Backgrounder: Revolution Muslim


Introduction

Updated: February 2012

 

Revolution Muslim (RM) is a fringe anti-Semitic Muslim organization that justifies terrorist attacks and other forms of violence against non-Muslims and seeks "the dismantlement of western, secular dominance across the world," according to its Web site. It is mostly active in New York. RM was mostly active in New York until the end of 2010 when its leader moved to Morocco. Currently, RM generally operates under the name Islam Policy.

 

RM's statements include implicit, if not explicit, threats of violence and its radical ideology is rooted in the propagation of violence. For example, in April 2010, Zachary Chesser, a member of RM who was arrested and charged in July 2010 for attempting to travel to Somalia to fight with the terrorist group Al Shabaab, posted entries to the RM Web site targeting the creators of South Park for satirizing issues surrounding the depiction of the Prophet Muhammad. One posting included a picture of the assassination of Dutch filmmaker Theo Van Gogh by a Muslim extremist in 2004 with the caption: "Theo Van Gogh – Have Matt Stone And Trey Parker Forgotten This?" The post, which also included the address to Stone and Parker's offices, asks readers to "contact them" or "pay Comedy Central…a visit."

RM's Web site has also included less veiled threats. In October 2009, the site featured a poem asking God to "kill the Jews" that listed ways Jews could be hurt, including by burning "their flammable sukkos while they sleep" and throwing "liquid drain cleaner in their faces." In January 2009, in response to the Israeli military operation against Hamas in Gaza, RM posted a picture on its Web 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." The posting, which was titled "Do Not Let Orthodox Judaism Get Away From Murder in Ghaza," reportedly prompted a police investigation.

 

As a result of publishing a list of members of Parliament in the UK and how to track them in November 2010, the RM site was taken down (the materials from the site can now be found on a site called Islam Policy). The list was posted following the conviction of Roshonara Choudhry, a British woman who stabbed a former MP and reportedly claims that RM's site influenced her.

 

RM's activity goes well beyond its online presence. The group has organized numerous anti-Israel demonstrations, protested outside mosques and distributed its materials on the streets. During its protest of the 2010 Salute to Israel Parade in New York City, 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."

 

One of the participants at RM's protest of the 2010 Salute to Israel Parade was Mohamed Mahmood Alessa.  Alessa and Carlos Eduardo Almonte were arrested in June 2010 for allegedly planning to kill American soldiers overseas. While it is unclear how closely linked Alessa and Almonte are to RM, their alleged plan to travel to Somalia to fight with an Al Qaeda-linked terrorist group is consistent with RM ideology and advocacy.  

 

RM, which has only a handful of active members, was founded in 2007 by Yousef al-Khattab and Younes Abdullah Muhammad, both converts to Islam, to promote the ideas of Abdullah al-Faisal, a Jamaica-born Muslim preacher who served four years in a British prison for urging his followers to kill non-Muslims, including Americans, Hindus and Jews.

 

In December 2009, al-Khattab announced that the leadership of the group was being handed to Abdullah as-Sayf Jones, a convert to Islam who had previously organized RM activity in Florida. By April 2010, Jones left the group after an apparent falling out with Abdullah Muhammad and Chesser over disagreements on religious doctrinal issues. Currently, RM appears to have no official hierarchy, but Abdullah Muhammad is the acting leader of the group.

 

A version of this report was published in June 2009.



Activity

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."



Islam Policy

Islam Policy is the name under which Revolution Muslim (RM) has been operating since November 2010 when the Web site of RM was shut down. The group's leader, Younus Abullah Muhammad, launched a new Web site named Islam Policy, which he designated "the new home of Revolution Muslim." Under the new name, the group continues to advocate against democracy and the West and in support of terrorism.

 

The launch of Islam Policy came after several RM activists and followers of RM's Web site in the U.S. and Britain were implicated in terror-related criminal cases. These included Bilal Zaheer Ahmad, who is awaiting trial in Britain for soliciting murder in connection to a statement he published on the RM Web site. (According to reports, the site was shut down in reaction to this posting.) The formation of Islam Policy followed a split in the group's leadership, which led it to denounce its founder, Yousef al-Khattab. In another significant development, around the time that Islam Policy was launched, Abdullah Muhammad left New York for Morocco.

 

According to Abdullah Muhammad, the new name and Web site were not just a response to outside pressures, but also part of an evolution that corresponded with the changing priorities of Muslims. In announcing the move to Islam Policy, he wrote that "it is imperative at this juncture that we redefine our mission, advance our platform, and improve our position."

