Jewish boy turned militant Muslim says he's sorry - but is headed to trial over terrorism
By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
4/25/2014 (2 years ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
Born Joseph Leonard Cohen in Brooklyn, he would later rename himself Yousef al-Khattab and take his militant message of hate and dissension to the world via YouTube. Al-Khattab has since expressed regrets, and says he's sorry - but he's headed to federal court in Alexandria, Virginia to be sentenced on terrorism charges anyway.
Yousef al-Khattab is one of the founders of a radical Islamist group called Revolution Muslim, which became a gateway for young jihadists in the U.S. looking to join terrorist organizations overseas.
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Al-Khattab is being blamed for the way young Muslims were radicalized. There's little doubt that his platform on the video Web site YouTube galvanized others. Telling radio reporters that he made a big mistake, he now describes himself as a "failure."
Al-Khattab is one of the founders of a radical Islamist group called Revolution Muslim, which became a gateway for young jihadists in the U.S. looking to join terrorist organizations overseas.
Al-Khattab pleaded guilty last October to using the RevMuslim Web site to "place persons affiliated with Jewish organizations ... in reasonable fear of death or serious bodily injury." He now faces up to five years in prison.
"I pleaded, I don't know the exact wording of it, but it was disseminating a threat on the Internet," al-Khattab said in a radio interview. "What I did was stupid and it was wrong and I am paying the price for that now, period."
Al-Khattab posted a video in 2009 of violence in the Gaza Strip. He then encouraged RevMuslim followers to seek out Jewish leaders in the U.S. and "deal with them directly in their homes."
He then posted a photo of a Jewish organization in Brooklyn, with directions on how to get there, adding that it tended to be full at prayer time.
"They interpreted me giving the message of Islam as being a threat to the Jewish community, which it wasn't," he began explaining.
When confronted on providing addresses and pictures of people in the Jewish community, he bowed his head. "O.K., O.K.," he said, "I am not defending that."
Al-Khattab converted to Islam while in his twenties, when he was living in the Middle East. He returned to the U.S. in 2007, he helped start Revolution Muslim.
He says he "fell in" with people who were more radical than he was, but law enforcement officials say al-Khattab spearheaded the group's radicalization efforts.
He's now concerned that his prison sentence will raise a rallying cry in the very radical forums he helped create.
"This was stupidity and this is what happens when you hang out with the wrong people," he said. "So it is my fault. I know when I go to jail, they will be, 'Allah, Allah, he's a mujahadid.' I am not a mujahadid. I am a failure."
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