Yousef al-Khattab is now trying to pretend that it was all a joke, but he made no secret of his love for jihad terror and hatred of the infidels. He praised Osama bin Laden, filmed himself rejoicing in the murder of Daniel Pearl and saying he had no problem eating popcorn while watching the video of Pearl’s beheading, and mocked the killing and maiming of U.S. troops in Iraq.
Al-Khattab pleaded guilty to posting material online supporting jihad terror attacks and targeting Jews. He was a founder of the Revolution Muslim group, as well as the Islamic Thinkers Society. He has said: “I love Osama bin Laden…I love him…because I haven’t seen that he’s really done anything wrong from the Sharia. I love him more than I love myself.” Of Fort Hood jihad mass murderer Nidal Malik Hasan, al-Khattab wrote:
An officer and a gentleman was injured while partaking in a preemptive attack. Get Well Soon Major Nidal We Love You. We do NOT denounce this officer’s actions… .Sharing a Smile with the International Community, Yousef al-Khattab.
All this (and there was much more like it) was bad enough, but al-Khattab also demonstrated a decided inclination not just to praise jihadi killers like bin Laden and Hasan, but to follow in their footsteps. Philadelphia Magazine reported that al-Khattab,
posted a message asking Allah to punish Jewish people using “liquid drain cleaner in their faces” and by making “their fingers and brains stick on cafe walls from impact.”
He strongly hinted that Muslims should take up that job for Allah and kill Jews themselves. This glorification of jihad mass murder of Jews is all the more chilling in light of the fact that Yousef al-Khattab is a convert to Islam from Judaism. Formerly Joseph Cohen, he lived in Orthodox communities in Brooklyn and Israel before violently rejecting his religion, culture, and heritage.
Al-Khattab seemed particularly intent on inciting the murder of his former friends and associates. According to the Washington Post,
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.”
What kind of message from Islam he had in mind was illustrated by an image he once posted of himself with his three sons, photoshopped onto the Jerusalem skyline, with the Dome of the Rock prominently in the background. Al-Khattab and each of his sons, Abdel Rahman, Abdel Aziz, and Abdullah (who looks about eight years old), is holding an AK-47.
“New Jersey man sentenced to prison for extremist Islamic Web posts,” by Matt Zapotosky, Washington Post, April 24, 2014:
A New Jersey man who used his Islamic organization’s Web site to advocate violence against those whose ideals he found offensive to his religion was sentenced Friday to two and a half years in prison — a modest term that a federal judge said he imposed so people would “understand the line” between free speech and criminal calls for violence.
Yousef al-Khattab, 45, renounced his postings during the hearing in federal court in Alexandria, asking district Judge Liam O’Grady to hold him responsible only “for what I say, not how other people understood it.”
Derisively calling himself a “clown” and “the Gilbert Gottfried of the Muslims,” al-Khattab said he did not intend to incite violence but would not make the postings today that he did years ago.
“I look back now, and I’m very wrong,” al-Khattab said.
For his part, O’Grady said that he believed al-Khattab would not make the postings again but was skeptical that his intention was only to spark discussion. O’Grady asked al-Khattab particularly about a post he made seeming to direct followers to attack the Chabad Jewish organization headquarters in Brooklyn.
Court records show that in 2009, al-Khattab posted of photo of the headquarters, with a link to a map, and noted the main temple was always full at prayer times. In another post that year, he told viewers to seek out leaders of Jewish organizations in the United States and “deal with them directly at their homes,” court records show.
Khattab pleaded guilty in October to using the Internet to put another in fear of death or injury.
“To a reasonable person, you were espousing violence, encouraging violence, praising violence in very plain language,” O’Grady said. “What you did is criminal.”
Prosecutors argued, too, that authorities had connected more than a dozen followers of al-Khattab and the organization he helped found — Revolution Muslim — to various terrorist plots or organizations. Among them were Colleen LaRose, the American woman who used the nickname JihadJane as she allegedly recruited people to “wage violent jihad,” and Samir Khan, who is said to have founded the notorious al-Qaeda magazine Inspire. He was killed in a controversial drone strike alongside American Anwar al-Awlaki, an al-Qaeda operative.
“Mr. Khattab’s aim was to inspire Muslims to engage in terrorism,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Gordon D. Kromberg said in court. “He succeeded.”
Alan H. Yamamoto, al-Khattab’s defense attorney, argued that his client’s postings were no different than those of several anti-Muslim groups, and al-Khattab thought what he was doing was legally protected as free speech. He acknowledged that al-Khattab “stepped over the line,” but disputed the notion that he was “the reason all these nuts are out there doing things.”
Al-Khattab himself renounced some terrorist attacks, including the Boston Marathon bombing, and referred to some of his former affiliates as “scum.”
“To hold him responsible for all the hate and anger that’s out there is just not correct,” Yamamoto said. “He was a block in that wall, but he’s not the wall.”
Prosecutors had asked that al-Khattab spend three years in prison; Yamamoto sought just a year and a day for his client.
O’Grady said he agreed that al-Khattab’s actions warranted a lesser punishment than those in similar cases. Revolution Muslim co-founder Jesse C. Morton, for example, was sentenced in 2012 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.
But O’Grady also said “freedom of speech carries with it responsibility,” and Al-Khattab’s posts were “horrific.”
Al-Khattab, who was allowed to report on his own to jail at a later date, told O’Grady after the sentence was imposed: “I have no hard feelings, and I thank you.” He declined to comment after the hearing.