 

Shortly after Islamic Policy was established, it published a policy statement titled "On Crafting Islamic Policy: The Methodology of Islamic Social Sciences," in which Abdullah Muhammad discussed the group's new priorities, emphasizing its function as a Muslim NGO and a think tank that promotes discussion on policies in the Muslim world. He wrote that "the purpose of [Islam Policy] will be to insert fresh analysis and thereby policy ideas into the public forum" with the aim of fighting against "the coerced 'secularization' of Islamic societies."

 

Though Abdullah Muhammad describes the role of Islam Policy strictly in relation to its intellectual contribution, the policy statement also pays tribute to "Islamic terrorism" and asserts that "in order for policy analysis to be effective, an activist component must also exist."

 

Since Abdullah Muhammad has moved to Morocco and others parted with the group, Islam Policy has not staged the kind of street activity that RM used to hold, which included protests and distribution of CDs and printed materials outside mosques during Friday services and at anti-Israel rallies, mostly in New York City. Still, through its online activity. Islam Policy continues to play an important role as a distributor of pro-terrorist propaganda in English.    

 

In confirmation of the role that Islam Policy continues to play among networks of Al Qaeda supporters in the West, on March 18, 2011 Abdullah Muhammad spoke at an online conference alongside several prominent activists linked to a banned extremist British group, Al Muhajiroun. Speakers included Omar Bakri Mohammad, the founder of Al Muhajiroun who is currently based in Lebanon, Anjem Choudary, the leader in Britain of the various Al Muhajiroun offshoot groups, and Abdullah al-Faisal, formerly RM's spiritual leader who is based in Jamaica. The six-hour conference, which was titled "Islam Rising," was held in Authentic Tauheed, al-Faisal's chat room, which is streamed permanently on the Web site of Islam Policy.

 

In his address at the conference, Abdullah Muhammad called bin Laden "the noble sheik" and cited as visionary "his [1996] opening declaration of jihad against the Americans and Jewish allies." He emphasized the centrality of violence in advancing the cause of Islam, stating: "Oh Muslims, we are a nation that relishes death, praise to God, we love to die in the way of Allah in jihad. He cited "the Manhattan raids of 9-11" as the best example for "the way forward," and said in response to uprisings in the Middle East: "We do not believe in mass protest movements."

 

Islam Policy uses several Internet sites to spread its message. Aside from its own Web site, Islam Policy posts information to several Facebook pages and has a YouTube channel. It also has documents in the file sharing site Scribd. In addition, as part of Islam Policy's attempt to portray itself as a serious policy think tank, Abdullah Muhammad gives online academic-style lessons through WiZiQ, a Web site that serves as both an online educational platform and a social networking site.

 

The main channel of Islam Policy, however, remains its official Web site. For the most part, Web posts include articles and videos from various sources, among them non-extremist sources, which Islam Policy evidently sees as supporting its views about capitalism, democracy and other issues. For the most part, Islam Policy limits its editorial contribution to the headline and short comments.

 

The videos and articles posted to Islam Policy come from Muslim extremists from around the world. Islam Policy's headlines and commentary often express sympathy with the extremist content. For example, on April 3, 2011, Islam Policy posted a video under the headline "Brothers in UK Protest Western Intervention in Muslim Land," which showed Anjem Choudary leading his follower in chants of "U.S.A go to hell!"     

 

Islam Policy regularly posts statements from the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, the shadow government of the Afghan Taliban, including a statement it posted in March 30, 2011, which called on revolutions in the Middle East to shun democracy and embrace an Islamic system as the "only option." That statement also denounced the U.S., claiming that it "declared a Crusade against the Islamic World to destroy the light of Islam once and for all."

 

Other Islam Policy postings included a Holocaust denial video by conspiracy theorist Anthony Lawson; a posting praising civic efforts of Islamic militant Al Shabaab in Somalia; a statement by Ayman al-Zawahiri, Al Qaeda's second-in-command; and a link to an online PDF of the Fifth issue of Inspire, the English-language magazine of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. (The latter post included a disclaimer that read: "For informational and academic purposes only.")

  

While the new Islam Policy Web site may use less threatening language, on February 2, 2011 it posted a video of physical assault against CNN reporter Anderson Cooper by demonstrators in Cairo, commenting: "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..."



