South Park Plea Exposes Network of Homegrown Muslim Radicals

February 10, 2012 9:14 am 0 comments

U.S. Army Major Nidal Malik Hasan, named as the shooter in the November 5, 2009 Fort Hood mass shooting. Photo: wiki commons.

Many homegrown Islamist terrorists labeled as “lone wolves” may not have been so lone after all, court papers filed Thursday in Virginia show.

Jesse Morton, a founder of the radical website Revolution Muslim, pleaded guilty to conspiracy and two counts related to communicating threats. The charges stem from threats posted on Revolution Muslim against producers of the animated comedy “South Park” after an April 2010 episode featured a character that was supposed to be the prophet Mohammed fully concealed in a bear suit.

The reference was meant to lampoon the violent reaction some Muslims have to images of the prophet.

A statement of facts filed with the plea shows that Morton had contact with several “lone wolf” terrorists, and that others were subscribers to the site. CNN, citing an unnamed senior counter-terrorism official, reported that “Investigations had revealed that Revolution Muslim was the ‘top catalyst for radicalization for violence in the United States’ over the last several years.”

For example, after one reader reached out to him last April, Morton advised him to be wary that someone helping “start a jihad group to kill U.S. Army veterans in the United States” may be working for the FBI. Jose Pimentel may not have heeded Morton’s advice. He was arrested by New York police six months later as he assembled a pipe bomb in his home that he intended to use to kill soldiers returning from Afghanistan and Iraq.

Morton also endorsed Rezwan Ferdaus’s desire to wage jihad. Ferdaus reached out to Morton early in 2010, asking if martyrdom operations were acceptable in Islam. It depends on the motivation, Morton wrote back. “[E]very act is judged by intention and so we reserve an opinion on this matter. We can however say that these operations have apparent detractions, but also enormous benfits (sic) in a war of attrition.”

Ferdaus was arrested in Massachusetts last September in connection with a plot to use remote-controlled planes to fly bombs into the Pentagon and the U.S. Capitol. He also made switches to detonate explosive devices that he intended to supply to al-Qaida terrorists targeting American troops.

The statement of facts in Morton’s plea ties him and the Revolution Muslim website to:

    • Colleen LaRose, also known as “Jihad Jane,” who admits to plotting to kill a Swedish cartoonist who drew images of the prophet Muhammad, and to recruiting people to wage terrorist attacks.
    • Antonio Martinez, who pleaded guilty to plotting to blow up a Maryland military recruiting center.
    • Carlos Almonte and Mohamed Alessa, who entered guilty pleas last March to conspiring to join the Somali terrorist group al-Shabaab to kill civilians “whose beliefs and practices did not align with their extremist ideology.”

“We may never know all of those who were inspired to engage in terrorism because of Revolution Muslim,” said U.S. Attorney Neil MacBride, “but the string of recent terrorism cases with ties to Morton’s organization demonstrates the threat it posed to our national security.”

In addition, the statement of facts shows that Morton communicated with Samir Khan, an American al-Qaida propagandist credited with publishing the group’s English-language magazine, Inspire. Khan is believed to have been killed in a U.S. drone strike in Yemen that also killed American-born al-Qaida cleric Anwar al-Awlaki.

Morton and Chesser also let radical British cleric Bilal Ahmad post directly to the Revolution Muslim site.

In November 2010, Ahmad posted on the Revolution Muslim website praise for Roshanara Choudhry after she tried to kill Member of Parliament Stephen Timms for supporting the Iraq war. Ahmad then posted the names of all members of Parliament who supported the war, with a prayer that her actions “inspire Muslims to raise the knife of jihad against those who voted for the countless rapes, murders, pillages, and torture of Muslim civilians as a direct consequence of their vote.”

Morton and his colleague Zachary Chesser followed the teachings of Awlaki and Abdullah Faisal, a radical Jamaican sheikh who preached the need to kill non-believers. Faisal’s sermons calling for Muslims to kill the “enemies of Islam,” including Jews, Americans and Hindus, led to his 2003 conviction in the United Kingdom for soliciting to murder.

Their postings on Revolution Muslim often sounded similar themes, the statement of facts said, and they republished Inspire, which contained calls to violence and instructions on carrying it out.

Chesser is serving a 25-year sentence after pleading guilty to related charges.

In the “South Park” case, Morton told investigators in October that the decision to post the threats was made without seeing the program. It turned out that the show never depicted the prophet, just someone in a bear suit who other characters called “Mohammed.”

“He said that he would have pulled the South Park post made by Chesser in April 2010 if he had known that the episode really didn’t depict the Muhammad as he thought it was going to.”

When the show aired, Chesser told Morton that Iran’s fatwa calling for author Salman Rushdie’s murder following his publication of The Satanic Verses inspired radical European Muslims. Threats against “South Park’s” Trey Stone and Matt Parker could have the same galvanizing effect in America.

Morton also posted a threat against a Washington woman who advocated having an “everyone Draw Muhammad Day” in response to the “South Park” threats.

