Digital Version of March/April 2015
Digital Version of January/February 2015 Print Edition
Islamic extremist who threatened ‘South Park’ writers sentenced
A New York man who was involved in making online threats to the writers of the South Park television series, as well as other writers critical of Islam, was sentenced to 11 ½ years in prison on June 22.
Jesse Morton, who is also called Younus Abdullah Muhammed, 33, was sentenced to 138 months in prison in a federal courthouse in Alexandria, VA for using his position as a leader of the “Revolution Muslim” organization’s Internet sites to conspire to solicit murder, make threatening communications, and use the Internet to place others in fear.
Morton pleaded guilty to the charges in February 9.
According to court records, in 2007, Morton founded Revolution Muslim, an organization that operated Internet platforms and websites that supported violent extremism. Morton and his associates used the organization’s websites to encourage Muslims to engage in violence against those they believed to be enemies of Islam and to support Osama bin Laden, Anwar Al-Awlaki, al Qaeda, the Taliban, and others. They posted messages in support of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, the November 2009 killings at Ft. Hood, and attacks and future threats against Jewish organizations, among others.
Through his online forums, said the FBI, Morton conspired with Zachary Chesser, and others to solicit the murder of an artist tied to the “Everybody Draw Mohammed Day” movement in May 2010, that included an online hit list for violent extremists to take out. The posting also had a message from Anwar Al-Awlaki that explicitly called for the artist’s assassination.
In perhaps his most infamous action, Morton admitted that he helped Chesser in April 2010 to encourage violent extremists to attack the writers of “South Park” for an episode that featured Muhammad in a bear suit, including highlighting their residence and urging online readers to “pay them a visit.”
Chesser was arrested on July 21, 2010, charged with providing material support to Al-Shabaab and later also pled guilty to communicating threats and soliciting violent extremists to desensitize law enforcement. Four days after Chesser’s arrest, Morton fled to Morocco, where he resided until his arrest on U.S. charges on May 26, 2011. Chesser was convicted and sentenced to 25 years in prison last February.
“Jesse Morton sought to inspire Muslims to engage in terrorism by providing doctrinal justification for violence against civilians in the name of Islam. The string of recent cases with ties to Mr. Morton demonstrates that he was very successful,” said U.S. attorney Neil MacBride. “His crimes not only put people’s lives forever in danger, but they also chilled free expression out of fear of retaliation by violent terrorists.”
“Mr. Morton utilized the Internet to incite fear and terror by encouraging violence and radicalization, and he will now pay for those crimes with today’s sentence,” said assistant director in charge James McJunkin. “Together with our partner law enforcement agencies, and with the assistance of the community, the FBI will continue to pursue those who support violent extremism and promote the radicalization of others, whether online or in person.”