Conservative Review, by Jordan Schachtel, June 5, 2017:
One of the three Islamic terrorists who committed this weekend’s attacks at London Bridge was reportedly inspired to jihad by watching YouTube videos of Michigan-based Imam Ahmad Musa Jibril.
While the video-sharing titan is known to take an aggressive posture when it comes to banning, suspending, and demonetizing conservative content, YouTube is giving a free pass to a hate preacher who calls for Muslims to join terrorist organizations.
Not only is his own YouTube channel still accessible, Jibril’s sermons have been shared by countless fan pages and have accumulated millions of views.
Moreover, in a U.K. TV documentary called “The Jihadis Next Door,” which was released last year, an acquaintance of one of the future London Bridge terrorists claimed he was radicalized by watching Jibril’s sermons.
The “former friend” elaborated, per The Sun (U.K.):
“He used to listen to a lot of Musa Jibril. I have heard some of this stuff and it’s very radical. I am surprised this stuff is still on YouTube and is easily accessible. I phoned the anti-terror hotline. I spoke to the gentleman. I told him about our conversation and why I think he was radicalised.”
Google, which owns YouTube, told Conservative Review they reviewed Jibril’s sermons and found that they do not violate YouTube’s guidelines on extremist or hateful content:
Our thoughts are with the victims of this shocking attack, and with the families of those caught up in it. We take our role in combatting the spread of extremist material very seriously. YouTube has clear policies prohibiting terrorist recruitment and content intending to incite violence, and we act quickly to remove flagged videos violating these policies. We also terminate accounts run by terrorist organisations or those that repeatedly violate our policies. We’re committed to working in partnership with the government, NGOs and industry colleagues to tackle these complex problems and to see what more we can do to ensure that we’re part of the solution.
In 2005, federal prosecutors said Jibril “encouraged his students to spread Islam by the sword, to wage a holy war” and “to hate and kill non-Muslims.”
A fundamentalist preacher, Jibril’s sermons do not explicitly call for militant action. But similar to deceased al-Qaida leader Anwar al-Awlaki, Jibril’s Islamist ideology provides a gateway to a justification of violence through religious doctrine. Like al-Awlaki, Jibril attempts to propagandize Westerners about the supposed evils of their system of order, pushing potential recruits toward a radical Islamic doctrine that calls for murder and violence.
In a comprehensive report on the Dearborn, Mich.-based imam, the International Centre for the Study of Radicalization found that many of his followers went on to join al-Qaida and the Islamic State terror group.
Although born in the United States, Jibril spent much of his childhood in Saudi Arabia, where he studied Islamic theology. In the late ‘90s, he and his father created the website AlSalafyoon.com, which served as a platform for militant jihadi sermons. Additionally, the imam has run into trouble with the law several times. In 2005, Jibril and his father were convicted on 42 counts of fraud.
YouTube is far from the only social media venue to host Ahmad Musa Jibril’s content. A Facebook fan page for the radical imam has almost a quarter-million followers, and there are several Twitter accounts dedicated to Jibril’s sermons.
Editor’s note: The article and headline have been updated for additional information on Jibril’s ideology and to reflect the statement from Google.
Jordan Schachtel is the national security correspondent for Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @JordanSchachtel.