Bilal Philips—born Dennis Bradley Philips in Jamaica—is a Canadian citizen and extremist preacher residing in Qatar.Dylan Robertson, “Canadian imam Bilal Philips unwelcome in Philippines,” Ottawa Citizen, September 10, 2014, http://ottawacitizen.com/news/national/canadian-imam-bilal-philips-unwelcome-in-philippines;
“Abu Ameenah Bilal Philips (Dennis Bradley Philips),” Hampshire College, May 2015, “http://sites.hampshire.edu/scienceandislamvideoportal/speaker/abu-ameenah-bilal-philips-dennis-bradley-philips/. Philips has been named by the United States as an unindicted co-conspirator in the 1993 World Trade Center bombings but has never been charged.Andrew Gillian, “Why does the BBC air Islamist propaganda?” The Spectator (London), March 10, 2017, https://www.spectator.co.uk/2010/03/why-does-the-bbc-air-islamist-propaganda/#;
Dylan Robertson, “Canadian imam Bilal Philips unwelcome in Philippines,” Ottawa Citizen, September 10, 2014, http://ottawacitizen.com/news/national/canadian-imam-bilal-philips-unwelcome-in-philippines. Philips has been banned or deported from numerous countries for his extremist views, including Australia, Bangladesh, Denmark, Kenya, Germany, the Philippines, the United Kingdom, and the United States.Gabriel Borrud, “Germany expels openly homophobic imam,” Deutsche Welle, April 24, 2011, http://www.dw.com/en/germany-expels-openly-homophobic-imam/a-6510494-1;
“The National Sanctions List – Religious Workers with Entry Ban,” Nyidanmark.dk, https://www.nyidanmark.dk/da-dk/Ophold/religioese-forkyndere/den_nationale-sanktionsliste/religiose_forkyndere_med_indrejseforbud.htm;
“Islamic teacher linked to terror groups arrested,” Manila Times, September 9, 2014, http://www.manilatimes.net/islamic-teacher-linked-terror-groups-arrested/125511/.
Philips was named as an unindicted co-conspirator in the foiled 1993 plot to bomb the Holland and Lincoln tunnels that span New York and New Jersey, two of the six targets that were part of the New York City landmark bomb plot, a follow-up operation to the World Trade Center attack.“A Conversation About Jihad With Controversial Preacher Bilal Philips,” IntelWire, March 19, 2011. According to Clement Rodney Hampton-El (a.k.a. Abdullah Rashid)—one of the men convicted of the World Trade Center bombings—Philips gave him the name of soldiers who were about to leave the U.S. military and who might be receptive to aiding jihadists in Bosnia.J. M. Berger, Jihad Joe, (Potomac Books, Inc.: Washington, D.C.), 2011; “Time to stop all the anti-Western hatred,” News.com.Au, March 17, 2009. http://www.news.com.au/opinion/time-to-stop-all-the-anti-western-hatred/news-story/8b452e6525e029888a14e79251eea3f7. Philips had also agreed to provide Hampton-El with funding to recruit non-American Muslims and send them to Bosnia. However, some of the recruits decided to attack the United States rather than travel to Bosnia, which led to the failed plot to bomb the Holland and Lincoln tunnels.“Controversial Muslim preacher to speak in Toronto,” National Post (Toronto), June 2, 2011. http://nationalpost.com/news/canada/controversial-muslim-preacher-to-speak-in-toronto/wcm/fae6066a-31a8-4b47-b0f6-c44d9e1bc4de.
Philips is a committed purveyor of homophobic ideas, describing gay sex as “evil,” “dangerous,” “deviant behavior,” responsible for the break-up of the nuclear family unit, and deserving of the death penalty.Stewart Bell, “Controversial Canadian Muslim preacher accused of inciting terrorism and arrested in Philippines,” National Post (Toronto), September 10, 2014, http://news.nationalpost.com/news/canadian-muslim-preacher-accused-of-inciting-terrorism-arrested-in-philippines;
Bilal Philips, “Homosexuality – Contemporary Issues – Bilal Philips,” Digital Minibar, YouTube, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AerCqUUxiUo. AIDS, according to Philips, is divinely ordained retribution visited upon gay people for their “deviation.”Bilal Philips, “Homosexuality – Contemporary Issues – Bilal Philips,” Digital Minibar, YouTube, December 14, 2006, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AerCqUUxiUo. In this vein, Philips has also lodged objections at the fashion industry, “which is mostly controlled by homosexuals,” and has “promoted the blurring of lines between males and females…”Bilal Philips, “Homosexuality – Contemporary Issues – Bilal Philips,” Digital Minibar, YouTube, December 14, 2006, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AerCqUUxiUo.
