Leader of New York-based radical Islamist group sentenced
June 22nd, 2012
04:52 PM ET

Leader of New York-based radical Islamist group sentenced

By Tim Lister, with reporting from Paul Cruickshank

One of the leading figures in a radical Islamist group based in New York has been sentenced to more than 11 years in prison after pleading guilty to using the organization's Internet sites to conspire to solicit murder and other offenses.

Jesse Curtis Morton, 33, aka Younus Abdullah Muhammad, was co-founder of the group Revolution Muslim, which was supportive of al Qaeda's philosophy. The group was the focus of a series of investigative reports by CNN in 2009.

Morton pleaded guilty in February. After the sentence, U.S. Attorney Neil MacBride said that "Jesse Morton sought to inspire Muslims to engage in terrorism by providing doctrinal justification for violence against civilians in the name of Islam.  The string of recent cases with ties to Mr. Morton demonstrates that he was very successful."

Revolution Muslim's websites encouraged violence against those they believed to be enemies of Islam and voiced support for Osama bin Laden and militant preacher Anwar al-Awlaki. They posted messages in support of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, the November 2009 killings at Fort Hood, and attacks and threats against Jewish organizations.

Morton conspired with Zachary Chesser and others to solicit the death of an artist tied to the Everybody Draw Mohammed Day movement in May 2010. In justifying these actions, Morton posted online a speech of his asserting that "Islam's position is that those that insult the Prophet may be killed" and exhorting his listeners to fight the "disbelievers near you."

Morton admitted helping Chesser encourage attacks against the writers of the "South Park" TV cartoon series after an episode featured the Prophet Mohammed in a bear suit. They also posted online speeches by al-Awlaki, who justified the killing of those alleged to have insulted or defamed Mohammed.

Chesser was arrested in July 2010 and charged with providing material support to the Somalian group Al-Shabaab. He was sentenced to 25 years in prison. Four days after Chesser's arrest, Morton fled to Morocco, where he lived until his arrest and deportation on U.S. charges in May 2011.

A series of terrorism cases in the United States has revealed links between the accused and Revolution Muslim. One U.S. counterterrorism official described the group as the "top catalyst for radicalization for violence in the United States."

Morton also knew Samir Khan, who left the United States and joined al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. He was editor of the group's influential English-language Inspire magazine until he was killed in September along with al-Awlaki in a U.S. drone strike.

Khan knew Morton from his days living in New York and invited him to contribute to a radical blog he was producing in North Carolina called Jihad Recollections before traveling to join al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula in October 2009.

Rezwan Ferdaus, a U.S. citizen from Ashland, Massachusetts, who was charged with planning to use model aircraft filled with C-4 plastic explosives in an attack against targets in Washington in September, was also in touch with Morton, according to the official.

Ferdaus asked Morton about the Islamic justification of suicide bombings. Morton replied that what was key was the intention behind them and that they were an enormous benefit in a war of attrition.

Ferdaus has pleaded not guilty to the plot.

Jose Pimentel, a Bronx resident who in November was arrested and charged with plotting to detonate pipe bombs in New York, was in touch with Morton via e-mail before he was arrested, according to the official. Pimentel has also pleaded not guilty.

Morton's group was connected online to several others who have admitted to or been charged in connection with terrorist offenses. Colleen LaRose, an American woman who pleaded guilty last year to conspiring to assassinate a Swedish cartoonist in 2009, was a subscriber to Revolution Muslim's website.

Abdel Hameed Shehadeh, arrested in Hawaii in October 2010 and charged with making false statements in a matter involving international terrorism, attended Revolution Muslim meetings and made his website a feeder for Revolution Muslim's, according to the official. Shehadeh, who authorities alleged attempted to travel to fight jihad overseas, pleaded not guilty.

Morton also had a web of international connections, according to officials.

He was in touch with Mohammed Chowdhury, the ringleader of a plot to blow up the London stock exchange and other London targets in December 2010, they say. Chowdhury was convicted and sentenced to 13 years in prison in February.

When Morton moved to Morocco, he asked Chowdhury to take over the running of the Revolution Muslim website, according to a senior counterterrorism official.

In a CNN interview in 2009, Morton defended the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and argued that further attacks on Americans were justified.