Younes Abdullah Muhammad

Younes Abdullah Muhammad (a.k.a. Jesse Curtis Morton), a convert to Islam, served as acting leader of Revolution Muslim (RM) until 2012. He founded the group in 2007 with Yousef al-Khattab, who became its first leader.    

 

In May 2011, Abdullah Muhammad was charged with communicating threats against the creators of the cartoon "South Park" for satirizing issues surrounding the depiction of the Prophet Muhammad. According to Islam Policy, the new name under which RM generally operates, Abdullah Muhammad was arrested by authorities in Morocco, where he was living, on May 27.

 

In October, Muhammad was taken into American custody and brought before a federal judge in Virginia to face charges. On February 9, 2012, he pleaded guilty to using the internet to solicit murder and making threatening communications. 

 

Abdullah Muhammad helped Zachary Chesser, a Virginia resident 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, and for Muslims to bring about such deaths," according to the FBI affidavit.

 

The statement, titled "Clarifying the South Park Response and Calling on Others to Join in the Defense of the prophet Muhammad," was issued on behalf of Revolution Muslim in response to the national attention garnered by Chesser for threatening the creators of South Park on a number of online platforms.

 

Abdullah Muhammad is featured in many of RM videos and has often served as the main speaker at RM events, conducting several interviews with the media. Abdullah Muhammad has always been the group's most articulate spokesman and its most prolific writer. Al-Khattab himself has described Abdullah Muhammad as "the brains and whip behind RM."

 

Abdullah Muhammad has also authored several of RM's original publications, including a pamphlet titled "By All Means Necessary" in which he argued that "preaching alone could never have achieved the fruit of the effort of a single day," a reference to the September 11 terrorist attacks. In his pamphlet, which RM published in December 2008 as a "strategic plan" for the coming two years, Abdullah Muhammad also asserted that the 2002 bombing of a nightclub in Bali, Indonesia, was justified because it was directed at "western tourists" engaged in "immoral acts."

 

In November 2010, Abdullah Muhammad published a follow-up to "By All Means Necessary," under the title "On Crafting Islamic Policy: The Methodology of Islamic Social Sciences." The release marked RM's effort to rebrand itself as an Islamic policy think tank and followed RM's move to a new Web site called Islam Policy. In the document Younes Abdullah 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."

 

Reconstituted as Islam Policy and now under the sole leadership of Abdullah Muhammad, RM is trying to project a more serious intellectual image, contrasting with the provocative rhetoric it came to be associated with in the past. As part RM's rebranding efforts, Abdullah Muhammad is teaching a free online 10-week academic-style course titled "Shariah Compliant Economics: Paradigm Shift or Neo-imperialism." 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."

 

Despite the image change and aspiration of making an impact on policy in Muslim-majority countries, RM under the leadership of Abdullah Muhammad is still motivated by a highly xenophobic world view. Abdullah Muhammad continues to refer to Abdullah al-Faisal as an authority and RM's Web site promotes other agitators for violence and Al Qaeda supporters such as Abu Hamza al-Masri. RM also continues to agitate in support for violence, as was evident in a statement it made 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…"

 

Abdullah Muhammad has a long history of justifying violence against anyone he views as an enemy of Islam. He maintains that Muslims should hate Israel and anyone supporting Israel. In a statement he read during RM's protest of the 2010 Salute to Israel Parade, he condemned Israel as a "genocidal neo-Zio-Nazi terrorist state," and added: "we gather here to express our animosity and hatred for not only the state of Israel but all those that support it with self, wealth, word or weapons." 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."

 

According to Abdullah Muhammad, violence is an essential part of Islam, particularly when it concerns dealing with Israel. At the 2010 Salute to Israel Parade, he condemned Muslims who advocate for non-violent resistance and peace, arguing that while such Muslims neglect the tenets of their faith, "today…the justification for aggression and violence against the Jews of Israel is beginning to be understood by a large portion of humanity."   

 

During an impromptu January 23, 2009, speech that Abdullah Muhammad gave while manning RM's information table, which was set up on a midtown Manhattan street, he stated that the September 11 attacks were directed at legitimate "military targets." In this speech, posted on RM's YouTube channel, Abdullah Muhammad explained that the World Trade Center was the "home of the economic power house that has kept the Muslims enslaved since the end of World War Two."

