Extremist Islamic Web site founder admits to postings supporting terrorist attacks
By Matt Zapotosky, Published: October 30, 2013
The Washington Post
A New Jersey man who prosecutors say used his Islamic Web site to advocate violence against those whose ideals he found offensive to his religion pleaded guilty Wednesday to using the Internet to put another in fear of death or injury, admitting that he posted material supportive of various terrorist attacks and hinted that his followers should target a Jewish organization in Brooklyn.
Yousef Mohamid al-Khattab, 45, an American-born man with dual citizenship in Israel, told a federal judge in Virginia that he wrote the posts “out of my stupidity.” Yet he vigorously disagreed with prosecutors’ assertion that he intended to incite violence.
“I never intended to physically hurt anybody,” Khattab said. “I think they could prove it, but that’s not my intention, Your Honor.”
Khattab, who court records show also used the names Joseph Cohen and Joseph Kaplan, spoke extensively during a hearing in U.S. District Court in Alexandria. The former culinary student who has a son in New York and a wife in Morocco went through his plea agreement almost line by line, questioning portions, clarifying others and saying that he signed the document because it was “the best I think I’m going to get out of this.”
“I can’t agree with every law that I have to keep, but I have to keep the law,” he said.
Khattab admitted that he helped found the “Revolution Muslim” organization in 2007 and that he wrote offensive and incendiary posts on the group’s now-defunct Web site, RevolutionMuslim.com. In a November 2009 post, for example, Khattab referred to Nidal M. Hasan — an Army psychiatrist who opened fire on dozens of soldiers at Fort Hood, Tex., killing 13 — as an “officer and a gentleman” who “was injured while partaking in a preemptive attack,” court records show.
In a January 2009 post, he told viewers to seek out leaders of Jewish Federation chapters in the United States and “deal with them directly at their homes,” court records show.
In another post that year, Khattab, who lives in Atlantic City, added a photo of the Chabad Jewish organization headquarters in Brooklyn with a link to a map, court records show. He noted that Chabad’s main temple was always full at prayer times and wrote, “Make EVERY attempt to reach these people and teach them the message of Islam or leave them a message from Islam,” court records show.
After the New York City Police Department parked a vehicle in front of the building, Khattab posted a slide show that alternated images of the police protection, a blood-stained Hebrew prayer book and dead children, court records show.
Khattab is among those charged in a crackdown against U.S. men whom federal prosecutors say tried to inspire terrorists to commit violence in the name of Islam. Jesse C. Morton, a co-founder of the Revolution Muslim organization, was sentenced last year to 111 / 2 years in prison after he admitted that he encouraged extremists to attack the writers of the “South Park” animated TV show because an episode featured the prophet Muhammad in a bear suit. Another man, Zachary A. Chesser, an Oakton High School graduate and former basketball and football player, was sentenced in 2011 to 25 years in prison in a similar case.
Khattab faces a maximum of five years in prison at his Feb. 7 sentencing, and U.S. District Judge Liam O’Grady allowed him to remain free on bond until then. Alan H. Yamamoto, his attorney, said after the hearing that his client is “regretful,” even if he did not mean real harm. “He posted certain items,” Yamamoto said. “People made what they would of them.
Facebook 'monitoring' page calling for 3rd intifada
By YAAKOV LAPPIN
Social networking group believes page does not advocate violence against Israel, but has removed individual violent posts.
The Facebook social networking site is monitoring an Arabic-language page which calls for a “third intifada” against Israel, but the site’s bosses have concluded that it has not gone beyond the bounds of acceptable speech, and have decided not to remove it, The Jerusalem Post learned on Sunday.
The Facebook page, called “Third Palestinian intifada,” has attracted over 330,000 fans since going online, and has issued a call for a mass march into Israel from neighboring countries.
It has been condemned as a violence-promoting page by Diaspora Affairs and Public Diplomacy Minister Yuli Edelstein, who sent a letter last week to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg with a request to remove the page, and by the Anti-Defamation League, whose national director, Abraham Foxman, described it as “an appalling abuse of technology to promote terrorist violence.”
The page is centered around the following message, composed by the administrator, “The neighboring country will start a march to Palestine on the 15th of May. After that, all the Muslim countries will soon march, [and] Palestine will be liberated.”
