American-born cleric an inspiration for ISIS militants, takes protection with 5th Amendment

He was born and raised in the Detroit suburb of Dearborn where Christians and Muslims have lived peacefully for generations. Now, he's being called the pin-up boy for ISIS and Al-Qaeda militants.

Ahmad Jibril is the most popular online preacher in the world for westerners who have gone to fight for ISIS and Al-Qaeda in Syria and Iraq, according to the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation and Political Violence. The report says he's a cheerleader and he's careful not to call for jihad against Americans.

However, in 1995 he did. He faxed a note to CNN after a bombing in Saudi Arabia. Here's what it said: "American forces must leave our lands immediately or a series of attacks will follow on the civilian Americans … they are easier to attack."

Jibril has been banned from American mosques and is preaching to an audience that wants to bring the country down. 

"When your brothers in Syria speaks everyone today needs to shut their mouth and listen," he said. "Because they have proven themselves to be real men." 

That was Jibril in a YouTube sermon he posted less than two weeks after his release from prison. He served six years for tax evasion, fraud, and jury tampering. That was 2012.

Today, he has 27,000 Twitter followers and 240,000 likes on Facebook. He even contacts some of his fighters through social media, like this: "Do you think what's going on in the world today from the east to the west to the north to the south is by chance? All it takes is one. One finger. One finger. To Allah at the right moment and the sincere heart, it will decimate nations."

After his release, he was ordered to pay $250,000 in restitution. He's paid $3,000. That's when the feds hauled him in last month and demanded to know his finances. He took shelter under the 5th Amendment. 225 times. 

Then the Americans with Charlie LeDuff caught up with him and had some questions too: Are you encouraging people to fight against your country and you won't do it? Are you a coward? Are you going to fight with Isis? You know you're an American? Does that make you an infidel?

What were the answers? You don't want to miss the next Americans.

Want more from Charlie LeDuff? He expanded his interaction with Jibril in this column for Vice.

Up Next:

  • Popular

  • Recent

Stories you may be interested in - includes Advertiser Stories