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Monday, 15 October 2007
Muslim Propagandist
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Here is more of the article Hugh links to below.

Born in Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia, Mr. Khan was 7 when his family moved to New York City and settled into the Queens neighborhood of Maspeth.

He mirrored his teenage peers, from their slang to their baggy pants, until August 2001 when, at age 15, he said, he attended a weeklong summer camp at a mosque in Queens, which was sponsored by a fundamentalist but nonviolent group now known as the Islamic Organization of North America (IONA).

“They were teaching things about religion and brotherhood that captivated me,” Mr. Khan said. He said he went back to school knowing “what I wanted to do with my life: be a firm Muslim, a strong Muslim, a practicing Muslim.”

He prayed more regularly. He dressed more modestly. He stopped listening to music except for Soldiers of Allah, a Los Angeles hip-hop group, now defunct, whose tunes like “Bring Islam Back” continue to have worldwide appeal among militant youths.

He also befriended members of the Islamic Thinkers Society, a tiny group that promotes radical, nonviolent Islam by leafleting in Times Square and Jackson Heights, Queens.

After moving with his family to North Carolina in 2004, Mr. Khan said, he attended a community college for three years and earned money selling various products, including kitchen knives.

But he began spending chunks of his days on the blog he created in late 2005, “Inshallahshaheed,” which translates as “a martyr soon if God wills.” The Internet traffic counter Alexa.com, which rarely is able to measure the popularity of blogs because they do not have enough readers, ranked his among the top one percent of one hundred million Internet sites in the world.

If Mr. Khan’s extreme rhetoric has won him a wider audience, it has caused him problems at home. Last year, his father tried to pull him back to the family’s more moderate views by asking an imam to intervene.

“I tried to bring arguments from the Koran and scholars, and said, ‘Whatever you are thinking it is not true,’” said Mustapha Elturk, a family friend and the leader of IONA, the Islamic organization that first inspired Mr. Khan. But Mr. Khan did not budge, he said.

Mr. Khan said he separated from IONA over one matter: the organization would not support violent jihad without the endorsement of a Muslim nation’s leader, which Mr. Khan argues is unnecessary.

[Notice the dividing line between the "moderate" and the radical is when, not whether, to use violence.]

Mr. Elturk said, “His father and family are really scared that he might do something.”

From time to time, Mr. Khan said, his father also cut off his Internet access and, to placate him, Mr. Khan recently added a disclaimer to his blog disavowing responsibility for the views expressed on the site.

He has also been fending off citizen watchdogs who are working to knock sites likes his off the Internet. Twice in September his blog went dark when his service provider shut him down, citing complaints about the nature of his postings.

Mr. Khan has now moved his blog to a site called Muslimpad, whose American operators recently moved from Texas to Amman, Jordan. Their larger forum, Islamic Network, is the host of discussions among English-speaking Muslims. One of their former employees, Daniel Maldonado, was convicted this year in federal court of associating with terrorists at their training camps in Somalia.

Mr. Khan said that he had dreams about meeting Mr. bin Laden and that he would not rule out picking up a weapon himself one day. In a recent essay, he argued that jihad was mandatory for all Muslims, and he cited three ways to fulfill this obligation: join fighters in Iraq, Afghanistan or Algeria; send them money; or promote militant videos as part of the jihad media.

For now, he said, he is fulfilling his obligations by helping other Muslims understand their religion. Recently he posted a video of a news report from Somalia showing a grenade-wielding American who had joined the Islamists.

“He is an example of a Muslim who follows the Religion of Islaam,” Mr. Khan wrote.

Read it all here.

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Posted on 10/15/2007 8:06 AM by Rebecca Bynum
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