For immediate release | Monday, June 17, 2019

Extremism Spotlight: Ahmad Musa Jibril’s Ties to Extremists

Press Contact:

Media at CEP

Jibril’s Lectures on YouTube Radicalized London Bridge Attack Ringleader

(New York, N.Y.) - Ahmad Musa Jibril is an Islamist preacher well-known for being an influential jihadist voice in Syria and for having radicalized Khuram Shazad Butt, one of three London Bridge attackers who killed eight people and wounded almost 50 others on June 3, 2017. Despite Jibril’s role in inciting horrific violence, Google-owned YouTube shockingly declared two years ago that Jibril’s videos did not violate the company’s Terms of Service. Today, Jibril’s lectures remain freely available on Twitter, YouTube, and other social media platforms and his messages continue to resonate with extremists and jihadists.

“Shortly after the June 2017 London Bridge attacks, it was discovered that Butt was directly radicalized by watching Jibril’s YouTube videos. A direct connection to a horrific terrorist attack should be enough justification for any tech company to remove an extremist actor’s material from its platform. The failure of tech companies to develop common standards of unacceptable extremist material to be removed across platforms in a consistent and transparent manner — either individually or via industry groups such as the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism (GIFCT) — underscores the ineffectiveness of voluntary, self-regulatory frameworks in keeping the Internet safe,” said Counter Extremism Project (CEP) Executive Director David Ibsen. “At a minimum, the GIFCT must adopt standards for mandatory removal across platforms of content produced by or on behalf of U.N., EU, and U.S. sanctioned individuals and entities, as well as ‘worst of the worst’ extremist actors with proven links to violence such as Jibril. The GIFCT’s inability to mandate cross-platform coordination among its member companies allows extremists to move from platform to platform to promote hate and glorify attacks, as was illustrated in the Christchurch attacks. If the tech industry cannot adopt basic, sensible, and meaningful standards to keep the Internet and society safe, then government must step in to ensure the well-being of their citizens.”

Although Jibril’s online lectures and tweets advocate a Salafist version of Islam that praises jihad, he has been careful not to specifically call upon his followers to join jihadi groups — rather adopting the “role of a cheerleader” such as in supporting armed opposition to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Though Jibril has not returned to his digital pulpit as of June 2019, his Twitter feed, video lectures, and writings remain online. His Twitter account still includes nearly 38,000 followers as of June 13, 2019. More than 235,000 people follow his Facebook account. CEP has found multiple social media accounts created by Jibril’s self-proclaimed students who continue to spread his interpretations of Islam by retweeting and linking to his past statements and videos. Eleven users on Twitter were identified — some with over a thousand followers, others with years-old accounts — that often directly interacted with Jibril’s own Twitter account.

Previously, CEP spotlighted Jibril’s free reign over the Internet and the ways he uses his rhetoric to circumvent terms of services. It identified thousands of instances of Jibril on YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, iTunes, Internet Archive, and more. Then, CEP researcher Joshua Fisher-Birch stated, “His content serves as an opportunity for the technology industry to acknowledge their loopholes and weaknesses. They should also further educate themselves on the nuanced ways in which extremists are adapting their strategy to circumvent rules in place.”

To read CEP’s resource, Ahmad Musa Jibril’s Ties To Extremists, please click here.

To read CEP’s previous Extremism Spotlight on Ahmad Musa Jibril, please click here.