A Jewish convert to Islam living in New Jersey was convicted last Friday for inciting terror, and in particular, for encouraging violence against Jews.
Yousef al-Khattab, born Joseph Leonard Cohen, was the son of a secular Jewish family in Queens. After taking on Orthodox Judaism, Cohen moved to Israel in 1998 with his family and became affiliated with the Shas hareidi political party.
However, through the course of chat conversations with a man from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) calling himself "Ahmed," Cohen decided to convert to Islam and move to the Arab neighborhood of A-Tur in Jerusalem, afterwards returning to New York.
Last Friday, al-Khattab was sentenced to two-and-a-half years in jail for advocating violence on the website of Revolution Muslim, the Islamic organization he co-founded, reports the Washington Post.
Al-Khattab renounced his postings on the site before US District Judge Liam O'Grady, saying he did not intend to incite violence and that he wrote semi-jokingly, adding that he was "the Gilbert Gottfried of the Muslims." He further said "I look back now, and I"m very wrong."
O'Grady showed skepticism towards al-Khattab's claim of not intending to incite violence, with good reason according to the court records.
Giving directions to attack Jews
In 2009, al-Khattab posted a photo of Chabad headquarters in Brooklyn, with a link to a map, while adding that the main building was always full of Jews at prayer times.
Later that same year, al-Khattab told visitors to the site to find Jewish organization leaders in the US and "deal with them directly at their homes." He also pleaded guilty last October for using the internet to put another in fear of death or injury.
“To a reasonable person, you were espousing violence, encouraging violence, praising violence in very plain language,” O’Grady said. “What you did is criminal.”
It was also revealed in the course of the proceedings that at least 12 followers of al-Khattab's Revolution Muslim had been connected to terrorist plots or organizations.
Younes Abdullah Mohammed (Jesse Morton), a fellow convert and co-founder of Revolution Muslim, was sentenced to 11-and-a-half years in jail in 2012, after encouraging Islamists to attack the writers of the animated TV show "South Park" for showing Mohammed, the founded of Islam, in a bear suit.
A video interview with al-Khattab can be seen here: