Did Yousef al-Khattab teach the same lesson to his children? Why wouldn’t he have? Did he tell his children that Osama bin Laden and Nidal Malik Hasan were heroes of Islam? Why wouldn’t he have? Clearly al-Khattab was a doting father; in a 2006 account of his conversion to Islam he says: “1992 bought us the birth of my 1st child Abdel Rahman (formally Rachamim Cohen). Alhumdulilah [thank Allah] he was then as he is now my pride and joy.” Once he had brought his pride and joy into Islam and fitted him out with an AK-47, what other lessons did he impart?
Jihadists and Islamic supremacists have an inverted moral sense; they glory in murder and mayhem, and love death and pain rather than life. Yousef al-Khattab is currently out on bail; he will be sentenced in February 2014, for his incitement to jihad terrorism, and could get five years in prison. But even if he gets that sentence and serves every day of it, his influence will not have been neutralized. Abdel Rahman, Abdel Aziz, and Abdullah al-Khattab have undoubtedly imbibed at least some of what their father told them, and could share his moral inversion. Is any care being taken to try to disabuse them of these views? Is anyone telling them that murder even of infidels is never praiseworthy, but always to be condemned? Is anyone reaching out to others who may have been in Yousef al-Khattab’s orbit, to try to stave off any late-maturing effects of the teachings he imparted?
The evil that men do lives after them. Yousef al-Khattab says he rejects all that now, and has seen the light of Islamic moderation. Of course, he has yet to be sentenced, so that is a prudent song for him to sing. But his strange, sad career highlights a glaring omission in both the professed moderation of the American Muslim community and in the response of government and law enforcement to that community: no mosque or Islamic school anywhere has any program teaching young Muslims that the Islam so flamboyantly espoused by Yousef al-Khattab up until recently is wrong. No authorities ever ask why not. They should, for the answers would be revealing. But in the meantime, their indifference only ensures that there will be more, perhaps many more, Yousef al-Khattabs.