Islamism: When Words Lead To Killing

by THE EDITOR November 4, 2010
The Investigative Project on Terrorism reports that the American pro-jihadist groups Revolution Muslim and the Islamic Thinkers Society are shifting from “ideological to operational” activities. The case of Zacchary Chesser (below) who was a member of Revolution Muslim when he threatened the creators of South Park and went on to attempt to go to Somalia to join the al-Qaeda related terrorist group Al Shabaab, is an obvious instance of this “ideological to operational” shift.
 
 
IPT gives several examples of individuals related to Revolution Muslim and the Islamic Thinkers Society who went on to be charged or convicted of terrorism offenses. The latest of these individuals is 21-year old Abdel Hameed Shehadeh, formerly a resident of Staten Island, who is accused of lying to FBI officials about his (alleged) intentions to join the Taliban. He had tried to go to Somalia earlier, while on a “no fly” list, and had been arrested in Hawaii on October 22. On June 13, 2008, he had flown on a one-way ticket to Pakistan and had been refused entry. He had returned to the U.S.A. and had then tried to join the army. The federal complaint alleges that he had lied in interviews about his purpose for travelling to Pakistan. The DOJ states:
 
In addition, the complaint alleges that Shehadeh created and administered multiple web sites dedicated to spreading violent jihadist ideology. The content of these web sites included, among other things, speeches from known al-Qaeda leaders such as Abu Yahya al-Libi and Ayman al-Zawahiri.
 
According to IPT, Shehadeh had been closely involved with the Revolution Muslim website.
 
On October 22, I discussed the negative influences of those Islamists who live in the West and proclaim that violence is the true nature of Islam. There are currently three influential groups that promote this violent interpretation of Islam to a generally young audience in America and the English-speaking world: The Islamic Thinkers Society, Revolution Muslim, and Al-Muhajiroun. The first two are based in America, while the latter group (operating under various names) is based in Britain. I wrote then about how these websites share information and articles, and also issue their own fatwas.
 
In Britain, the Al-Muhajiroun group is headed by Anjem Choudary who sits as a judge in his own sharia court, where he likes to give fatwas and “legitimize” Muslim marriages. His “court” is called “UK Shariah Court” and was originally founded by his mentor, the extremist preacher Omar Bakri Mohammed. This court is not included in the 85 Sharia courts that already operate with semi-legal authority in Britain. Choudary also runs the “London School of Sharia” which has no fixed address.
 
The current front page of the Islamic Thinkers Society has an article which defends Choudary as a “victim” of CNN media bias, and has quotes from Choudary:
 
“The interview, which was conducted in the London studios of CNN, involved a conversation between three CNN reporters and me. Those watching will have heard me answer to the question of whether I was ‘encouraging attacks of this sort’ in the USA with the reply ‘of course I am’. What they will not realise is that only the first part of the question was played to me in my ear i.e. ‘are you communicating with individuals within the United States?’ to which I answered ‘of course I am’ because the world of the internet is very small and that in fact I communicate with people all over the world to embrace Islam and to practise their religion. The ‘encouraging attacks’ part of the question was in fact never audible to me.”
 
I wrote recently of how Choudary’s (officially disbanded but operating under aliases) Al-Muhajiroun group had associates and members who were linked to the Revolution Muslim website. Sayful Islam is an Al-Muhajiroun member from Luton in Bedfordshire (aka Ishtiaq Alamgir) who uses the Revolution Muslim website to promote his videos and audios on his website Izharudeen. Revolution Muslim also extols the sermons of Jamaican-born preacher Abdullah el-Faisal and one of the founders of the group, Yousef Al-Khattab, had confirmed that he was in direct communication with Faisal.
 
Indoctrinated in Saudi Arabia, Faisal was jailed in Britain in March 2003 for soliciting murder. He had called for the deaths of Jews, Hindus and Christians. He had also influenced the London bombers who killed 52 people on July 7, 2005, (two of these were associates of Al-Muhajiroun members who had a large stash of ammonium nitrate and planned a massive terror attack in Britain). Faisal was deported back to Jamaica in 2007. From 2008-2009 he was in Africa, traveling through Nigeria, Angola, Mozambique, Swaziland and Malawi and Tanzania. Over the New Year of 2009/2010 he was in Kenya before being sent back to Jamaica. Before he left, his presence in Kenya had led to riots in which at least one person was killed. He was deported back to Jamaica where he is banned from preaching.
 
However, “Shaykh Faisal” is still using the internet to preach to his followers in America, Africa and Europe. Faisal’s close links with the Al-Muhajiroun network are confirmed in the publicity for an event to be held in London on November 27 (h/t to “Logan’s Warning”).
 