A translation of the Arabic text was provided by the SITE Monitoring Service, which tracks online jihadi activity.
Since creating the page, a number of posts have been left on it by fans that carry both implicit and explicit violent content, SITE has found.
These include, “Prepare: Death comes to you, O raider of this abode.”
The page’s administrators posted a quotation of a Hadith (Islamic tradition) that is popular with radical groups, which reads, “The hour [of redemption] does not come until the Muslim fight the Jews and even the stones and trees say, ‘O Muslim, a Jew is behind me, so kill him.’” Other posts have made reference to “paradise,” a term often used in Islamist circles to promote acts of terrorism.
“Paradise beckons you to tell everyone about 5/15,” read one post.
Individual posts and comments on the page that incite to violence are being investigated by Facebook and removed, sources within the networking site have said. Facebook representatives have also made contact with the page’s administrator and requested closer monitoring of content.
The Facebook page has been picked up by and promoted on jihadi Internet forums. Earlier this month, an al-Qaida affiliated forum discussed the page’s creation, and urged members to join it.
A statement e-mailed to the Post by a Facebook spokesman said, “We want Facebook to be a place where people can openly discuss issues and express their views, while respecting the rights and feelings of others.
“With now more than 500 million users from around the world, who have varying cultures and ideals, using Facebook as a place to discuss and share things that are important to them, we sometimes find people discussing and posting about topics that others may find controversial, inaccurate, or offensive.
“While some kinds of comments and content may be upsetting for someone – criticism of a certain culture, country, religion, lifestyle, or political ideology, for example – that alone is not a reason to remove the discussion. We strongly believe that Facebook users have the ability to express their opinions, and we don’t typically take down content, groups or Pages that speak out against countries, religions, political entities, or ideas.”
Radical websites defy deportation threat
by urging Islamic war on West
By Duncan Gardham
Radical websites are continuing to encourage Muslims to fight western nations despite the threat of new legislation.
The website of the organisation Hizb ut-Tahrir, which has repeatedly stressed its opposition to violence, tells its followers: "We begin fighting the enemy even if he did not start fighting us. . . Jihad is not a defensive war; it is in fact a war to raise the word of Allah and it is compulsory originally in order to spread Islam and to carry its message even if the disbelievers did not attack us."
In an article on the G8 summit, but referring to the London bombings, Hizb ut-Tahrir says it is "against explosions in cities".
But it adds: "We wonder why the West look at their civilians who have been killed in one way and look at Muslims who have been killed in another way? Why do those non-believers in the West and the Jews expect that the massacre of Muslims will not result in violent reactions from Muslims?
"Why do they not expect that the violation of honour, desecration of Korans and the sanctities, the brutal crimes in occupied Muslim countries such as Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan, Kashmir and Chechnya will push some people to take revenge, to meet killing with killing. Why do they not expect this?"
The article adds that the solution is the creation of an Islamic state. "It will bring back the Muslim world's glory and power and cut the hand of every non-believing colonialist who extends his hand to harm the Muslim countries and it will protect Islam, the honour of Muslims and their sanctities. It will begin the conquests and spread goodness to all corners of the world."
Another website, Islamic Awakenings, says it aims to "face the ideological onslaught waged on the Muslims by exposing the doctrines of deviancy and disbelief, such as secularism, socialism, democracy and nationalism".
Charles Clarke, the Home Secretary, announced last week that he would extradite individuals involved in extremist websites that "foment, justify or glorify terrorist violence" where Britain has received reassurances from their home countries that they will not be tortured. But the rules would not cover whole organisations such as Hizb ut-Tahrir, and a separate consultation is taking place on plans to ban such groups.
A number of Muslim organisations, including the Muslim Council of Britain and the Muslim Association of Britain, have claimed the plans would be counterproductive.
Over the weekend a Saudi extremist, Mohammad al-Masari, put an "obituary" on his website to try to head off the threat of deportation from Britain. He claimed to be a victim of the "murder of freedom of expression by the oppressive regime led by Tony Blair, the liar and well-known war criminal".
He added: "Unfortunately we had to suspend big parts of our electronic site until this inquisition blows over or until I move to a country that allows an acceptable degree of free speech."