 

Abdullah Muhammad has appeared in several RM and Islamic Thinkers Society (ITS) events with Mohamed Mahmood Alessa and Carlos Eduardo Almonte, two New Jersey men who have been arrested on terror-related charges. In RM's video of the its protest at the 2010 Salute to Israel Parade in New York, Alessa is seen standing next to Abdullah Muhammad while he reads RM's condemnation of Israel. In another instance, on December 28, 2008, Abdullah Muhammad and Almonte appeared together at an ITS protest outside the Israeli consulate in New York. Standing next to Abdullah Muhammad, Almonte held a sign that read "Death to all (zionist) juice."        

 

Until his move to Morocco, Abdullah Muhammad was mostly active in New York, but on March 20, 2010, he traveled to DC where both RM and ITS held protests, which coincided with an antiwar rally in front of the White House. RM's protest was also attended by Alessa and Zachary Chesser, a Virginia man who was arrested and charged in July 2010 for attempting to travel to Somalia to fight with the terrorist group Al Shabaab. During the protest, Abdullah Muhammad gave a speech in which he said that if President Obama were to be "judged…according to his deeds, then under international law he would hang from a noose in this very square today."

 

Abdullah Muhammad has 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." On January 28, 2011, RM reposted a fuller version of the Jihad Recollection article to Islam Policy's Scribd page.



Abdullah al-Faisal

Abdullah al-Faisal, a Jamaica-born Muslim preacher who served four years in a British prison for urging his followers to kill non-Muslims, including Americans, Hindus and Jews, is the "imam and spiritual advisor" of Revolution Muslim (RM).

 

RM distributes al-Faisal's CDs and posts videos of his lectures and his writings to its Web site. In addition, members who collect cash donations during RM's outdoor demonstrations outside mosques and online through RM's Web site may also support al-Faisal financially.   

 

In a January 26, 2010, interview with RM which was posted on RM's YouTube channel, al-Faisal told RM cofounder
Younes Abdullah Muhammad that Muslims "can help me by complying with the requests of RM…for material or donations or equipment." In the interview, al-Faisal, who had just returned from a tour of Africa that ended with his detention in Kenya, also thanked RM supporters "for their physical and moral support" during his ordeal. 

 

Al-Faisal was detained on December 31, 2009 by authorities in Kenya while on a tour of Africa, where he claimed to have visited 350 mosques in 10 countries. The Kenyan authorities explained that al-Faisal was a security risk. After about three weeks, al-Faisal was deported back to Jamaica on board a charted privet jet. 

 

His detention sparked violent demonstrations in Nairobi by Muslim supporters. In January 15, clashes resulted in the death of one demonstrator and injuries to law enforcement agents. Some of the protesters covered their faces and waved flags of Al Shabaab in Somalia, which declared jihad against Kenya the following month. The Kenyan government contended that some of the protesters were in fact Al Shabaab militants.  

 

Abdullah Ibrahim Al-Faisal (also spelled El-Faisal) was born Trevor Forrest in Jamaica. He converted to Islam when he was 16 and moved to Britain as a young man. In 1992, after several years of studying religion in Saudi Arabia, he returned to Britain and became a preacher at the Brixton Mosque in London, where he delivered very radical speeches to crowds of up to 500 worshipers.

 

In 2003, al-Faisal was sentenced in a court in London to nine years for inciting racial hatred and murder. The sentence was later reduced to seven years and in May 2007 he was paroled and deported to Jamaica.

 

In his UK sermons prior to his arrest, al-Faisal encouraged Muslims 15 and older to get weapon training during school vacations and to assume a "jihad mentality." In his speeches he said that non-Muslims, including Hindus and Jews, should be killed like "cockroaches." In one lecture he said that the "filthy Jews [were] evil to the core." In a recorded speech that was carried shortly after the September 11 attack and presented as evidence at the trial, al-Faisal, argued that it is "permissible to drop bombs on a kuffar nation" and that women and children who may be hurt are "collateral damage" and Muslims will "become martyrs." 



Yousef al-Khattab

Yousef al-Khattab (a.k.a. Joseph Leonard Cohen), 42, is a cofounder and former leader of Revolution Muslim (RM). Though he now denounces the group, al-Khattab remains committed to many of its core ideas and continues to express support for terrorism in his online postings.   

Al-Khattab cofounded RM in 2007 with Younes Abdullah Muhammad, the group's current leader. Al-Khattab served as RM's amir (Arabic for "leader") and "chief executive officer" until December 2009 when he announced that he was moving to Tetouan, Morocco. At that time, he handed over the leadership to Abdallah Sayf Jones, who organized RM activity in Florida. (Jones resigned four months later after an apparent disagreement over theological issues.)

