Yousef al-Khattab was the ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin of American Muslims: a merry villain, enjoying saying and doing things that he knew would shock and annoy those whom he held in contempt. Al-Khattab made no secret of his love for jihad terror and hatred of the infidels. He praised Osama bin Laden, filmed himself rejoicing in the murder of Daniel Pearl and saying he had no problem eating popcorn while watching the video of Pearl’s beheading, and mocked the killing and maiming of U.S. troops in Iraq.
It all caught up to him last Thursday, when al-Khattab pleaded guilty to posting material online supporting jihad terror attacks and targeting Jews. But unremarked in all the coverage of al-Khattab’s gleeful evildoing is the fact that he is more than just a scoundrel straight out of a comic book: he’s a father.
Al-Khattab was a founder of the Revolution Muslim group, as well as the Islamic Thinkers Society. He has said: “I love Osama bin Laden…I love him…because I haven’t seen that he’s really done anything wrong from the Sharia. I love him more than I love myself.” Of Fort Hood jihad mass murderer Nidal Malik Hasan, al-Khattab wrote:
An officer and a gentleman was injured while partaking in a preemptive attack. Get Well Soon Major Nidal We Love You. We do NOT denounce this officer’s actions… .Sharing a Smile with the International Community, Yousef al-Khattab.
All this (and there was much more like it) was bad enough, but al-Khattab also demonstrated a decided inclination not just to praise jihadi killers like bin Laden and Hasan, but to follow in their footsteps. Philadelphia Magazine reported that al-Khattab,
posted a message asking Allah to punish Jewish people using “liquid drain cleaner in their faces” and by making “their fingers and brains stick on cafe walls from impact.”
He strongly hinted that Muslims should take up that job for Allah and kill Jews themselves. This glorification of jihad mass murder of Jews is all the more chilling in light of the fact that Yousef al-Khattab is a convert to Islam from Judaism. Formerly Joseph Cohen, he lived in Orthodox communities in Brooklyn and Israel before violently rejecting his religion, culture, and heritage.
Al-Khattab seemed particularly intent on inciting the murder of his former friends and associates. According to the Washington Post,
in a January 2009 post, he told viewers to seek out leaders of Jewish Federation chapters in the United States and “deal with them directly at their homes,” court records show. In another post that year, Khattab, who lives in Atlantic City, added a photo of the Chabad Jewish organization headquarters in Brooklyn with a link to a map, court records show. He noted that Chabad’s main temple was always full at prayer times and wrote, “Make EVERY attempt to reach these people and teach them the message of Islam or leave them a message from Islam.”
What kind of message from Islam he had in mind was illustrated by an image he once posted of himself with his three sons, photoshopped onto the Jerusalem skyline, with the Dome of the Rock prominently in the background. Al-Khattab and each of his sons, Abdel Rahman, Abdel Aziz, and Abdullah (who looks about eight years old), is holding an AK-47.
Clearly al-Khattab wanted to “strike terror into the hearts of the enemies of Allah” (Qur’an 8:60) by making the world think that he was training his sons to be jihad terrorists. After all, he also posted on his website a video of his hero, Osama bin Laden, saying: “So talk yourself into martyrdom operations… because to the same degree that the number of young men who carry out martyrdom increases, the time of victory gets closer, with Allah’s permission.”
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.