My new article in The CTC Sentinel: “Revolution Muslim: Downfall or Respite?”

In July 2010, Zachary Chesser was arrested in the United States for trying to join Somalia’s al-Shabab terrorist group. His arrest brought attention to a U.S.-based extremist group operating in the New York City area, known as Revolution Muslim, of which Chesser was a member.[1] Chesser’s arrest, however, appears to be the apex that disguised the seeming decline of Revolution Muslim. After suffering a series of leadership problems and disputes, Revolution Muslim was increasingly used by UK- based extremists seeking to skirt British hate speech and incitement laws by using the U.S.-based Revolution Muslim website to distribute their literature and notifications of public events. The violent calls by British extremists eventually led to the shutdown of the Revolution Muslim website in November 2010. Shortly after, Revolution Muslim’s leader said that the group had been disbanded, and he announced the creation of a new, supposedly more moderate organization, called Islam Policy.[2]
Since this transition is recent, it is too early to determine whether Revolution Muslim will follow in the footsteps of the British group al-Muhajiroun by returning to confrontation merely under a different name, or if it will follow a model closer to groups such as Hizb al-Tahrir, Tabligh Jama`at, or the Muslim Brotherhood by adopting a less hostile posture. This article recounts the factors that led to the recent demise of Revolution Muslim, while also providing insight on its new incarnation, Islam Policy.
Read the rest here.

[1]  See, for example, Paul Cruickshank’s article in the CTC Sentinel that provided a detailed explanation and analysis of the roots of the Revolution Muslim group in the United Kingdom, its evolution in the United States, and how the organization had led to recent arrests of American jihadists. See Paul Cruickshank, “The Growing Danger from Radical Islamist Groups in the United States,” CTC Sentinel 3:8 (2010).
[2] The United Kingdom’s policing of websites that host extremist content is much stricter than in the United States, where the First Amendment provides significant protection to extremist discourse. For example, when speaking about the extremist content of Yemeni-American cleric Anwar al-`Awlaqi, UK Baroness Neville-Jones said, “The websites in which feature his [al-`Awlaqi] terrorist message would categorically not be allowed in the UK. If they were hosted in the UK they would be taken down.” For details on that quote, see Jim Wolf, “Britain Urges U.S. to Take Down Extremist Websites,” Reuters, October 26, 2010.