For immediate release | Friday, November 22, 2019

Extremism Spotlight: Arrested ISIS Supporter in Chicago Radicalized by Abdullah Faisal

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Media at CEP

Noted Extremist’s Website, Authentic Tauheed, Cited 23 Times in FBI Affidavit

(New York, N.Y.) – On November 15, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that Jason Brown, a.k.a. Abdul Ja’Me, was arrested for attempting to provide material support and resources to ISIS. According to the DOJ affidavit, Brown was radicalized in prison by viewing lectures of U.S.-designated Islamist propagandist Abdullah Faisal. The FBI further noted that Brown had viewed over a dozen articles from Faisal’s website, Authentic Tauheed. Brown also actively recruited and radicalized others in support of ISIS. The Counter Extremism Project (CEP) has linked Faisal and his extremist teachings to a total of 50 extremists around the world, including 25 linked to terrorist attacks.

“Faisal’s extremist views include calls for the murder of Jews, Hindus, and other so-called non-believers, and he uses a multitude of online platforms to spread his violence and extremist dogma,” said CEP researcher Joshua Fisher-Birch. “Authentic Tauheed, which features several hundred of Faisal’s lectures, is primarily supported by companies affiliated with GoDaddy. Many of these lectures can also be found on YouTube and are allowed to remain there despite a clear violation of the company’s Community Guidelines. In this case, we were fortunate that Brown was arrested before he could launch an attack. We may not be so lucky in the future.”

Authentic Tauheed, which is mentioned 23 times in the FBI affidavit, features several hundred of Faisal’s lectures. Its registrar is Go Montenegro Domains, which is directly affiliated with GoDaddy. The two companies are operated by the same individuals, and share headquarters in the same building in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Faisal’s lectures can primarily be found on two YouTube channels. One has over 880 subscribers, has 35 Faisal lectures uploaded, and has accumulated over 102,500 total views. Another has over 410 subscribers, has uploaded 70 Faisal lectures, and has more than 16,000 views with the most recent video posted in September of this year. The videos on both channels have a warning from YouTube that “the following content has been identified by the YouTube community as inappropriate or offensive to some audiences.” Certain features have been disabled for the videos, including comments and suggested videos. YouTube’s Community Guidelines directly prohibit “content praising or justifying violent acts carried out by violent criminal or terrorist organizations” and “content aimed at recruiting new members to violent criminal or terrorist organizations.”

CEP documented a total of 50 extremists who have been linked to Abdullah al-Faisal. Of these, 25 are violent extremists, 12 are successful or attempted foreign fighters, and 17 are propagandists. CEP has counted 25 U.S. extremists with ties to Faisal. His lectures, website, and videos have influenced Ohio State attacker Abdul Razak Ali Artan and Garland, Texas, attackers Nadir Soofi and Elton Simpson, among others.

AUTHENTIC TAUHEED WEBSITE:

Website

  • Description: Authentic Tauheed is Abdullah Faisal’s website, which features several hundred of his lectures. Some audio files are hosted by the Internet Archive and are embedded on the site. The majority of lectures on the website are available only as text, directly on the site itself.
  • Registrar: Go Montenegro Domains, LLC
    • Faisal’s website violates Go Montenegro Domains/Domains Priced Right’s Terms of Service, specifically the prohibition on content that “Promotes, encourages or engages in terrorism, violence against people, animals, or property.”
    • Go Montenegro Domains, LLC lists GoDaddy as the abuse email address in ICANN WhoIs Data.
    • Go Montenegro Domains, LLC is operated by several individuals who also work for GoDaddy.
      • Aman Bhutani, CEO of GoDaddy, is also the CEO of Go Montenegro Domains
      • Nima Jacobs Kelly, Managing Director of GoDaddy, is also Go Montenegro Domains’ Corporate Secretary, Executive Vice President, and General Counsel.
      • GoDaddy’s headquarters in Scottsdale, Arizona, is in the same building as Go Montenegro Domains, but they are in different suites.
  • Registrant contact: Domains by Proxy, LLC
    • Domains by Proxy is owned by Go Daddy’s founder, Bob Parsons.

