For immediate release | Thursday, July 30, 2015

CEP Releases Reports on New Global Propagandists, Leaders, and Terror Financiers

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Explore the backgrounds and affiliations of 20 new extremist propagandists, leaders, and funders

(New York, NY) -- The Counter Extremism Project today added reports on Musa Robert Cerantonio and Ahmad Musa Jibril, spiritual advisors who have heavily influenced foreign fighters, and 18 others to the Global Extremist Registry. The Registry is a unique searchable database and interactive map that details more than 100 of the world’s most notorious extremist leaders, propagandists, financiers, and their organizations.

Jibril is an Arab-American Islamist preacher based in Michigan who has reportedly influenced Westerners to fight in the Syrian conflict. He has been banned from at least two Michigan mosques due to his extremist views. According to U.S. officials, his now-defunct website included “fanatically anti-American sermons by militant Islamic clerics.” Jibril’s Twitter account has more than 28,000 followers and his Facebook page has more than 238,000 likes. His YouTube page has more than 8,200 subscribers. In 2014, researchers concluded that 60 percent of foreign fighters in Syria followed Jibril on Twitter. Jibril spent almost seven years in prison on fraud charges before he was released on probation in 2012. A federal judge restricted Jibril’s Internet and social media access in June 2014 due to a probation violation. The restrictions expired in March 2015.

The Melbourne-based Cerantonio is reportedly “an outspoken cheerleader for ISIS” and part of “a new set of spiritual authorities” influencing Westerners to become foreign fighters, according to the Centre for the Study of Radicalisation (ICSR). Cerantonio has corresponded with ISIS fighters, praised jihadists in Syria and called for the assassination of U.S. leaders, all through social media. In 2013, Cerantonio hosted the English-language show “Ask the Sheikh,” in which he answered questions on sharia (Islamic law) from viewers around the world. The program was available in Austria, Africa, Asia, the U.S., and Europe. Born to an Irish-Catholic family, Cerantonio converted to Islam and lived in the Philippines until 2014, when he was deported. Cerantonio is currently under police surveillance. 

Following is a sampling of some of the new entries to the Global Extremist Registry:

  • Ali Khamenei – The Supreme Leader of Iran, the highest religious and political authority in the country and Mohammad Ali Jafari, the commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), Iran’s primary instrument for defending the Islamic Republic against internal and external threats.
  • Kassim Tajideen – A U.S.-designated financier for Hezbollah. According to the U.S. Treasury, Tajideen operates multiple alleged Hezbollah front companies across Africa and the Caribbean alongside his brothers Hussain and Ali.
  • Abd al-Majeed al-Zindani – A recruiter and fundraiser for al-Qaeda and a reported mentor of Osama bin Laden.
  • Ali Awni al-Harzi – A recruiter and facilitator for Ansar al-Sharia in Tunisia (AST), and a battlefield commander for ISIS who was killed by a U.S. strike in Iraq in June 2015.
  • Nasser bin Ali al-Ansi   A senior leader of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), killed by a U.S. airstrike in April, 2015.

The information on the Global Extremist Registry can be searched in several ways, and is presented in both list form and graphically on a world map.  The database can be searched using a specific name; by political leaders; financial leaders or propagandists; or filtered by extremist groups, like ISIS, al-Shabab, al-Qaeda, Boko Haram, the Muslim Brotherhood, Golden Dawn, Jemaah Islamiyah, Lakshar-e-Taiba, and others.

For requests for interviews, please contact CEP at [email protected]