 
The guest speakers will include Al-Muhajiroun members “Sheikh” Anjem Choudary and “Sheikh” Abu Izzadeen (newly released from jail). However, also addressing the event will be the Lebanon-based Omar Bakri Mohammed, and also, Abdullah el-Faisal. At a previous Islamic Revival Rally from 1996 that had been organized by Al-Muhajiroun, Osama bin Laden had been invited.
 
A Murder Attempt Leads To Direct Incitement to Murder
 
If proof were needed that sites such as the Islamic Thinkers Society and Revolution Muslim were being used to deliberately incite acts of violence, today, Revolution Muslim is giving a list on its front page of British Members of Parliament who in 2003 had voted for the invasion of Iraq. Why should this be seen as so provocative?
 
 
Yesterday, a 21 year old woman student called Roshanara Choudhry was jailed for life at the Old Bailey Court in London. She will serve at least 15 years behind bars for attempted murder. In May this year she had approached Stephen Timms, the Member of Parliament for East Ham, at one his “surgeries” where he would meet constituents. She smiled, shook his hand and then stabbed him until she was restrained.
 
She had watched over 100 hours of video sermons from al-Qaeda terrorist promoter Anwar al-Awlaki before she tried to kill Stephen Timms. She had told police:
 
 
I became interested in Anwar al-Awlaki's lectures because he explains things really comprehensively and in an interesting way so I thought I could learn a lot from him and I was also surprised at how little I knew about my religion so that motivated me to learn more...
 
Her main reason for trying to kill Mr Timms was because he had voted for the Iraq War, a decision that was made when she would have only been 13 years old.
 
On the Revolution Muslim website, she is described as a “Mujaahidah.” The website entry, posted by “Bilal,” gives a list of all the British members of parliament who similarly voted for the invasion of Iraq. The web entry then states of Roshonara Choudhry:
 
We ask Allaah to keep her safe and secure, to hasten her release and to reward this heroine immensely. We ask Allaah for her action to inspire Muslims to raise the knife of Jihaad against those who voted for the countless rapes, murders, pillages, and torture of Muslim civilians as a direct consequence of their vote.
 
After talking of inspiring Muslims to “raise the knife of Jihaad against those who voted...” the entry goes on to give the exact times of Mr Timm’s constituency surgery times, how to phone to arrange an appointment, and with the ominous comment: “ At his surgeries you will be able to meet him.”
 
This is a direct incitement to murder.
 
To emphasize the solicitation to kill, the website mentions that four days before Roshonara Choudhry tried to kill Stephen Timms, she was reading a book called “The Book of Jihad,”written by Abi Zakarya Al Dimashqi Al Dumyati or “Ibn-Nuhaas” who died in Egypt in 1411 while committing “offensive jihad”.
 
Ibn-Nuhaas’ Book of Jihad justifies jihad as a deed that will cleanse sins and bring rewards in Heaven, and invokes (p.39) Koranic texts and Hadiths such as the following quote from the Koran (Surah 9, v. 111), translated as:
 
“Indeed, Allah has purchased from the believers their lives and their properties [in exchange] for that they will have Paradise. They fight in the cause of Allah, so they kill and are killed. [It is] a true promise [binding] upon Him in the Torah and the Gospel and the Quran. And who is truer to his covenant than Allah? So rejoice in your transaction, which you have contracted. And it is that which is the great attainment.”
 
For good measure, the entire “Book of Jihad,” translated by Noor Yamani, is given a link on the front page of Revolution Muslim, so a pdf version can be downloaded.
 
This entry on Revolution Muslim is a direct urging of Muslims in Britain to kill members of parliament, and by extension, anyone else who disagrees with or offends Islam (as perceived by these fanatical individuals).
 
I normally give direct links to my sources, but in this case I do not want to become complicit in promoting such details, and hope that this particular page will be closed down as soon as possible.
 
Previous Links to Terrorism
 
The warning given in Steve Emerson’s Investigative Project on Terrorism must be heeded. Revolution Muslim and the Islamic Thinkers’ Society and their close associates from the British Al-Muhajiroun network are serious in their intentions to incite hate and to promote acts of jihad. They are – literally – at war with the West and to allow them to freely continue to recruit is an act of madness on the part of authorities.
 
The strategy made by these groups is designed to draw attention – they hold meetings where outrageous statements are made, and then when the media attention is upon them, they produce documents and quotations from Sirah and Koranic sources to justify their aims to overthrow democracy. The gimmicks draw attention from the media, and then there are more “serious” interpretations of religion to sway potential converts. The model was set by Al-Muhajiroun when it was led by Omar Bakri Mohammed in Britain. It should not be forgotten that on February 27, 1995 (pdf), a gang of followers of Bakri (who was then the leader of the British branch of Hizb ut-Tahrir) murdered an African student,
, Ayotunde David Obanubi, for “insulting” Islam. Two people were convicted of the murder.
 
