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April 25, 2014 3:04 pm

Jewish Man From New Jersey Who Led Radical Islamist Website Voices Regret Ahead of Sentencing

avatar by Joshua Levitt

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Joseph Leonard Cohen converted to Islam, changed his name to Yousef al-Khattab and ran RevolutionMuslim.com, an online hate site where he encouraged violent attacks against Jews. Photo: YAK.

Joseph Leonard Cohen converted to Islam, changed his name to Yousef al-Khattab and ran RevolutionMuslim.com, an online hate site where he encouraged violent attacks against Jews. Photo: YAK.

Joseph Leonard Cohen, a Jew raised in New Jersey and Brooklyn who studied at an Orthodox yeshiva in Jerusalem in his early 20s, returned to the U.S. in 2000, converted to Islam and changed his name to Yousef al-Khattab.

In 2007, al-Khattab and recent Columbia University graduate Jesse Morton, now known as Younes Abdullah Mohammed, launched controversial website RevolutionMuslim.com.

In the two years the hate site thrived before being shut down by police, RevMuslim preached radical Islamist ideology, shared training videos over YouTube with millions of Muslims around the world and called for death threats against Jews.

In 2009, al-Khattab posted a video of violence in the Gaza Strip then encouraged RevMuslim readers to seek out Jewish leaders in the U.S. and “deal with them directly in their homes.” He posted a photo of a Jewish organization in Brooklyn, complete with directions and a note that it tended to be full at prayer time.

Al-Khattab was arrested and tried, and, in October, 2013, pleaded guilty to using the RevMuslim website to “place persons affiliated with Jewish organizations … in reasonable fear of death or serious bodily injury.” On Friday he was awaiting sentencing for up to five years in prison.

In an interview on NPR on Thursday, al-Khattab claimed remorse.

“I pleaded, I don’t know the exact wording of it, but it was disseminating a threat on the Internet,” al-Khattab told NPR. “What I did was stupid and it was wrong and I am paying the price for that now, period.”

Still, in the interview, al-Khattab confused the intentions of Islam with what he was actually telling internet readers to do, namely, harm Jews.

“They interpreted me giving the message of Islam as being a threat to the Jewish community, which it wasn’t,” he began explaining.

When asked by NPR how providing addresses and pictures of people in the Jewish community after an anti-Semitic screed could possibly be misinterpreted, he said, “OK, OK. I am not defending that.”

Al-Khattab said, “I thought we had stayed on the right side of the line with regard to free speech. But it appears we went over it, we went too far, and, I’ll say it, we were wrong.”

Al-Khattab told NPR that his prison sentence could become a rallying cry in the radical forums that he helped create where he might be lionized as a religious warrior — “a mujahadid.”

He said, “This was stupidity and this is what happens when you hang out with the wrong people. 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.”

Meanwhile, his website has helped to bring down many of the “wannabe” terrorists he encouraged. Between 2008 and last year, nearly every violent Islamist arrested in the U.S. on terrorism charges had some connection to the group, NPR said.

Terrorists caught from leads on the site include, “Jihad Jane,” from Philadelphia, arrested in 2009 for plotting to kill a cartoonist who had drawn Prophet Muhammad; Samir Khan, from North Carolina, who edited an al-Qaeda magazine and was killed by a drone while riding in the same vehicle as radical American cleric Anwar al-Awlaki in Yemen; and RevMuslim blogger Zachary Chesser, from Virginia, arrested while boarding a flight to Somalia where he was to join al-Shabab, a group linked to al-Qaeda.

NPR quoted Mitch Silber, formerly the New York Police Department’s highest-ranking terrorism expert and head of its Terrorism Analysis Division, who said:

“RevMuslim became very proactive in the New York City area, both publicly, doing demonstrations on the streets on New York City, as well as online, having a pretty significant Internet component to their efforts. Al-Khattab was one of the two leaders of the group, he was a chief propagandist, he was an organizer, he was a provocateur.”

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  • FORTUNE

    WHO AM I TO SAY HE DIDN’T KNOW WHAT HE WAS DOING AND RECANTING ISN’T WORTH A CENT.

    HOWEVER, RES IPSA, THE THING SPEAKS FOR ITSELF AND HE NEEDS TO PAY THE PRICE. HIS ACTIONS WILL HAVE CAUSED MAJOR DAMAGE IN THE FUTURE AND HE NEEDS TO BE PUT AWAY WITH ABSOLUTELY NO ACCESS TO COMPUTERS OR PHONES FOR MANY YEARS.

    HE CAUSED RADICALIZATION OF OTHERS WHO MAY OR MAY HAVE NOT YET BEEN CAUGHT, HE CAUSED RADICALIZATION OF OTHERS WHO PASSED ALONG HIS HATRED TO OTHERS AND I HOPE THEY LEAVE HIM IN SOLITUDE OR MAYBE EVEN SEND HIM TO GITMO.

