Convert to Islam Who Threatened 770 Sentenced

A former Orthodox Jewish man from New Jersey was sentenced to two and a half years in prison Friday for posting violent and threatening posts on his Islamic group’s Web site intended to incite violence against those who he believed were offensive to his Islamic beliefs.

As reported by the Washington PostYousef al-Khattab, 45, was sentenced in federal court in Alexandria and renounced his posts on Revolution Muslim’s site, calling himself a “clown” and the “Gilbert Gottfried of the Muslims.” Al-Khattab said he did not intend to incite violence through his posts, but Judge Liam O’Grady didn’t believe that al-Khattab’s posts were intended only start a discussion.

Al-Khattab was born Joseph Leonard Cohen and was raised in New Jersey and Brooklyn in an Orthodox Jewish home.

According to court records, in 2009, al-Khattab posted a picture of the Chabad Jewish headquarters in Brooklyn, along with a link to a map showing readers who to get there, and said that the main temple was usually full of people during prayer time. Later that year another post told readers to target leaders of U.S. Jewish organizations and “deal with them directly in their homes.”

Khattab had previously pled guilty to using the Internet to put another in fear of death or injury.

Prosecutors also brought up the connection  authorities discovered between al-Khattab’s organization other terrorists, including Colleen LaRose, aka Jihad Jane, and Samir Khan, who allegedly founded the al-Qaeda magazine “Inspire.”

Al-Khattab declined to comment after the hearing.

14 Comments

  • 1. jewish wrote:

    I’m wondering if there are any other Muslims who were sentenced in the US for threatening / instigating remarks on their websites. I’m sure there is no shortage of such remarks. I just find it ironic that the only one I’ve heard of who was arrested and sentenced is a Jew….

    Reply
    • 2. Milhouse wrote:

      Incitement is a very difficult charge to make, because the first amendment protects almost all speech. To be incitement it’s necessary that the speech be “both intended to and likely to yield imminent crime”. That means it has to be deliberately phrased so that a person hearing or reading it will be inspired to go out immediately and commit a crime, without taking time to think about it themselves. This is usually associated with rousing rhetoric from a gifted public speaker, such as Hitler y”sh, who can whip his listeners up into an emotional state where they are willing to do whatever he tells them. It’s much harder to do in writing.

      Threats are only criminal if they are “true threats”, i.e. a reasonable person would consider it likely that the person intends and is able to carry them out. (To rise to assault, the violence threatened must be immediate.)

      So it would be rare to catch someone being so blatant on a web site that he can be charged with a crime, let alone convicted. Usually these things fall just on the right side of the law, and they have to be allowed to get away with it.

  • 5. Consider this wrote:

    To “History Wrote:” I agree with you that there are many other Muslims out there who have made threats. But perhaps this article was brought to the forefront because it was a fellow Jew who turned Muslim and turned on us. That in itself is frightening, sad, and a warning that dangers to our own can stem from our own.

    Reply
  • 6. nu wrote:

    FYI i have heard that that picture of him in payos isnt really waht he went around like, he was a frei/barely MO kid and dressed as a chossid for fun once and he uses that picture when he broadcasts himself as a “former” jew. Poeople like pictures of chassidim

    Reply
  • 7. My old friend wrote:

    I originally met yosef (or joey) in Atlantic city when I was there to help the local minyan/shliach for rosh hashana. He used to push a cart on the boardwalk and give people rides for money. He started coming to shul, putting on tefillin etc. This was in ’88, 89 or so. I also met his parents then. He then got involved with extreme right wing Sephardic guy and went “Sephardi ”
    He then left AC area and moved to Williamsburg, got married. I saw him a few times there and then lost contact.
    It’s really bizarre and sad and i feel bad for his parents

    Reply
  • 8. yossi & berel, CH wrote:

    *4,
    Sadly, you are wrong.This guy lived in Williamsburg. He was always a fantical personality though

    Reply
  • 13. sholom ber wrote:

    it sound like this young man always had issues probably from childhood.
    very sad.
    i hope the shluchim from Aleph will assist him.

    Reply
  • 14. d wrote:

    Wow! What a loser. turning his back on his own people and heading the direction of islam? They hate u

    Reply

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