YouTube

  • YouTube’s Community Guidelines prohibit:
    • “Content praising or justifying violent acts carried out by violent criminal or terrorist organizations.”
    • “Content aimed at recruiting new members to violent criminal or terrorist organizations.”
  • A search for “Abdullah Faisal” on YouTube led to 1,860 results. (November 18, 2019)
  • A search for “AuthenticTauheed” on YouTube led to 20 results. (November 18, 2019)
  • A search for “Authentic Tauheed” on YouTube led to 4 results. (November 18, 2019)
  • A YouTube channel with 884 subscribers has uploaded 35 Abdullah Faisal lectures to the site.
    • The channel was created on YouTube in July 2011 and had 102,599 views on November 18, 2019.
    • The channel has a link in the “about” section to Faisal’s Authentic Tauheed website.
    • The videos on the channel have a warning from YouTube that “the following content has been identified by the YouTube community as inappropriate or offensive to some audiences.” Certain features have been disabled for the video, including comments and suggested videos.
  • A YouTube channel with 414 subscribers has uploaded 70 Abdullah Faisal lectures to the site.
    • The channel was created on YouTube on March 24, 2019, and had 16,365 views on November 18, 2019.
    • The most recent video was uploaded on September 17, 2019.
    • The videos on the channel have a warning from YouTube that “the following content has been identified by the YouTube community as inappropriate or offensive to some audiences.” Certain features have been disabled for the video, including comments and suggested videos.
  • A previous account, ATmovement2000, which in October 2018 had 99 subscribers and had uploaded over 40 Faisal lectures, is no longer online, either because it was deleted by the user or by YouTube.

Examples of Rhetoric on YouTube Videos

1. A call to fight non-Muslims

  • “The meaning of Jihad by Sheikh Faisal.”
  • Uploaded by AuthenticTauheed on July 1, 2019.
  • “Every kafir rapes Muslim women when they invade a country … Nothing can heal the pain that you are feeling in your bosom, except jihad. Now, if a person should rape your mother and they give you 10 million rand as compensation, will that make you happy? ... The only thing that can make you happy is to kill that kafir that raped your mother … Allah will use you to punish them with jihad … Allah will use your hands to punish the kafirs … Allah will heal the pain that you are feeling by you fighting and killing the kafirs. So when you see what is taking place in Palestine, Afghanistan, Chechnya, Kashmir, Bosnia, Kosovo, all the places where people are dying, in Iraq as well, nothing can heal the bosom, the pain that you are feeling in your bosom, Allah said, nothing will heal that bosom of yours which is paining except jihad.”

2. Justifying the Charlie Hebdo attacks

  • “The Paris Outrage – A Muslim Perspective by Sheikh Faisal.”
  • Uploaded by AuthenticTauheed on September 17, 2019.
  •  “When you insult Muhammad, you insult Allah. When you insult Muhammad, you are guilty of insulting 1.5 billion Muslims. Today you have seen an outrage in France, it means that infidels have barked up the wrong tree and this is a strong message to the infidels that you need to stop insulting Muhammad because if you don’t, things will forever escalate.”

OTHER ONLINE CONTENT:

Internet Archive – Video, Audio, Text

  • A search for “Abdullah Faisal” on the Internet Archive lead to 524 results. (November 18, 2019)
    • This included 429 audio files, 80 texts, and 15 movies.
    • Over 150 audio files of Faisal’s lectures have over 1,000 views each.
  • A search for “Authentic Tauheed” on the Internet Archive led to 128 results. (November 18, 2019) (This number includes some overlap with the “Abdullah Faisal” search.)

Telegram

  • A Telegram channel for AuthenticTauheed had 89 subscribers on November 18, 2019.
  • The channel’s last post was on August 21, 2017.

Twitter – Social Media

  • Abdullah Faisal’s original Twitter account has been suspended.
  • The Twitter account @AuthenticTauhid, suspected of being affiliated with Faisal, has been suspended.
    • The account was active between May 18, 2013, and October 29, 2016.
    • It had 1,001 followers on October 29, 2018, despite no longer being active.

Facebook – Social Media

  • A Facebook page for “Authentic Tauheed” exists but has no content.
  • The page has 11 likes and 12 followers as of November 18, 2019.