested on similar charges in June. During the protest, Abdullah Muhammad said that if President Obama was to be "judged…according to his deeds, then under international law he would hang from a noose in this very square today."
RM maintains a Web site, a blog and a YouTube channel where it regularly posts videos of its rallies and actions. In addition, RM has an online chat room on Paltalk.com where supporters can get live updates or hear religious talks by Abdullah al-Faisal, a radical Jamaica-based cleric who serves as RM's spiritual leader.
RM members also use other social networking sites to extend the group's reach. The group used to operate Internet forums that had several hundred registered members. The forums were used by members to communicate and share information and announcements. At the beginning of 2010, RM consolidated some of its online activity and it no longer moderates forums. It is also more carful about disclosing the names of posters to the Web site.
Colleen LaRose, a Pennsylvania woman accused of participating in a conspiracy to kill Lars Vilks, a Swedish cartoonist whose depictions of the Prophet Muhammad as a dog were printed in a Swedish newspaper in 2007, was a follower of RM's YouTube channel, according to counterterrorism officials.
Though it is not known to what extent LaRose was influenced by RM, it's Web site featured a video of a violent attack against Vilks during a lecture he gave at Stockholm's Uppsala University in May 2010. One comment in response to the video called for Vilks to be killed and whished that Muslims "SEND THIS FILTHY KAFIR ZIONIST TO THE HUMILIATING PUNISHMENT."
RM's attracts visitors outside the U.S. as well. For example, Roshonara Choudhry, a British woman who stabbed a former member of Parliament in the UK, reportedly claimed that the site influenced her. Choudhry was convicted and sentenced to life in prison in November 2010. After her conviction, RM published a list of MPs and how to track them on their Web site. The content was removed from RM's site after British officials requested to American authorities that it be deleted.
Some of RM's online activity seems to go beyond merely sharing of information and includes implicit, if not explicit, threats. For example, in October 2009, the RM Web site featured a poem asking God to "kill the Jews" and listing ways Jews could be hurt, including by burning "their flammable sukkos while they sleep" and throwing "liquid drain cleaner in their faces."
Another post by a site administrator during the 2008-2009 war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, read: "These war crimes are sponsored by Zionists in many of the lands we live in." It recommended: "Don't discuss it here in this forum, go to the source and discuss it with them where ever they may be."
RM also 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.
Another posting in March 20, 2009, encouraged Muslims to attack members of a Hindu group in India who reportedly prevented Muslim women from wearing a veil inside a local college. The post read: "Where are the Muslims? They should storm these filthy rabid-sub-monkeys and stomp on their jaws until they hear the sweet *crack* sound, and then some." The person posting the comment identifies himself as affiliated with the London-based Web site Islam4UK.com, which is used by former members of Al-Muhajiroun.
In March 2009, RM posted a link to an audio message by Osama bin Laden in which the Al Qaeda leader berated the Arab governments for not supporting the Palestinians in Gaza. In a short statement introducing bin Laden's speech, RM wrote: "Let the Demonstrations be followed by Blasts!!!," most likely referencing protests in the Arab world against the local government.
RM raises funds through its street activity and online. At least some of the money appears to be directed to support al-Faisal's online activity. In May 2010 it posted a Facebook message asking for money to set up an Internet connection at al-Faisal's home in Jamaica. On its Web site, it asked supporters to "donate… to the shaykh [al-Faisal] directly" by clicking on a PayPal button that was included on the site but has since been removed. RM aimed to raise at least $100 monthly to cover expenses related to al-Faisal's online activity.
Abdullah Muhammad and RM's former leader Abdallah Sayf Jones also contributed to Jihad Recollections, an online English language magazine that was created by a collaboration of online terrorist sympathizers but discontinued after September 2009. In the inaugural issue, released in April 2009 and purporting to be "the first English Jihad magazine," Abdullah 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."