“Sheikh” Abdullah Faisal: Ideologue of Hate

By: Jesse Morton & Mitch Silber

Published by: Anti-Defamation League (ADL)

Charismatic preachers in the Islamist extremist world are a puzzle dilemma for researchers, policymakers and law enforcement officials engaged in countering extremism, who struggle with questions regarding their particular significance and the role their online presence plays “strengthening the charismatic bond” between extremists.4 Charismatic preachers such as Abdullah Faisal typically operate within the law, or at least on the border of free speech and unprotected speech-related crimes, where they help embed radicalized Westerners within a network that facilitates contact with Islamist extremist recruiters. “Sheikh” Abdullah Faisal, one such charismatic preacher, was one of the most important, influential and deadly English-language “ideologues of hate,” before 9/11. Faisal supported bin Laden and Al-Qaeda even before the September 11th attacks and was quick to align with ISIS as soon as they officially split from under Al-Qaeda’s control. In many ways, Faisal was “ISIS before there was ISIS.” Download the full report here.

From Revolution Muslim to Islamic State: An Inside Look at the American Roots of ISIS' Virtual Caliphate

By: Jesse Morton & Mitch Silber

Published by: New America Foundation

From December 2007 through May 2011, Revolution Muslim, a radical Salafi-jihadist organization based primarily in New York City, brought al-Qaeda’s ideology to the United States. At its inception, many dismissed Revolution Muslim as amateurish. Yet the group developed an effective and deadly methodology for promoting “open-source jihad” via radicalization, recruitment, online propaganda, social media and covert communications. Revolution Muslim was a virtual terrorist group, before the term “virtual caliphate” became the en vogue way to conceptualize the future trajectory of ISIS following its loss of territory in Iraq and Syria. As a result, analyzing the history, operations and the means of thwarting Revolution Muslim is essential to understanding the challenge of ISIS’s “virtual caliphate.” This report provides a unique, multifaceted lens into Revolution Muslim’s activities and how it catalyzed the jihadist scene in America and the West. It was written by Mitch Silber, the director of intelligence analysis at the NYPD at the time that Revolution Muslim was operating, and Jesse Morton (aka Younus Abdullah Muhammad, as he will be referred to throughout this paper), a founder of Revolution Muslim and now a former extremist. Silber and Morton present an informed insiders’ account. Between 2006 and 2011, the two were working directly against each other.

Download the report here.


NYPD vs. Revolution Muslim: The Inside Story of the Defeat of a Local Radicalization Hub

By: Jesse Morton & Mitch Silber

Published by: CTC Sentinel

Between 2006 and 2012, two men working on opposite sides of the struggle between global jihadis and the United States faced off in New York City. One was the founder of Revolution Muslim, a group which proselytized—online and on New York streets—on behalf of al-Qa`ida. The other led efforts to track the terrorist threat facing the city. Here, they tell the inside story of the rise of Revolution Muslim and how the NYPD, by using undercover officers and other methods, put the most dangerous homegrown jihadi support group to emerge on U.S. soil since 9/11 out of business. As the Islamic State adjusts to its loss of territory, this case study provides lessons for current and future counterterrorism investigations. Read more...