In Morocco, al-Khattab became more and more critical of RM. In a June 2009 posting to his personal Web site, which he titled "Why I Left Revolution Muslim," al-Khattab referred to the "many differences and variables between Younes/RM and myself, the biggest being my belief that we should use the democratic process as a way of furthering the Islamic Movement." In the same posting, al-Khattab stated that he "respectfully disagree[s] with" Al Qaeda, but also that "I still love Osama bin Laden more than I love myself."

Al-Khattab continued to denounce RM in online postings and interviews with the press, calling the RM Web site he helped launch a "bug light for Muslim misfits," and stating: "I regret anybody that would hurt an American civilian." In an audio message he posted to his Web site on December 1, 2010, he even expressed support for FBI efforts to apprehend "whoever [intends to] blowup civilians in the United States."

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.



Abdullah as-Sayf Jones

Abdullah as-Sayf Jones, a convert to Islam from Florida, became the second amir (leader) of Revolution Muslim (RM) in December 2009 after RM's founding leader, Yousef al-Khattab, announced that he would be leaving the U.S. to Morocco. According to al-Khattab, Jones was only 19 years old at the time.  

Four months later, Jones, who by then had adopted the name Abdullah al-Amin, resigned from the group over an apparent disagreement over theological issues. He was denounced in online posts by other RM members, including Zachary Chesser and Younes Abdullah Muhammad as an "innovator," meaning someone who adopted doctrines that diverge from the Prophet's teachings. Jones later rejected "the methodology of Revolution Muslim" on his blog.

 

Jones, who has described himself as a "revolutionary in pursuit of Allah's pleasure and jannah [paradise]," was RM's representative in Florida before assuming leadership of the organization. While not much is known about his activity in Florida, videos on the RM Web site show Jones distributing literature outside what appears to be a mosque in Florida during two Fridays in summer 2009. 

 

Jones moved to New York at the end of 2009 and became involved in RM activity there.

 

For example, during a November 6, 2009, speech outside a midtown Manhattan mosque, a day after the
shooting at Fort Hood in Texas which left 12 soldiers and one civilian dead and 32 others injured, Jones stated: "the greatest way to strike terror into the hearts of America is to hit them right in the heart, here in the heartland and soil."  Jones has also been active in New York since assuming leadership of the group. On December 20, 2009, Jones confronted demonstrators from the extremist Jewish Defense Organization outside of Yousef al-Khattab's former Woodside, New York residence.  

 

In addition to participating in RM street activity, Jones has posted material to the group's Web site that echoes the group's radical ideology. A January 18, 2010 posting, titled "Smack The Donkeys Out Of Al-Aqsa," includes a video from Al Rahma TV, an Egyptian religious television channel that often broadcasts anti-Semitic content. In it, commentator Sheik Hazem Shoman compared Jews to donkeys, declaring that "Jihad is the only answer" and calling on Muslims to "kick the Jews out of Palestine." In a September 2009 post, Jones described the U.S. led military campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan as "a war against Islam…to control the land and the resources of the believers."

 

In a three-part video titled "My Journey to Islam" that was posted on RM's YouTube channel in August 2009, Jones informed viewers that he grew up in Brevard County in Florida and was known as David Scott Jones.  Based on his account in the video, he became a Muslim when he was 16 and his main influences were Sayd Qutb, the late Muslim Brotherhood ideologue; Anwar al-Awlaki, a U.S. born Muslim cleric living in Yemen who has influenced American Muslim extremists; Abu Hamza al-Masri, a radical Islamic cleric in Britain who is currently serving a seven-year sentence for incitement to murder; and Abdullah al-Faisal. Jones calls al-Faisal "my sheik now" and says that his "lectures helped me learn the true message of Islam."

 

In addition to his involvement with RM, Jones has contributed to several extremist Web sites and publications, including Samir Khan's Revolution blog and Jihad Recollections, an English language online publication put out by Al-Fursan Media. The magazine, which purports to be "the first English Jihad magazine," openly supports Al Qaeda.  He also maintains a YouTube channel and a blog.

 

While Jones has parted ways from RM and denounced its confrontational methods, he emphasized in an April 7, 2010, post to his blog, that he remained committed to the cause of an "Islamic Revolution and the political revival of Islam." In another post he denounced the U.S. as the new Pharaoh.