Al-Masari, who has a home in this country, ran a website that showed videos of suicide bombings.
Other extremists are thought to be on a list drawn up by the Home Office. They include a Saudi who lives in Willesden, north London, where he ran websites linked by America to al-Qa'eda.
Another is an Egyptian who runs a bookshop in west London and is said to be responsible for a bomb blast in Egypt that failed to kill the former prime minister, Atef Sedki, in 1993.
Meanwhile, a controversial Islamic scholar supported by Ken Livingstone, the London mayor, has said it is a duty of Muslims in Palestine and Iraq to become suicide bombers.
Yusuf al-Qaradawi, speaking at a conference in Egypt, said: "I think that saying it is a legitimate right in Palestine and Iraq is not enough because a right is something that can be relinquished. It is a duty.
"The truth is we should refrain from raising this issue because doubting it is like joining the Zionists and Americans in condemning our brothers in Hamas, the Jihad, the Islamic factions and the resistance factions in Iraq."
Talking about the London bombings, he added: "We cannot say we pat these misguided boys on the back but we do want to listen.
"They have gone astray so we want to treat them in a way that will set them straight. . . We want to treat them the way clerics treat their students, the way fathers treat their sons."
Mr Livingstone has said he would take the Government to court if Qaradawi was not allowed into the country under the Home Secretary's new rules.
By HANNAH K. STRANGE
UPI U.K. Correspondent
LONDON, Nov. 16 (UPI) -- The British government approved on Wednesday the extradition of Babar Ahmad to the United States to face terrorism charges. The controversial decision prompted heavy criticism from human rights and legal campaigners, and outrage among British Muslims.
Ahmad, a British citizen, is accused of running Web sites inciting terrorism and urging Muslims to join a holy war. U.S. authorities claim that from 1997 he was involved in "conspiring to support terrorism," and "sought, invited and solicited contributions" via Web sites and e-mail.
The Web sites allegedly call for support for terrorist causes in Afghanistan and Chechnya, and give details of how to transfer money and useful equipment. The United States also claims Ahmad tried to set up a terrorist training camp in Arizona.
His lawyers have said Ahmad would be at risk of the death penalty if he was sent to the United States and transferred to military jurisdiction. However the Home Office says it has sought and received assurances that the death penalty will not be applied.
Ahmad's case has been the subject of a high-profile campaign led by his family, who have lobbied parliamentarians, organized protests and compiled petitions of over 15,000 signatures.
The Home Office said it had "given full consideration" to representations made on behalf of Ahmad, but decided his case met the conditions for extradition. His family said they would appeal the order in the High Court.
The controversy surrounding the case centers on two issues: That Ahmad was previously arrested by British authorities and released without charge, and that under a new law, the United States does not have to provide detailed evidence of the case against him.
Ahmad, a 31-year-old computer expert from south London, was first arrested in December 2003 under the Terrorism Act, but released without charge after six days. In July 2004, he was indicted by the United States, and rearrested pending extradition.
If his extradition goes ahead, it will be the first time a British citizen has been extradited under the Extradition Treaty 2003. The controversial treaty, which came into force in January 2004, allows a country to request extradition without being required to provide detailed evidence, but simply a summary of the allegations.
Sir Menzies Campbell, Liberal Democrat shadow foreign secretary and an international lawyer, said the extradition exposed the faults in the treaty, which the United States had yet to ratify.
"This man's extradition is based on a one-sided U.S.-U.K. treaty which the U.S. Senate has so far refused to ratify," he said.
"It is concerning that British citizens have less constitutional protection than their American counterparts, perhaps a measure of the extent to which our policy appears subordinate to the U.S."
Sir Iqbal Sacranie, Secretary-General of the Muslim Council of Britain, said this was "a very sad day for all who value fairness and justice.
"It is unacceptable that under the Extradition Treaty 2003 there is no longer any need for the U.S. government to prove to a U.K. court or even to the home secretary that there is a prima facie case against British citizens. We are very disappointed that the home secretary has agreed to this extradition request and we call on him to renegotiate the Extradition Treaty 2003 so that it better protects our citizens - whether Muslims or non-Muslims - from this type of manifest injustice. If our government has any evidence of wrongdoing on the part of Babar Ahmad then he should be charged in this country and put on trial here."