“Morton asserted that Islam’s position is that those that insult the Prophet may be killed under Shariah law just as if they were fighting with a weapon,” the statement of facts said. “Morton exhorted his listeners to fight the ‘disbelievers near you.’”

Morton, 33, could be imprisoned for up to five years for each of the three counts in his plea when he is sentenced in May.

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Arts and Culture Middle East Hamas Commander Reportedly Urges Hezbollah to Join Forces Against Israel

    Hamas Commander Reportedly Urges Hezbollah to Join Forces Against Israel

    JNS.org – Five months after Israeli forces tried to assassinate Hamas military commander Mohammed Deif in Gaza, Deif appears to have signed a letter that the terrorist group claims he wrote in hiding. The letter, addressed to Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah, expressed Deif’s condolences for the death of Hezbollah terrorists during Sunday’s reported Israeli airstrike in Syria. Deif is said to have survived multiple assassination attempts, but he has not been seen in public for years. According to the Hezbollah-linked Al-Manar [...]

    Read more →
  • Jewish Identity Theater Shlomo Carlebach Musical Has the Soul to Heal Frayed Race Relations

    Shlomo Carlebach Musical Has the Soul to Heal Frayed Race Relations

    JNS.org – The cracks that had been simply painted over for so long began to show in Ferguson, Mo., in November 2014, but in truth they had begun to open wide much earlier—on Saturday, July 13, 2013. That is when a jury in Sanford, Fla., acquitted George Zimmerman of culpability for the death of a 17-year-old black man, Trayvon Martin. The cracks receded from view over time, as other news obscured them. Then came the evening of Aug. 9, 2014, [...]

    Read more →
  • Theater US & Canada ‘Homeland’ Season Finale Stirs Controversy After Comparing Menachem Begin to Taliban Leader

    ‘Homeland’ Season Finale Stirs Controversy After Comparing Menachem Begin to Taliban Leader

    A controversial scene in the season finale of Homeland sparked outrage by comparing former Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin to a fictional Taliban leader, the UK’s Daily Mail reported. In the season 4 finale episode, which aired on Dec. 21, CIA black ops director Dar Adal, played by F. Murray Abraham, justifies a deal he made with a Taliban leader by referencing Begin. He makes the remarks in a conversation with former CIA director Saul Berenson, a Jewish character played by Mandy [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Spirituality/Tradition Placing Matisyahu Back Within a Life of Observance

    Placing Matisyahu Back Within a Life of Observance

    Shining Light on Fiction During the North Korea-Sony saga, we learned two important lessons. The first is that there are two sides to this story, and neither of them are correct because ultimately we should have neither inappropriate movies nor dictators. The second is that we cannot remain entirely fixed on the religious world, but we also must see beyond the external, secular view of reality. It’s important to ground our Torah-based thoughts into real-life activism. To view our act [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Blogs Nine Decades of Moses at the Movies

    Nine Decades of Moses at the Movies

    JNS.org – Hollywood has had its share of big-budget biblical flops, but until now, the Exodus narrative has not been among them. Studios have brought Moses to the big screen sparingly, but in ways that defined the image and character of Moses for each generation of audiences. The first biblical epic In 1923, director Cecil B. DeMille left it to the American public to decide the subject of his next movie for Paramount. DeMille received a letter from a mechanic [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Blogs Exodus on Screen (REVIEW)

    Exodus on Screen (REVIEW)

    JNS.org – The story of the Exodus from Egypt is a tale as old as time itself, to borrow a turn of phrase. It’s retold every Passover, both at the seder table and whenever “The Ten Commandments” is aired on television. But the latest adaptation—Ridley Scott’s epic film, “Exodus: Gods and Kings”—fails to meet expectations. Scott’s “Exodus” alters the source material to service the story and ground the tale, but the attempt to reinvent the biblical narrative becomes laughable. Moses [...]

    Read more →
  • Jewish Identity Lifestyle ‘Jewish Food Movement’ Comes of Age

    ‘Jewish Food Movement’ Comes of Age

    JNS.org - In December 2007, leaders of the Hazon nonprofit drafted seven-year goals for what they coined as the “Jewish Food Movement,” which has since been characterized by the increased prioritization of healthy eating, sustainable agriculture, and food-related activism in the Jewish community. What do the next seven years hold in store? “One thing I would like to see happen in the next seven years is [regarding] the issue of sugar, soda, and obesity, [seeing] what would it be like to rally the [...]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Education Seeds of ‘Start-Up Nation’ Cultivated by Israel Sci-Tech Schools

    Seeds of ‘Start-Up Nation’ Cultivated by Israel Sci-Tech Schools

    JNS.org – Forget the dioramas. How about working on an Israeli Air Force drone? That’s exactly the kind of beyond-their-years access enjoyed by students at the Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) industrial vocational high school run by Israel Sci-Tech Schools, the largest education network in the Jewish state. More than 300 students (250 on the high school level and 68 at a two-year vocational academy) get hands-on training in the disciplines of aviation mechanics, electricity and energy control, and unmanned air [...]

    Read more →



Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.