Zachary Chesser

Zachary Chesser (a.k.a. Abu Talhah al-Amrikee) was an emerging leader of RM before he was arrested and charged in July 2010 for attempting to travel to Somalia to fight with the terrorist group Al Shabaab. Chesser, who reportedly joined RM in January 2010, admitted to FBI agents that he took over the primary role of running RM's Web site before his arrest.

 

In April 2010, Chesser posted entries to the RM Web site targeting the creators of South Park for satirizing issues surrounding the depiction of the Prophet Muhammad. One posting included a picture of the assassination of Dutch filmmaker Theo Van Gogh by a Muslim extremist in 2004 with the caption: "Theo Van Gogh – Have Matt Stone And Trey Parker Forgotten This?" The post, which also included the address to Stone and Parker's offices, asks readers to "contact them" or "pay Comedy Central…a visit." 

 

While RM is mostly active in New York, Chesser led a March 20, 2010, protest in front of the White House, which coincided with an antiwar rally. During the protest, Chesser called Obama "an enemy of our religion and a tyrant."  At the rally, Younes Abdullah Muhammad, the acting leader of RM, 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."

 

For additional information on Chesser, see: Abu Talhah Al-Amrikee: An Extensive Online Footprint

 



New Jersey Terror Suspects

Two New Jersey men arrested on June 5, 2010, for planning to kill American soldiers overseas and fight with the Somali-based terrorist group Al Shabaab, participated in a number of Revolution Muslim (RM) events, as well as events organized by the Islamic Thinkers Society (ITS), which often cooperates with RM. The following is a sampling of RM and ITS events that Mohamed Mahmood Alessa and Carlos Eduardo Almonte.

 

  • June 1, 2010 - Islamic Thinkers Society – Both Alessa and Almonte participated in an ITS protest in front of the Israeli consulate in New York.The protest was part of a larger rally to protest the Israeli Navy's raid of a flotilla of ships heading towards Gaza. At the protest, which took place less than a week before the two were apprehended in JFK airport, Almonte held an ITS poster with the slogan, "Exterminate the Zionist Roaches." Both men were documented in an ITS video standing next to the group's spokesman as he read ITS's statement condemning Israel.

  • May 23, 2010 - Islamic Thinkers Society and Revolution Muslim – Alessa attended ITS's protest of the annual Salute to Israel Parade in New York. An ITS video of the protest shows Alessa leading various chants, including the anti-Jewish slogan, "Khaibar, Khaibar ya Yahud, jaish Muhammad sawfa ya'ud," evoking the Quran's account of a battle between the Prophet Muhammad and the Jews of the town of Khaibar, which resulted in the subjugation of the Jews of Arabia. An RM video of the event shows Alessa standing next to RM leader Younes Abdullah Muhammad as he condemns Israel.  

  • May 1, 2010 - Revolution Muslim – Alessa manned an RM information table in Times Square, helping with the sound system and organizing the display.
  • March 20, 2010 - Islamic Thinkers Society and Revolution Muslim – Alessa was in attendance at ITS and RM protests in Washington, DC, coinciding with a mass antiwar rally." An ITS video of the protest that was posted on ITS's Web site, starts and ends with prolonged shots of Alessa marching in front of the White House with a flag bearing the Islamic declaration of faith. In a separate RM video, Alessa and Abdullah Muhammad stand next to Zachary Chesser as he read RM's statement. Chesser, an RM member form Virginia who threatened the creators of South Park in April 2010, was arrested and charged in July 2010 for attempting to travel to Somalia to fight with the terrorist group Al Shabaab.

  • June 1, 2008 - Islamic Thinkers Society and Revolution Muslim – Almonte was in attendance at a joint ITS/RM protest of the annual Salute to Israel Parade in New York. One ITS member held a hand-painted sign that that read "death to all juice" (Almonte carried a similar signs at a ITS/RM rally in December 2008).


Ideology

Yousef al-Khattab and Younes Abdullah Muhammad created Revolution Muslim (RM) in 2007 to promote the ideas of Abdullah al-Faisal, a Jamaica-born Muslim preacher who served four years in a British prison for urging his followers to kill non-Muslims, including Americans, Hindus and Jews. Al-Faisal was deported from Britain to Jamaica in 2007. 