Liberty, a prominent human rights and legal organization, said it was currently involved in a similar case involving the so-called "Enron Three," a trio of bankers appealing against extradition to the United States on allegations of fraud.
Like Ahmad, the three are British citizens, and are facing no charges in Britain despite having allegedly committed the offenses on British soil, against a British bank.
Lawyers for the men told the High Court Tuesday that it appeared such cases were "simply going to be sub-contracted out to the U.S. to prosecute on the grounds they got there first."
Jen Corlew of Liberty told United Press International that the central point of appeal in both cases was against the assumption that a British citizen should be sent to the United States to face charges, when no such case had been made against them in Britain.
If there was a case to answer there was no reason why they should not stand trial in Britain, she said.
Lawyers were also questioning why, under the Extradition Treaty, the United States had been granted honorary status as a category one extradition partner when, as a non-EU country, it should be classed as category two.
Both the appeals would act as test cases for the Extradition Treaty, she added.
Muslim leaders warned the case would further alienate and radicalize Muslim youth in Britain.
Responding to the extradition order on his website, Ahmad, who is currently being held in Woodhill Prison, Milton Keynes, wrote:
"This decision should only come as a surprise to those who thought that there was still justice for Muslims in Britain."
Pentagon Surfing Thousands of Jihad Sites
By KATHERINE SHRADER Associated Press Writer
The Associated Press
May 4, 2006, 6:08PM
WASHINGTON — A Pentagon research team monitors more than 5,000 jihadist Web sites, focusing daily on the 25 to 100 most hostile and active, defense officials say.
The team includes 25 linguists, who cover multiple dialects of the Arabic language and provide reports on events sparking anger on extremist Web sites, Dan Devlin, a Pentagon public diplomacy specialist, said Thursday. The researchers, for instance, focused in November on the backlash caused by the Danish cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad.
Devlin testified to Congress as part of a briefing on how terrorists use the Internet.
Extremist propaganda is most often used to recruit jihadist fighters and supporters between the ages of 7 and 25, the officials said. But "we've seen products that are aimed at ages even lower than 7," testified Pentagon contractor Ron Roughhead. His company wasn't identified, for security reasons.
According to the briefing, al-Qaida has advertised online to fill jobs for Internet specialists, and its media group has distributed computer games and recruitment videos that use everything from poetry to humor to false information to gather support. The media group has assembled montages of American politicians taking aim at the Arab world.
"This crusade _ crusade _ crusade _ is going to take awhile," President Bush says in one video, edited to make him repeat the word "crusade" six other times.
The officials said they are hoping to give a version of the briefing eventually to all U.S. soldiers in Iraq and the broader region.
The goal is "to help train U.S. forces deploying to Iraq on radical Islam and the need to respect Arabic and Muslim culture," said House Intelligence Chairman Peter Hoekstra, R-Mich.
Also Thursday, the Senate Judiciary Committee discussed legislation that would go after al-Qaida's more private communications using Bush's warrantless surveillance program.
The committee broke without voting on several bills to govern the controversial program, which allows the National Security Agency to monitor _ without court warrants _ terror-related communications between the U.S. and overseas.
Committee Chairman Arlen Specter, R-Pa., has introduced a bill that would require the administration to get approval for the surveillance from a secretive federal court every 90 days. He circulated a possible modification to his proposal late Wednesday that Democrats suggested would give the government more flexibility to conduct surveillance.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., asked Specter to postpone consideration of any bill until she and other lawmakers get more information on the program from the administration. "We cannot fairly consider legislation," she wrote Specter.
Revealed: Sydney's web of hate
July 10, 2006
MUSLIM extremists in Sydney are using the internet to gather support for making Australia an Islamic state.
The chat rooms also reveal a ground swell of support for
notorious terrorists such as Abu Musab al-Zarqawi among some young Muslims
living in the suburbs.
Just a day after investigators in the US uncovered an internet-based plot to attack New York, The Daily Telegraph can reveal that Australian Muslim websites are awash with similar material.
The sinister forums are contained in innocent-looking websites posing as community discussion boards.
The Sydney Muslim Youth Forum, on which hundreds of young Muslims exchange views about Islam, devotes several threads to turning Australia an Islamic state.