    MAYBE A TRIP TO AUSCHWISCM WOULD DO HIM GOOD.

    WHAT A CHILLUL HASHEM FOR A COHEN.

  • I’d like to know, what Hashem will decide.

  • Elie & Ilana Benzaquen

    What a sorry excuse for a human being. The only correct thing he said here is : “I am not a mujahadid. I am a failure.”

    Now pay your price to society and do real teshuvah and return to your people. Hopefully after jail you will find a good teacher who will instruct you on how to become a productive sensible Jew, not a hateful dangerous idiot.

  • Simone Miller

    There are no words strong enough to express my contempt for scum like him. Glad he is a muslim and no longer a Jew.

    • jB Silver

      Amen to that.

  • Alter

    There are far more Jews involved in radical Christian militarism against Muslims.

    • I disagree true Christians are not radical they believe in the bible old testament & new testament only .They believe in God promises that the Jews are His chosen people & support Israel the promise land home for the Jews .As I am Christian I support Israel & the Jewish people to death ,why genesis 12 :1-3 God promised Abraham &said I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curse thee and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed. this is reminder to x Joseph now al-Khattab who denied the God of Abraham Isaac and Jacob he repent down on his knees. Long live Israel .שלום על ישראל לחים

  • Ilbert Phillips

    The phenomena of Jews joining other religions and becoming leaders probably has many causes. It is a shame when it happens.

  • Diane Berdugo

    Sounds like a typical leftist J Street supporter to me

  • mr

    this REV (RAV) must be treated like a viral disease, isolated and contained from society. this ex Jew lost his religion and his mind. why does Islam corrupt people to do evil?

  • Baruch Hashem

    I hope he returns to Hashem in jail. This is why it is assur for Kohanim to join other faiths. I hope Kerry comes next.

  • Oh my God 5 years in prison??

  • Linda Krauss

    This sorry excuse for a human being is a shanda (disgrace),not only to the Jewish people, but to the human race. Five years in prison is way too lenient, especially if it’s a minimum security facility. A maximum security prison where he’s with the other prisoners is a good start and then 20 to 50 years might convince him of the error of his ways. His regret is only crocodiles tears.

    • jB Silver

      You are 100% correct in everything you wrote.

  • Joyce

    lOCK HIM UP AND THROW AWAY THE KEY, 5 YEARS IS NOT ENOUGH.

  • Vivienne Leijonhufvud (goldie)

    All I can say is serve him right for betraying himself and the Judaic community.

  • Cohen’s parents must be getting a lot of nachess from him!!!

    • jB Silver

      I’d not be insulting his parents; they are no doubt suffering more than anyone else. As my late mother (z”l) would have said, “In his case, the elevator doesn’t go all the way to the penthouse!”

  • This might be a good undercover contact for the FBI, but this is doubtful to be pursued due to political correctness or just plain ineptness?

  • Mel

    History has shown that giving the initials J.C. to kids with a bris can cause Mashiach Syndrome; and reached early enough, even a mashiach can be turned to the dark side. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZL0C2QvqIlo&list=PL6644A687FC212F81&feature=share

  • It shows that even with the ridiculous first amendment rights that people can be caught for hate crimes that involve speech. But it clearly took a change of policy to achieve that, let’s hope this change of policy continues. I bet Cohen (I refuse to call him by his silly Muslim name) has a yellow sheet from before he “converted”. The Islamists seem only to be interested in converting criminals in jail.

  • Elisheva Cohen

    What a story. All extremism is dangerous. We need to face that there have always been Jews who have been enemies of the Jews. To me it seems bizarre and certinly unexpected. We don’t know of his early education only that in his 20’s he studied at an Orthodox Yeshiva in Jerusalem. What went wrong is unknown. We don’t know what would attract him to side with our enemies. I feel their hate message is stronger than our message of love and unity.

    • jB Silver

      Elisheva,
      “Love and Unity”, especially in service to HaShem, will ALWAYS beat “hate”, in the end.
      This lowlife trash converted there, because he was a loser, and some ‘missionary’ Muslims made a big deal of him. Then he preached hatred and killing of Jews in Israel (!), was expelled, and went on to do it in the USA. I saw his videos on the internet in Israel, before he was expelled.