One of those who had been charged, Kazi Nurur Rahman, would maintain his links with the Al-Muhajiroun group that was finally convicted on April 30, 2007 for attempting to commit terrorist acts. He had wanted to gain weapons to shoot down aircraft. Rahman had attended the same jihadi training camp that the group had attended in Pakistan.
 
The training camp had been maintained by Mohammed Junaid Babar, who was an American national whose mother had been in the WTC On 9/11. Babar was an American member of the Al-Muhajiroun network, and gave evidence at the trial of Rahman and also of the five men who were convicted of the ammonium nitrate bomb plot. On June 2, 2004 in New York, Junaid Babar had admitted his conspiring to provide material support to terrorists. There was a Canadian member of this plot, Momin Khawaja, whose role was intended to be providing detonators for the explosive fertilizer.
 
Another Al-Muhajiroun member from Queens, New York, was Syed Hashmi, who pleaded guilty to conspiring to provide material support to a terrorist organization on April 27, 2010. He had given money and supplies to an al-Qaeda commander, and he was given a 15 year jail sentence in June 2010.
 
 
The links between Al-Muhajiroun and New York were established at least a decade ago - the Islamic Thinkers Society and Revolution Muslim are just the fruit of a seed that was sown back in 2001. Al-Muhajiroun members in Britain have been linked to terrorist attacks, such as the April 30, 2003 suicide bombing at Mike’s Place in Tel Aviv. The suicide bomber, Asif Hanif, who killed 3 people and injured dozens, was a frequent visitor at the Al-Muhajiroun offices/Sharia Court in the Lea Valley Trading Estate in northeast London.
 
Anjem Choudary has admitted to CNN that before 2004, Al-Muhajiroun had a “hub” in New York, and maintained in 2009 that he and Omar Bakri Mohammed were still “loosely connected” to the Islamic Thinkers Society.
 
The leader of Revolution Muslim, which has links to the Islamic Thinkers Society, is Younes Abdullah Mohammed. In 2009, he had said in an interview with CNN that: “We are commanded to terrorize the disbelievers.” One individual connected to Revolution Muslim was a man from Sudbury, Massachusetts called Tarek Mehanna, who was charged in October 2009 with conspiring to provide material support to terrorists: he allegedly plotted “to attack US and allied forces in Iraq, carry out random killings at an American shopping centre and murder high-ranking US government officials.”
 
Two individuals from New Jersey are currently on trial, who were indicted (pdf) for trying to kill people outside the United States are Carlos Eduardo Almonte and Mohamed Mahmood Alessa. They were arrested while allegedly trying to travel to Somalia to join the terrorist group Al Shabaab.
 
 
The two were pictured together in a demonstration organized by the Islamic Thinkers Society. Alamonte was holding an Islamic Thinkers Society poster showing a “Zionist cockroach” subjected to insecticidal spray. Alamonte, who has a ferocious temper, also appears to be the man who appears in this photograph from 2008 (originally on the Jawa Report), in which he holds a placard saying “Death to all Juice” – at an anti-Israel rally.
 
The lessons that should have been learned long ago – that groups that inspire and promote jihadist material will ultimately become conduits for terror – has been ignored for too long. The links between Al-Muhajiroun, Revolution Muslim and the Islamic Thinkers Society are close, and these also have strong links to terrorism.
 
At Tibyan Publications
 
There was a fourth group which operated more online than on the streets, called At-Tibyan. This was run by an individual called Younes Tsouli. At-Tibyan has now been disbanded, and Tsouli is currently in Belmarsh Jail in Britain.
 
However, the reach of the At-Tibyan group spread around the globe, and helped to push “jihad” into people’s homes, via the internet.
 
Moroccan-born Tsouli, who used the online alias of “irhabi 007” (terrorist 007), used the At-Tibyan website to promote the preachings of extremist preachers, many of whom spoke in Arabic to condemn democracy and other aspects of the West. At-Tibyan had a forum, in which people discussed their activities. One of the more alarming things that Tsouli did with his website was to promote the pornography of terrorism – videos of Jordanian-born terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi slowly sawing off the heads of his live victims, who noisily gurgled blood as they tried to breathe, or in one extremely disturbing case, screamed as their throats were sawn open.
 
Al-Jazeera would show videos of hostages awaiting execution made by al-Qaeda, but those displayed on At-Tibyan went the whole way. Zarqawi’s videos, sent around the world, brought him notoriety in the West and also elevated his status as the most influential Islamist in Iraq, and helped him to eventually become head of “Al Qaeda of the Two Rivers.” From his base in Britain, Tsouli’s computer skills helped to bring Zarqawi’s snuff videos to a wider audience. By providing an open channel for publication, Tsouli may have encouraged the creation of more decapitation videos.
 