"I reckon we stay and try our best to get to high positions in this country so it comes to the fold of Islam," wrote one member calling himself God's Slave 4 Life.
Another member called Wasalam also suggested imposing the Muslim way of life on Australian society from the inside and called on members to pray for Muslims waging war overseas.
"We have to be sure firstly that Allah is pleased with us and that we're completing our task and that we're not only stressing about what's happening but that we are also doing something about it," Wasalam writes.
"May Allah help us and bring victory to the Muslimeen and Mujahideen in every land, ameen."
But a female member tells her friends that Australian Muslims would be better off moving overseas.
"Don't you think we should all unite in one land and from there re-organise ourselves into different territories?" she wrote.
"We are investing our gold n' silver in a non-Muslim land and at any moment if the big bosses think we're up to no good, they can just freeze everything!"
The Muslim Village website - a branch of the mainstream IslamicSydney.com site - contains disturbing messages of support for some of the world's most reviled terrorists.
Abu Musab al-Zarqawi who was killed by US forces last month in an airstrike after a rein of terror which included the beheading western hostages, is described as a hero of the Islamic cause.
While some members of the chat room rejoiced in Zarqawi's death, others expressed their dismayed.
"I don't understand why some of you seem pleased about his death," wrote one member identifying himself as Sumguy. "I don't think that's right. It's disrespectful."
Another member scorned moderate Muslims who welcomed Zarqawi's death as a victory over terrorism.
"You're probably happy at the same time that the US forces are still there killing thousands of others," he wrote.
"As for the Muslim, he does not celebrate the killing of a Muslim."
Radical Islamic Groups Exploit Internet for Jihad
Thursday , December 21, 2006
By Kelley Beaucar Vlahos
WASHINGTON — The global jihadist movement wants the world to adopt Islam's 7th century values, and it's using 21st century technology to do it. In fact, radical Islamic Web sites are years ahead of any Western counter-efforts, say Web watchers and terror trackers.
“In terms of the propaganda war, they are way ahead of us — they are 10 years ahead of us,” said Stephen Ulph, a senior fellow at the Washington-based Jamestown Foundation, where he is a specialist in Middle East and North African affairs. “[The Internet] seems to me to be the real center of gravity for the jihad movement.”
On Wednesday, a video broadcast by Al Jazeera television network showed the deputy leader of Al Qaeda saying the United States is negotiating with the wrong people in Iraq and implying the U.S. needs to talk to his group.
The video — which bore the logo of Al Qaeda's media production house, al-Sahab — was the 15th time this year that Egyptian-born Ayman al-Zawahiri has sent out a statement. The video bore the hallmarks of his previous messages — all authenticated by CIA analysts.
Aside from the video itself — the growing technical sophistication of the terrorists was marked by the fact that U.S. intelligence officials learned about the emergence of a possible message by Al-Zawhiri from speculation that spread across "Jihad-type Web sites."
Days before the video surfaced, intelligence officials warned U.S. news outlets not to get too carried away by the announcement of an impending tape because the pattern of promoting upcoming videos via the Internet had been a technique used in the past to maximize media coverage.
Laws exist in the United States and other countries against Web sites that directly incite violence, but the U.S government has had a tough time monitoring and shutting those down. That challenge has been compounded by the fact that these jidahist sites are typically not in English, can be posted and removed quickly and utilize servers scattered across different countries on the globe.
Web sites that seek to inspire, indoctrinate and recruit Muslims for jihad don’t necessarily call for violent action. Instead, they seek to persuade potential recruits with mountains of literature, religious text, interpretations and the allure of a worldwide community of brotherhood.
Robert Steele, a former clandestine case officer for the CIA who works in open source intelligence, that is, building intelligence by monitoring and trolling public information, like the Internet, said one-third of the Jihadist Web sites operating today are used to incite violence, one-third raise funds for organizations that fund terrorists, and another third indoctrinate through theology and intellectual discourse.
They are all growing in popularity.
“It’s spreading like wildfire. It’s phenomenally successful,” Steele said.
Stephen Schwartz, author of "The Two Faces of Islam: The House of Sa'ud from Tradition to Terror," said he is struck by the sophistication of technology and breadth of content on the sites, which are primarily used for indoctrination into the radical Muslim ideology of jihad.