 

In 2008, NYPD Deputy Commissioner for Intelligence David Cohen said that al-Faisal was "the Caribbean equivalent of the Blind Sheikh" in reference to Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman, the Egyptian cleric serving a life sentence for conspiracy to blow up New York landmarks in 1993.

 

According to the RM Web site, one of the group's missions is to "support the dawa [propagation of faith] of our beloved Sheikh Abdullah al-Faisal." In addition to being listed on the RM Web site as the group's "imam and spiritual advisor," al-Faisal appears to communicate with the group. An apparent letter from al-Faisal to al-Khattab on the RM Web site preaches a complete rejection of democracy and modern economics as a condition to being a Muslim. In addition, RM posts recordings of al-Faisal to its Web site and distributes CDs of his speeches on Fridays at locations throughout New York City

 

RM also views Osama bin Laden as a source of inspiration. In a November 2009 interview, al-Khattab explained: "I love Osama bin Laden…because he doesn't seem to have done anything wrong from the [point of view of the] shariah [Islamic law]. I love him more than I love myself."

 

RM seeks to bring about a global Islamic government that will abolish all other forms of governance, including "the dismantlement of western, secular dominance across the world," according to its Web site. This global Islamic government will be achieved through propagation of the faith, or dawa, and through violence.

 

In November 2010, Abdullah Muhammad distributed a pamphlet online titled "On Crafting Islamic Policy: The Methodology of Islamic Social Sciences," which further calls for an Islamic revival. The document explained that the goal of the group is 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." It also asserts that "in order for policy analysis to be effective, an activist component must also exist," and pays tribute to what it calls "Islamic terrorism" for helping spread the message of Islam.

 

A previous RM pamphlet titled "By All Means Necessary" that was written by Abdullah Muhammad and published in December 2008 as a "strategic plan" for the coming two years, "preaching alone could never have achieved the fruit of the effort of a single day," a reference to the September 11 terrorist attacks. During a speech in New York a day after the shooting at Fort Hood in Texas, which left 12 soldiers and one civilian dead and 32 others injured, RM leader, Abdullah as-Sayf Jones, stated: "the greatest way to strike terror into the hearts of America is to hit them right in the heart, here in the heartland and soil."

 

During an impromptu January 23, 2009, speech that Abdullah Muhammad gave while manning RM's information table in midtown Manhattan, he stated that the September 11 attacks were directed at legitimate "military targets." In this speech, posted on RM's YouTube channel, Abdullah Muhammad explained that the World Trade Center was the "home of the economic power house that has kept the Muslims enslaved since the end of World War Two." In his pamphlet, Abdullah Muhammad also explained that the 2002 bombing of a nightclub in Bali, Indonesia, was justified because it was directed at "western tourists" engaged in "immoral acts."

 

RM's messages often condemn Jews, especially orthodox Jewry, reflecting al-Khattab's personal rejection of the religious Jewish practice he first embraced as a young man. While al-Khattab has claimed his hatred is directed not simply at Jews but at the Jewish religion, which he terms the "Rabbinical racist cult," RM holds an extremely anti-Semitic and conspiratorial world view.

 

For example, on May 13, 2010, RM posted an article by a blogger identified as Abu Ayoub Al-Ghareeb that said, "The nature of a Jew [is of a] person who is never satisfied and the [sic] most greediest of God's creatures." The article blames the Jews for the Holocaust, claiming that "Jews…must have done some really horrible things to the German people."

 

RM does not differentiate between Israel and people who support Israel in the U.S. In a recorded statement filmed during the 2010 Salute to Israel Parade in New York, Abdullah Muhammad stated: "we gather here to express our animosity and hatred for not only the state of Israel but all those that support it with self, wealth, word or weapons." 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."    

 

RM also explicitly calls for genocide against Jews in Israel. One of the signs its members often display during anti-Israel rallies reads: "God will send the mushroom cloud over Israel." During a November 2009 interview, al-Khattab said, "I would like to see Israel wiped off the map. I would like to see a mushroom cloud over it." The group has also posted several videos online that show its leaders displaying jovial reactions to terrorist attacks in Israel and mock the victims.

 

In June 2008, members taunted marchers at the Salute to Israel Parade in New York with obscenities such as: "control the animal population, reopen Auschwitz…sanitize the Zionists…get the ovens burning."  Al-Khattab once signed a comment to an RM forum with the German words "Arbeit Macht Frei," the infamous Nazi slogan displayed on the entrance to the concentration camp in Auschwitz.



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