    • Elisheva there are more Jews against Israel I attended their forums when I heard them the first time I felt sick wanted to vomit my apology for this expression .Some of these Jewish traitors are professors at university &a woman x officer in the Israeli army I couldn’t believe what I heard it hurts.
      but I gave them a mouthful .I like to remind the world in psalm:121:3,4 He will not allow your foot to be moved .Behold He who keeps Israel Shall neither slumber nor sleep & the people of God say Amen.
      I am Christian I love Israel from all my heart my soul &might .Leila tov שלום

  • This is obviously a paranoid schizophrenic with delusions. He needs to leave his brain to science.

  • To bad he didn’t learn this at Yeshiva:

    Take care lest your heart be lured away, and you turn astray and worship alien gods and bow down to them. For then the L-rd’s wrath will flare up against you, and He will close the heavens so that there will be no rain and the earth will not yield its produce, and you will swiftly perish from the good land which the L-rd gives you.

  • Michael Garfinkel

    If it can be shown that this site was in fact responsible for the injury or death of anyone, I hope additional charges will be brought against this person, who is truly beneath contempt.

  • Bart A. Charta

    Yossele, your parents must be proud. The dream of every Jewish mother…

    Ya couldn’t make it as a Jew, you yourself say you have been a failure as a Muslim. Think you could hang yourself in jail without fugging that up too?

    • You said it all! He probably would screw up hanging himself!

    • Sonia Willats

      On the contrary, Cohen has been a FAILURE as a Jew – Tenach holds a much higher standard of ethic, BOTH TO JEWS AND NON-JEWS, than Mr Cohen has understood and acted upon. COHEN HAS NOT FAILED AS A RADICAL MUSLIM – they embrace violence with open arms.

      JOSEPH COHEN, TURN AROUND FROM YOUR WAYS. You probably had a rejection complex and embraced what you perceived to be the underdog. TURN AROUND AND REALISE THAT YOU FAILED TO UNDERSTAND THE TENACH AND IT’S TEACHINGS. IF YOU CAN CHANGE YOUR SKEWED THINKING THEN DECIDE TO DO SO, AND FIND A RABBI WHO CAN HELP YOU. TURN BACK TO THE G-D OF ISRAEL. IN HIM THERE IS LIFE, MERCY, COMPASSION AND JUSTICE. Pay your price and change, and lead others out of violence and back to the ONLY TRUE G-D.

      No true G-d would call for the kind of hurt and destruction to others that you advocated. You embraced a devilish creed, but you can change, with guidance.

  • 5 years in prison??? This scum deserves 50 years for what he did.

    • Jankel

      This is your US absurd Justice killing innocents with no proof of guilt and jailing for five years Universal Dangers.
      I cannot understand your awful idiot system inside a Jeffersonian and Co.’s Constitution. Or are US citizen so stupid that they cannot make work their Constitution neither?
      That Jews have few fools I don’t agreee at all. Alas they are millions…Bolshevists Leftists, Idiot somehow coward Intellectuals..or so-called ( Brandeis, NYTimes and the Haaretz!)
      In psychiatry it is well known that smart you are, more sensitive to mental disturbances you are exposed to…

  • art frank

    There are lunatics out there, even among Jews. Fortunately, not very many. This creep obviously in need of a cerebral laxative.

  • Mohammed’s Keffiyeh

    Once again, it is a self-hating Jew who harms us. First it was the Jews who voted for Obama because abortion is more important than Israel to them; and now it is this POS.

    • zadimel

      Hey Mo you ought to learn a little bit more about the president before you spout your nonsense and lies.I know where you are coming from, Mohammed. No president has provided more aid to the JEWISH STATE than our president. In addition to the $3 billion plus in military assistance,more tham half a billion more in antimissile defense plus co-operation in military exercises in the JEWISH STATE was provided. I won’t go into more detail,but it is well described over the internet in some detail. Learn before you churn.

  • Sombatyoner Chosid

    יוסף הכהן היה לכומר של אללה
    רצה להזיק יהודים “אין שאללה”
    בגד בעמו והצטרף לאדם הפרא
    אך לבסוף הוא יישב מחצית עשור בכלא

    אולי במשך מאסרו משום חטאותיו
    יתחרט על כל פשעיו ועונותיו
    ויווכח שאין לו חלק עם צאצאי ישמעאל
    ויחזור במהרה לעם יחידו בית ישראל

    “Joseph Cohen was pastor of Allah
    Wanted to harm Jews “Salah”
    Betrayed his people and joined the wild man
    But eventually he settled half a decade in prison

    Maybe for his arrest because Htautio
    Regret about all his crimes and its seasonal
    OS and realize that he has some descendants of Ishmael
    And will quickly return to the people in the house of Israel

    • I disagree Joseph was imam for Allah now he will prey the Muslim prayer 5 times a day & say according to the Quran Jews are the cursed &Christians went astray .I wonder who went straight ? Mohamed

  • Bernard Ross

    hopefully his justice will be to be someones plaything in prison

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