By K. S. Nikhil Kumar
After the controversy over the South Park video last week that allegedly depicted the Prophet Mohammed, the Ink caught up with one of the founders of the website Revolution Muslim – the group that threatened Comedy Central – only to find that he’s no longer part of the group.
Yousef al-Khattab, 41, formerly Joseph Cohen, who was raised in an Orthodox Jewish family in Williamsburg, now lives with his family in Tetouan, Morocco.
Q. When and why did you leave the group Revolution Muslim?
I left the group when I left the United States. My ideology was always the same. Now it’s run by Younus and people that I don’t know.
I moved out of the US on Nov. 20. I hate the United States. I’d rather live in solitary peace than in a place like that. In general I just hate the whole environment there [in America], I don’t mind critiquing it from abroad.
I don’t want that materialistic culture to be around my head. I just can’t stand it. Not just me, most of the people around the world don’t like it.
So I had that choice, I had that freedom and Alhamdulillah [praise be to Allah] I got to leave. I hope I don’t have to return.
I was just in America working. My family’s lived outside the United States now for 15 years.
Q. Was it a cultural problem?
No, no, no… in the United States. First of all when you say culture, I don’t know what culture they really have. I understand American mentality very well. I don’t see anything. It’s not the land of free home of the brave? They can’t hide behind that title anymore. They just don’t produce anything. The only thing they can produce now is ammunitions and pornography – that’s all they come up with. There’s no brain left, really.
Q. What’s your objection to the title of the original article in the Ink about you?
How would you like it if you wrote an article and I wrote, the author of the article, Nikhil Kumar, was raised a Desi? What does that have to do with anything? It’s just so irrelevant. You know, you said that he was raised a Jew. What does that mean? What’s he trying to say?
Q. I understand that you were not particularly fond of your former religion.
I was raised in a Jewish family, you understand? I was eighteen years old at the time and I became an orthodox Jew and remained as one for 11 years, for about 10-11 years. So I grew up like any other American kid.
My critique is from reading books and opening my own eyes and looking at America as a society and it’s just absolutely disgusting. I don’t know how anybody could look up to them and it got to a point where I had a chance to leave and that’s what I chose to do – to just get out, Alhamdulillah.
Q. How’s life in Morocco?
Alhamdulillah, I have a restaurant. It’s completely different here from there. The terms of engagement are completely different and I don’t discuss the things that I discussed there over here. Nor do I have to. And basically, everything that I do is online as you can see.
Q. What was the issue with the South Park video?
I found out about that video that I saw online like anybody else. And so I started getting a lot of emails and you know, people are linking me into it. So my response is what I put on my website. Nothing I can say about it.
The main thing is if you just let it be known: I’m not critical of what they said, you understand? I just think it’s two different platforms. And people have to, you know, you follow the path that you think is the truth. And I respect every legitimate opinion.
I don’t believe that we should be talking of global jihad. Right now I don’t think it’s a smart move and that’s my opinion. But there’s others that hold a different opinion and that’s their right and they have their proofs and evidences for it. At the end of the day its what you think is the right thing.