The at-Tibyan website also promoted Islamist texts, such as this intimidating letter to Pope Benedict, written by Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi (pictured below), who in reality isIslamMohammad Tahir al-Barqawi, (or Assem El Barkaoui). Maqdisi was the spiritual mentor of Zarqawi. According to MEMRI, Maqdisi has been asked to take the role of “interpreter of sharia” by Al-Qaeda in the Maghreb (AQIM, the North African branch of Al-Qaeda, formerly known as GSPC, the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat). Maqdisi was arrested by Jordanian authorities on the night of Friday September 17, 2010 after he was contacted by two members of AQIM/GSPC who wanted him to issue a fatwa authorizing jihad in Algeria.
 
 
Works produced as downloadable pdf files in the English language included titles such as this document, which discusses the differences between Offensive Jihad (Jihad At-Talab) and Defensive Jihad (Jihad Ad-Daf), which explains the “permissibility” of both. The author of the piece is “Sheikh Hussein Ibn Mahmud” (a pseudonym), whose interpretations of Islam generally promote violence. An article by the same author, declaring that the use of the sword is a fundamental part of Islam, appears here on a web forum named after Al-Qassem (the hero of the terrorist group Hamas):
 
Allah then gave the permission to believing to face them and act in order to fight them to prevent the corruption on ground, and so that the religion of Allah dominates, in order to what has religion there on ground only the unicity of Allah, and establishment of its legislation and its justice between its servants. Thus, there is no straightness (QAWÂM) in the religion without the proof and the clarification which do not arrive at people without the sword.
 
 
At-Tibyan published many other works by the same author, such as the Giant Man, a biography of the one-eyed Taliban leader Mullah Omar. A version of this book, in Indonesian, can be found in the Australian National Library.
 
Younes Tsouli’s at-Tibyan group was inspirational and actively involved in terrorist plots that stretched from Sweden to Denmark, Britain, Bosnia, Canada and the United States. His at-Tibyan network was linked to a plot to attack the Canadian parliament in Ottowa and to behead Stephen Harper, the Canadian premier.  For details of these plots, a three part article is available on Family Security Matters, with Part One here, Part Two here, and Part Three here.
 
There were several At-Tibyan publications that were available to download. However, they managed to disseminate many obscure pro-jihadist texts which are now available through other sites.
 
One such site is called Minbar and Tawheed, or (The pulpit of) Monotheism and Jihad. One thing I found disturbing on this website is that it promotes a downloadable version of a work by Yusuf al-Uyari, who founded Al Qaeda’s network within Saudi Arabia. This is called Constants on the Path of Jihad (Thawaabit ‘ala darb al Jihad). Evan Kohlmann notes that this book appeared to “surface in every single homegrown terrorism investigation, whether in the U.S., the U.K., Canada, or beyond.” This work has been the subject of a well-distributed online sermon by Anwar al-Awlaki.
 
Conclusion
 
At-Tibyan provided numerous well-designed books and sermons, formerly only available in Arabic, held in obscure libraries. These translated works were distributed throughout the Western world, and now, Al Qaeda itself has produced its own magazine, called Inspire. Al Qaeda has employed an American, Adam Gadahn, to provide its English-language video broadcasts.
 
The glossily-designed online magazine of the terrorist group can now be read, downloaded and shared by email between wannabe jihadists. The current issue contains an article by Osama bin Laden called “Until We Taste What Hamza Bin Abd Al-Mutallib Tasted” accompanied by an illustration of the collapse of one of the WTC towers. It also contains an article by Ayman al-Zawahiri, written in April, in which he condemns the New Mardin Declaration, which is a renewal of a truce fatwa by Ibn Taymiyyah. Anwar al-Awlaki also has an article in the second edition.  According to the second of the two issues that have been produced:
 
“The first issue of Inspire was struck with a virus that deleted 64 out of its 67 pages. It is also reported that the FBI actively sought the deletion of the online magazine. Why are they so scared?”
 
 
When the first Inspire magazine appeared, it was assumed that the design was the handiwork of a young man from Charlotte, North Carolina, who was also linked to the Islamic Thinkers Society. This man, who was born in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, is called Samir Khan. He travelled to Yemen, where Anwar al-Awlaki is based. And sure enough, he features in the magazine, with his own article starting on page 45, entitled: “I am proud to be a traitor to America.”
 
The online version of the Al Qaeda magazine that I have been reading has been placed online by an individual who calls himself “Authentic Tawheed,” who claims to be based in California. He gives a website address. It is: Revolution Muslim.
 
Is it not time for the authorities in the West to act against websites and individuals that promote terrorism and incite murder?
 
Adrian Morgan
 
 

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