However, he said he did not encourage violence on U.S. soil.

soundoff (33 Responses)
  1. Jonathon Coslow

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    March 2, 2021 at 7:23 pm | Reply
  2. Increase Facebook Fanpage Likes

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    February 1, 2021 at 6:26 am | Reply
  3. Md Afzal Hussain

    World Religious Leaders must sit on a table to find out a way to save the human being from terrorist activities in the name of Religion . World Human Rights commission must come forward to arrange such a meeting to save the human being from religious terrorist activities. There should be freedom to accept any religion to the human being . Rights of Propagation and motivation of religious activity may be allowed worldwide but forcefully converting human being against his will must be prohibited . Though it is too late , human rights commission of the world must come forward to find out a way to save the human being from all kinds of anti human activities .

    July 17, 2012 at 6:19 am | Reply
  4. Abdulmumeen


    June 27, 2012 at 6:18 am | Reply
  5. Ameritalib

    Islam is the fastest growing religion in USA and everywhere else. Allah is doing it not missonaries . Islam shall rule the world with you or without you, fact

    June 25, 2012 at 6:02 pm | Reply
    • MyPictureOfMohammad


      June 26, 2012 at 9:45 am | Reply
    • Jean

      You are correct my twisted friend, but it's the after life you and yours will have difficulty with.

      July 5, 2012 at 3:57 pm | Reply
  6. Ameritalib

    Muslims ruled the world once and we are very capable of doing it again for the last time. The rest could join in or eat pig and die

    June 25, 2012 at 5:38 pm | Reply
    • AmeritalibIsASheepPhucker

      Baaaaaaaaaaaah, Baaaaaaaaaaaaaah, Baaaaaaaaaaaah, Daaaaaaaaaaaaaddy.

      June 26, 2012 at 9:46 am | Reply
  7. AaminaHassan

    Not that I condone any of Jesse Curtis Morton's actions, but "Jesse Morton sought to inspire Muslims to engage in terrorism by providing doctrinal justification for violence against civilians in the name of Islam" ? How about inspiring attacks on civilian women and children in Iraq, Afghanistan, and presumably soon in Iran in the name of "War on Terror"? Does anybody sense the irony of this phrase-"War on Terror"? Or is it just me?

    June 24, 2012 at 7:58 pm | Reply
  8. Bill

    The "moderate" Muslim is more dangerous and toxic to our national security, freedoms and personal safety than the radical element due to the fact that the "radical" Muslim is open about their desire to destroy the west. The "moderates" that live among us and that are professionals and educated practice deception and will be partnered with their murderous brethren when the time comes.

    June 23, 2012 at 11:38 pm | Reply
    • Vinny "Beefsteak" Salvatore

      That is exactly the goal of terrorists. To make you look over your shoulders...always. So they have succeeded.

      June 24, 2012 at 8:11 pm | Reply
    • J.J. Jeremiah

      It appears to me that Muslims are the fastest growing segment of world society today. As others are withering away the Muslims seem to be rising again with their contributions as was the case historically when they ruled India and Europe and left behind a legacy of science, art, architecture, culinary et al. One only needs to go to Spain and India to witness this. As immigrants, it is a good thing to be aware of your glorious heritage and be connected with it. The Italian immigrants do it as do the Germans, Polish, Jewish, Hispanic and many other cultures. What really pleasantly surprised me was what I witnessed in the Middle East. A tolerant society that has come so far in a few years. Most importantly providing job and economic opportunities to all, Hindus/Indians, Jews, Christians, Muslims, Europeans, Americans, Africans, South Americans, Chinese, and Russians etc. Never have I witnessed such openness and equal opportunities unless you go back to the times of Muslim rule in India and Spain. My conclusion is that the Muslims get it. They are striving to once again take their leadership role in the world order and take this civilization to its next level of excellence. The climb to success and progress is not a linear curve but a stochastic one. Let us join in wishing our Muslim brethren well and much success in their endeavors. If we can't help them let's not pull the rug from under them.

      June 24, 2012 at 8:14 pm | Reply
  9. RogerThat

    Rot in pig fire you bearded piece of Islamic crap. For the rest of you backward retarded nut jobs, take your islamic death cult for fack off back to your shiiteholes.

