Does Al Qaeda's Infamous Goat Boy Read the Weekly?

Does Al Qaeda's Infamous Goat Boy Read the Weekly?

In April, the Weekly published this story about Craig Monteilh, a self-described FBI mole who spied on Orange County mosques and claimed that he foiled unspecified terrorist plots. No evidence has ever surfaced to bolster Monteilh's claims, and in that story, I noted that only two OC residents have ever been linked to Al Qaeda, the most famous of whom is the terrorist group's American spokesman,  Adam Gadahn, aka "Azzam the American," whom I identified as a "Jewish-American."

Gadahn grew up on a farm in rural Riverside County where his father, psychedelic rock pioneer Phil Pearlman of Beat of the Earth fame, had moved to raise goats after becoming a born-again Christian and changing his name to Phil Gadahn. His boy, the future terrorist, got into death metal music and other geeky pursuits before converting to Islam at a Garden Grove mosque. In the late 1990s, he was kicked out for slapping the mosque's moderate imam, Haitham "Danny" Bundakji, whom Gadahn had taken to calling "Danny the Jew" because of his religious outreach work. Gadahn disappeared from Orange County shortly before 9/11 and apparently became fluent in Arabic while studying at a madrassa in Pakistan. Starting in 2004, he released a string of videos in which he threatened America with attacks worse  than 9/11 and hectored Western audiences with lectures about Islam. 

The one thing Gadahn had never talked about, until now, was his Jewish roots. But in a video that CNN obtained this week, which experts believe was produced in late April or early May, he finally broke his silence. "Let me here tell you something about myself and my biography, in which there is a benefit and a lesson," Gadahn says in Arabic that was translated by Al Qaeda. "Your speaker has Jews in his ancestry, the last of whom was my grandfather."

Gadahn's grandfather, he says, "used to repeat to me what he claimed are the virtues of this entity [Israel] and encouraged me to visit it, specifically the city of Tel Aviv, where relatives of ours live." Gadahn also complained that grandpa "gave him a book by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called 'A Place Among the Nations'," which Gadahn describes as full of "feeble arguments and unmasked lies to justify the Jews' rape of Muslim Palestine."

It's impossible to know why Gadahn suddenly decided to discuss his Jewish roots, but it is worth noting that he apparently produced the video within days of the Weekly highlighting his embarrassing heritage. In his video, Gadahn quickly uses his chosen-people confession to denounce Israel for its recent invasion of the Gaza Strip, and talks about how his revulsion towards "Zionism" played a role in his decision to convert to Islam.

"How can a person with an ounce of self-respect possibly stand in the ranks of criminals and killers who have no morals, no mercy, no humanity and indeed no honor?" Gadahn concludes, sadly oblivious of the obvious irony that, as a member of Al Qaeda, he has joined the ranks of criminals and killers who have no morals, no mercy, no humanity and no honor.


All-access pass to the top stories, events and offers around town.

  • Top Stories


All-access pass to top stories, events and offers around town.

Sign Up >

No Thanks!

Remind Me Later >