In the United Kingdom, Philips is specifically banned for condoning suicide bombing, claiming “when you look at the mind of the suicide bomber, it’s a different intention altogether, the enemy is either too heavily armed, or they don’t have the type of equipment that can deal with it.”“Islamic teacher linked to terror groups arrested,” Manila Times, September 9, 2014, http://www.manilatimes.net/islamic-teacher-linked-terror-groups-arrested/125511/. Philips regularly airs his views on networks such as Peace TV, a 24-hour Islamic satellite TV channel run by extremist preacher Zakir Naik, and through his social media channels on Facebook,DrBilalPhilips, Facebook profile, accessed June 20, 2017, https://www.facebook.com/DrBilalPhilips/. YouTube,AabPhilips, YouTube profile, accessed June 20, 2017, https://www.youtube.com/user/aabphilips. and Twitter,DrBilalPhilips, Twitter profile, accessed June 20, 2017, https://twitter.com/DrBilalPhilips?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Eauthor. the last of which has over 400,000 followers.“Abu Ameenah Bilal Philips (Dennis Bradley Philips),” Hampshire College, “http://sites.hampshire.edu/scienceandislamvideoportal/speaker/abu-ameenah-bilal-philips-dennis-bradley-philips/. All of his social media accounts are officially “verified” by the social media companies. Philips himself denies that he is an extremist, claiming his statements are misquoted and that his mistreatment at the hands of immigration officials is more akin to the incarceration of Nelson Mandela.Dylan Robertson, “Canadian imam Bilal Philips unwelcome in Philippines,” Ottawa Citizen, September 10, 2014, http://ottawacitizen.com/news/national/canadian-imam-bilal-philips-unwelcome-in-philippines;
Tu Thanh Ha, “Controversial imam Bilal Philips says banning him won’t stop his message,” Globe and Mail (Toronto), September 15, 2014, https://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/controversial-imam-bilal-philips-says-banning-him-wont-stop-his-message/article20611079/.
Philips was born in Kingston, Jamaica, but moved to Toronto, Canada with his family the age of 11. As a young man, Philips was interested with Communism and black nationalism before he became interested in Islam.Bilal Philips, “Dr. Abu Ameena Bilal Phillips (sic),” Way to Allah, accessed June 20, 2017, http://www.way-to-allah.com/en/journey/philips.html. He converted in 1972, after reading an influential book by Muhammad Qutb, younger brother of Sayyid Qutb, called Islam, the Misunderstood Religion. At this point he took on the name “Bilal.” In 1979, Philips moved to Medina, Saudi Arabia, where he studied Islam. He later attained a Master’s degree in Islamic Theology in Riyadh.J. M. Berger, Jihad Joe (Potomac Books, Inc.: Washington, D.C.), 2011.
Since converting to Islam, Philips has propagated an extremist interpretation of the religion. He has established numerous educational institutes and universities in several countries including the United Arab Emirates, India, Qatar, and Sudan. He is also the founder of the Islamic University Online, a website whose courses are marketed on Philips’ social media accounts.Bilal Philips, “Dr. Abu Ameena Bilal Phillips (sic),” Way to Allah, accessed June 20, 2017, http://www.way-to-allah.com/en/journey/philips.html. By his own account, Philips was instrumental in a mass conversion of American troops to Islam during the Gulf War while stationed in Saudi Arabia during 1992. As a member of the Royal Saudi Air Force’s religious unit, which had persuaded American officers to allow seminars introducing troops to Arab culture, Philips claims to have converted 3,000 U.S. soldiers, averaging 20 per day.Bilal Philips, “Dr. Abu Ameena Bilal Phillips (sic),” Way to Allah, accessed June 20, 2017, http://www.way-to-allah.com/en/journey/philips.html;
“Hizb ut Tahrir is not a gateway to terrorism, claims Whitehall report,” The Telegraph, July 25, 2010. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/journalists/andrew-gilligan/7908262/Hizb-ut-Tahrir-is-not-a-gateway-to-terrorism-claims-Whitehall-report.html.
Extremists: Their Words. Their Actions.
On October 27, 2018, domestic terrorist Robert D. Bowers carried out an anti-Semitic attack at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh. He fired on congregants as they gathered for worship, killing 11 people and wounding six others.