Friday, 23 April 2010

Yousef Al-Khattab, Man Behind Virulent Islamic Website, Grew Up Jewish

Thanks to Goon squad for the link

Editor’s note: The Brooklyn Ink first broke the story of Revolution Muslim, the organization that has issued a threat against the creators of “South Park” for their depiction of the Prophet Muhummad. The story profiled the group’s founder, Yousef Al-Khattab who grew up as Joseph Cohen in Brooklyn. Al-Khattab, in a reader comment, said he left Revolution Muslim in December of 2009. The story appears below, as does a follow up on the shutting down of Revolution Muslim’s website.

“I don’t know if this is my jihad,” says Yousef Al-Khattab. “It’s my obligation to command the good and forbid the evil.” His American based website, Revolution Muslim, has become the scourge of Jewish bloggers and cyber vigilantes across the country, an odd achievement for a person born into Judaism and educated in Jewish schools, who has lived in Hassidic communities in Williamsburg and Jewish settlements in Gaza.

Born Joseph Cohen, Khattab says he converted to Islam after coming across a Muslim from the United Arab Emirates in a Jewish chat-room while in Netivot, Israel in 1998. Their to and fro on religion lasted two years, and for Khattab, the exchange confirmed previous doubts about Judaism and eventually prompted him to embrace Islam after reading an English translation of the Quran. The exchanges, he says, reaffirmed his belief that rabbis use deception to keep Jews subservient to them.

His wife and four kids, the oldest of whom was eight at the time, followed soon after.

Today, at 40, a cab driver from Queens, Khattab spends his days denouncing capitalism, Judaism and Israel’s occupation of Palestine through his website and namesake organization. Head shaved, mustache trimmed and sporting a bushy beard, Khattab addresses his audience in fluent English and Arabic and employs his sarcastic wit in video updates that appear irregularly on his website.

Gory images of blood, bombs and the bodies of Palestinian children appear in several slideshows and videos on the site. In one video post, Khattab urges his viewers to find out who are the leaders of Jewish organizations like the United Jewish Federation and Chabad Lubavitch and “deal with them directly at their homes,” but in a civil and peaceful way he adds.

In other posts Khattab tries to persuade people to boycott Starbucks for its alleged relationship with the Israeli army and encourages people to hold leaders of large Jewish organizations accountable for supporting what he terms as a genocide against Palestinians.

Khattab says the American government has no problem with his website since he is just expressing his freedom of speech. But those who are being held accountable do, he says. These would include Lubavitch and Yeshiva University, which he claims are sending soldiers to Israel to fight the Palestinians, and anybody that supports Israel.

“It’s not in our constitution that we have to love the Jews and love Judaism,” he says. He says he generally tries to stay away from Jews but contends that it’s not the Jews that he dislikes, but Judaism, or what he refers to as Rabbanical Judaism and the religious Jews. Khattab lays out his reasons for disliking what he terms as Orthodox, frum, Jews. These include a claim that Jews run an underground economy, and that, in his mind, Jews are the reason the U.S. separated church and state in its Constitution. More

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