Inspired by Online Jihad: US/UK Converts to Islam Threatened to Kill South Park Creators, Had 15 on Hitlist

(Today Online) Two American followers of Muslim cleric Anwar Al Awlaki are now in custody, the latest in a slew of homegrown extremism cases in the United States.

Zachary Chesser, 20, a Muslim convert, had posted an online warning to the creators of South Park that they risked death for mocking Muhammad.

He was arrested on Wednesday and charged with supporting the Somalia-based terrorist group Al Shabab after he allegedly tried to board a flight to Africa with his infant son.

Chesser had been in email contact with Al Awlaki, an American citizen now living in Yemen who has recently been designated a terrorist by the United States government.

On Wednesday, another Muslim convert, Paul Rockwood, 35, also admitted that he had been inspired by reading Al Awlaki's tracts on the Web and had prepared a list of 15 people he believed should be killed for "desecrating Islam".

Neither he nor his British wife, Nadia Rockwood, are accused of taking any steps toward harming the people on the list but were both convicted of making false statements during a terrorism investigation.

Both men are part of a marked increase in homegrown extremism in the US, often influenced by radical material on the Internet.

According to the government, 19 US citizens were charged in international terrorism cases last year and 15 more so far this year. In case after case, investigators have discovered the influence of Al Awlaki.

The cleric became the first US citizen to be placed on the CIA's capture-or-kill list.

He is alleged to have a role in the attempted Christmas bombing of a Detroit-bound airliner.

He is also believed to have corresponded with several alleged terrorists, including Nidal Malik Hasan, the US Army psychiatrist accused of killing 13 people in November at Fort Hood, Texas.

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