PHOTO BY STEVE MALECKI
Woodside Islamist says he’s left the country
by Peter C. Mastrosimone, Editor-in-Chief
A Woodside convert to Islam who openly sympathizes with al-Qaeda and the Taliban says he has left the country. The move comes in advance of a protest planned outside his home 10 days from now, though he said he plans to return and did not link his departure to the upcoming rally.
Yousef al-Khattab, who operates a website called Revolution Islam and has praised the violent acts of radical Muslims including U.S. Army Maj. Nidal Hasan, who allegedly killed 13 fellow soldiers and wounded 38 more at Fort Hood in Texas last month, said on Tuesday that he is outside of the United States now, though he did not specify where.
Al-Khattab said he does not plan to be at his home at 54-11 Woodside Ave. on Dec. 20, when a protest organized by the New York City-based Jewish Defense Organization is scheduled to be held at 1 p.m. He spoke about the protesters, his beliefs, the future of the United States and other issues in an audio clip posted online in response to questions emailed to him by the Queens Chronicle. The recording is available at revolutionmuslim.blip.tv.
In it he alleges that Jews have no right to live in Palestine, where they established the state of Israel in 1948, and says that he supports the establishment of an Islamic state in all Islamic lands, such as Somalia and Afghanistan. Asked if he wants the U.S. government to be replaced by Islamic rule, he says that he is not actively seeking that, but believes that it will inevitably happen, even if it takes hundreds of years.
Al-Khattab has ignited the ire of many with writings like one posted after the Fort Hood shootings.
“An officer and a gentleman was injured while partaking in a pre-emptive attack. Get well soon Major Nidal. We love you,” he wrote, adding, “Rest assured the slain terrorists at Ft. Hood are in the eternal hellfire.”
He also has written that he wants liquid drain cleaner to be thrown in the faces of Jews, and for the outdoor huts some build during the holiday of Sukkot to be burned as they sleep in the them. He referred to that message as a prayer, not a threat.
Federal officials say al-Khattab’s postings are allowed under the First Amendment because they do not cross the line into actual threats, according to numerous published reports.
In his response to the Chronicle, al-Khattab is much more sedate, criticizing American policy and “rabbinical Jews” but not referring to violence. He cited the fact that Jewish people in Brooklyn have been scraping the paint marking bicycle lanes off streets in some neighborhoods as one small example of their tyrannical attitude toward others. The incidents have been reported in the press this week.
The Jewish Defense Organization could not immediately be reached for a response to al-Khattab’s comments or his absence from Woodside. Calls placed to the JDO on Wednesday were answered by a message about the protest.
The group refers to al-Khattab’s home and office as “al-Qaeda’s headquarters in Queens” and says the protest is intended to “drive al-Qaeda out of Queens.” The JDO calls him a “traitor to the Jews”; he was Jewish before converting to Islam.
Al-Khattab says he is a restaurant owner, though past reports say he drives a pedicab. He told the Chronicle he enjoys outdoor activities and spending time with his wife and children when he is not working on the Revolution Muslim site.