“The jihadist Web sites are pretty extraordinary when you look at them,” he said. “The combination of money, youth imagination, fanaticism, the desire for simplicity and the desire to sweep people away — it’s really a potent mixture.”
Opinions differ about the goals of these sites are, but most agree they include spreading the pursuit of cleansing the Muslim world of tyrants and apostates — those Muslims not loyal to their vision of the faith — through jihad. Other more vociferous sites, particularly those linked to Al Qaeda, advocate some form of action and almost all reflect hostility toward the United States and the West.
The sites are generously funded by sources in Iran, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Egypt, countries that are typically very restrictive about Internet activity but have so far been inept at controlling Web sites or fairly lax in their concern about this particular content, say those familiar with these outlets.
“The Saudis shut down a number of these sites for a while,” said Schwartz. “I don’t think Pakistan has done anything to control the e-jihad. A lot of the e-jihad is being run from Europe, some is run from the United States.”
Some terror analysts note the Catch-22 associated with controlling jihadist messages on the Internet — they suggest that Western adherence to civil liberties, like freedom of expression, is preventing law enforcement types from choking off the lifeblood of these Web sites.
“They are successful because they use the legal system of the West and hide under it,” said Walid Phares, terrorism expert for the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies. "[They] use liberties to their advantage.”
Former House speaker Newt Gingrich, raised eyebrows recently when he suggested that such liberties might need to be re-examined against the threat of Internet jihad and the associated possibility of terror attacks against Americans.
But Schwartz said the issue is more complicated than that. While sites inciting violence already violate U.S. law, indoctrination sites may be useful in terms of keeping an eye on what extremists are planning. The Zawahiri video is a case in point.
“My ability to know what is going on depends on my ability to monitor what is going on,” he said, noting that transparency seems like the best policy in order to spot a real terror threat creeping out of the shadows.
Ulph, Phares and Schwartz also said the best way to combat cyber-radicalization is through a well-orchestrated, relentless propaganda machine on the other side, engaging the jihadists on a theological and cultural level and employing moderate Muslim scholars and activists willing to bully their way onto the Internet battlefield.
"We really need to get our acts together and martial the entire liberal movement in the Muslim community, plus the non-Muslim West, to starting chipping away" at the religious arguments for jihad, said Ulph.
He said weaknesses in their intellectual defenses, like the question of violence against other Muslims, could be exploited by aggressive, loud, publicity-grabbing moderate Muslims.
"What you want are bullies -- a clever media response from people who are of the right age group, not camera-shy and proactive," he said.
But others say they are doubtful. Michael Scheuer, a former CIA analyst who headed the counterterrorism unit dedicated to tracking Usama bin Laden in the 1990s, said anti-terror forces cannot win by fighting radicals on a theological level because the so-called moderate and liberal Muslims are more wary of U.S. influence in the Muslim world than they are of extremists in their ranks.
"The reality is, liberals, moderates and conservatives in the Muslim world all hate our foreign policy" and no amount of counter-propaganda is going to curb the spread and popularity of these Web sites, said Scheuer. "You can argue religion all you want … but as long as the argument is the Americans are still occupying Iraq, well, it's hard to discredit that argument."
Phares countered that jihad was growing long before the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks and it is wrong to think it is all about U.S. foreign policy.
"This is a very old ideology with objectives much wider than the specific goals of U.S. policy in the region. Just the opposite, a U.S. policy that supports democracy and freedom in the region is the only rational response to the rise of the terrorist ideologies," he said.
While calling the extremist Web sites "dangerous and very hard to combat," Abbas Kadhim, an assistant professor of Islamic Studies at the Naval Postgraduate School in California, said the United States has so far failed in its pledge to help democratize the region. Continued oppression in Saudi Arabia and Egypt, two U.S. allies, are examples of that. This status quo has only served to encourage extremist rhetoric while dissuading sought-after moderates.
"The reason for not being on top of this war in cyber space is the same reason the U.S is not winning the war of ideas on Al Jazeera and other media," Kadhim said. "It's about not being able to compete in terms of popularity in the Middle East. People see the inconsistencies in policy and they see rhetoric not matched by action."
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