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Revolution Muslim: A Hub of Online Radicalisation

22/11/2010

It was reported last week that a British man who was a contributor to RevolutionMuslim.com – a US-based jihadist website – has been arrested and charged with soliciting murder. It is believed that Bilal Zaheer Ahmad is responsible for posting the now notorious list of British MPs who voted in favour of the Iraq war as well as a blog praising the actions of Roshonara Choudhry, the former British student who stabbed British MP Stephen Timms. The charges include soliciting to murder and possessing information likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism.

I should take this opportunity to note that nearly two weeks before this arrest, ICSR research, asfeatured in the Times, found extensive connections between the US-based Revolution Muslim site and British extremists, some of whom are linked with the now banned al-Muhajiroun organisation. This was based on our extensive monitoring of such online forums, and on comments made by extremists themselves.

In September, former head of al-Muhajiroun Anjem Choudhry was quoted lending his support to Revolution Muslim, claiming that they ‘are on the verge of something big’. He also presented them as a fledgling version of his banned organisation saying that extremist groups in the UK are over a decade ahead of their US counterparts:

The Muslim community in Britain are a good five or 10 years ahead of America. What they were talking about now, we’ve been talking about for the last 15 years.

 

Now they’ve suddenly started to call for the sharia and are coming out publicly…In general there’s more freedom there.

 

In the videos they are openly calling for jihad on the streets of New York whereas we can’t do that anymore here because you have [a law against] glorification of terrorism.

More recently, former Revolution Muslim blogger Abdullah Ali Zulfiqar, wrote in October lamenting the undue influence over the site from British members:

Today not a single member of Revolution Muslim is American as far as I know. A majority of its members, writers, and bloggers are from the United Kingdom and are affiliated with or even members of Al Muhajiroon with its many sub-groups, at least the more active ones and open.

If Zaheer Ahmad is found to be guilty, he will be the latest in a line of individuals connected with Revolution Muslim to be involved in terrorist activity. These include:

  • Samir Khan – was involved in posting on Revolution Muslim around 2007, before moving on to become a member of Yemen’s AQAP, and the suspected author of ‘Inspire’, an online English-language AQAP recruitment and propaganda magazine
  • Zachary Adam Chesser – heavily involved with activism for Revolution Muslim. Pled guilty in October for attempting provide material support to the Somali al-Shabaab militia, and communicating threats and soliciting crimes of violence after suggesting on the site that the makers of South Park should be killed for mocking Mohammed in their show
  • Coleen LaRose – posted on Revolution Muslim under the name of ‘Jihad Jane’. She is now in custody, charged with plotting to kill a Swedish cartoonist whose work depicted Mohammed
  • Roshonara Choudhry – when asked during a police interview what online sources had contributed in encouraging her to carry out murder in the name of Islam, she named Revolution Muslim among others.