    June 23, 2012 at 6:50 pm | Reply
    • Ameritalib

      Rogerthat iam your dad. get your mom off the mailman, the garbage man and all the men that truly combined are your FATHER

      June 25, 2012 at 5:35 pm | Reply
      • Ameritalib


        June 25, 2012 at 5:40 pm |
  10. Obelisk ©™

    New, More Dangerous Hindu Extremist Groups Emerge in India

    Christians concerned as rightwing factions splinter to form militant outfits.
    PUNE, India, October 29 (CDN) — After more than a decade of severe persecution, India’s Christian minority is growing increasingly concerned over the mushrooming of newer and deadlier Hindu extremist groups.

    Gone are the days when Christians had to watch out only for the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (World Hindu Council) and its youth wing, Bajrang Dal, which are closely linked with the most influential Hindu extremist umbrella organization, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). With voter support faltering for the RSS’s political wing, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), moderate and extremist sections within the Hindu nationalist movement are blaming each other, and militant splinter groups have emerged.

    Claiming to be breakaway factions of the RSS, new groups with even more extreme ideology are surfacing. The Abhinav Bharat (Pride of India), the Rashtriya Jagran Manch (National Revival Forum), the Sri Ram Sene (Army of god Rama), the Hindu Dharam Sena (Army for Hindu Religion) and the Sanatan Sanstha (Eternal Organization) have launched numerous violent attacks on Christian and Muslim minorities.

    June 23, 2012 at 11:42 am | Reply
    • Opinion

      What's this has got to do with the above article? Wake and smell the coffee.

      June 24, 2012 at 10:01 am | Reply
      • Chuck J

        Helloooo..?? You need something stronger than coffee....Bloody Mary perhaps? Read again and you will get it, pundit. Stop killing the Christians.

        June 24, 2012 at 10:54 am |
    • Opinion

      200 million Muslims in India only next to Indonesia. You call them minorities? Where you're living?

      June 24, 2012 at 10:05 am | Reply
      • Chuck J

        Then rename it Islamic Republic of India !!!

        June 24, 2012 at 10:51 am |
    • hindu

      because of hindu tolerance even from so-called hindu extreists, christainity and islam are surving in india and elsewhere in the world. once the hindu influence from so-caaled hindu extremists and moderates are removed, christianity and islam will both sink from religious meaning and values to spiritless and lifeless dead objects.

      June 25, 2012 at 2:51 pm | Reply
  11. K_Daraa

    Obammysucks, there aren't thousands of takfiri (think AQ) leaders left alive out in the world. Most of the REAL Islamic Ummah consider the takfiriin as rabid dogs. The article makes it sound like there are dozens, or hundreds of these mis-guided takfiri minions of shaytan out there, and so does Ameritalib; however, in truth, six or even a dozen, in a population of 300 million-plus is the tiniest minority, of no more impact to society, than six winos sitting in a back alley, chugging rot gut booze to get their high. In fact these deluded takfiriin have so much in common with the winos, like a lack of viable brain cells.

    June 23, 2012 at 5:37 am | Reply
    • Ameritalib

      every moslim is and will be a slleeping cell, paranoia is the ultimate weapon that will get your kafir ass

      June 23, 2012 at 2:45 pm | Reply
  12. K_Daraa

    Your comment shows you are NOT a talib (student) of truth, but a talib of the takfiri kind, believers of extreme sunni fascism.

    June 23, 2012 at 5:29 am | Reply
    • Ameritalib

      K dara you dont have any idea whom i belong to. anything , any group to get rid of the trash out of palestine. kiss us ass sucker

      June 23, 2012 at 2:43 pm | Reply
  13. Ameritalib

    Put one in jail. Thousands born every day. Good luck US of Jews

    June 22, 2012 at 11:58 pm | Reply
  14. Cheese Wonton

    Feed them nothing but pork and shellfish in prison.

    June 22, 2012 at 8:27 pm | Reply
  15. Obammysucks

    A good start, but there must be thousands of other Muslim leaders that need to be prosecuted.

    June 22, 2012 at 7:42 pm | Reply
    • Ameritalib

      Good luck ass wipe. Go find your true dad,It could be me

      June 23, 2012 at 12:00 am | Reply
      • AmeritalibIsASheepPhucker

        Baaaaaaah, Baaaaaaaah, Baaaaaah, Daaaaaaaady.

        June 25, 2012 at 4:39 pm |

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