Jesse Morton, ICSVE Senior Researcher and Practitioner, was once a jihadist propagandist (then known as Younes Abdullah Muhammad) who ran Revolution Muslim, a New York City-based organization active in the 2000s and connected to a number of terrorism cases. He connected al-Qaeda’s ideology and transformed it for America, creating English language propaganda and collaborating with the most notorious jihadist preachers of that era. Morton deradicalized in 2011, following his arrest in Casablanca and then incarceration in the U.S. Since then he has worked to become a leading commentator and researcher on jihadist, far-right and far-left extremism and reciprocal radicalization. He is also one of the world’s most prominent preventing and countering violent extremism practitioners.
Before joining ICSVE, Morton ran Parallel Networks, an organization he co-founded with Mitch Silber, the former NYPD official that monitored and ultimately incarcerated him. Parallel Networks consulted on international projects with a particular concentration on the reintegration and rehabilitation of terrorism-related offenders and foreign terrorist fighters and their family members and combating the transnational jihadist movement. Additionally, Morton also led Parallel Networks’ Light Upon Light project, an off and online ecosystem of holistic programming that utilizes a unique transdisciplinary approach to combat polarization, hate and far-right, far-left jihadist extremism and targeted violence in the American ambit. Light Upon Light programming works holistically to offer an antithetical sense of identity, purpose, and community to that which extremists offer their recruits. Parallel Networks and the Light Upon Light project will now merge and serve as ICSVE subsidiaries through which Morton will blend the parallel networks philosophy to ICSVE’s methodology and expand ICSVE’s research and programming to address domestic radicalization and extremism.
Over past years, Jesse has served as a deradicalization interventionist in an array of capacities and has working to pull over 100 individuals from an array of movements and ideologies out of extremism. He has published and presented at New America Foundation, the Institute for Strategic Dialogue, United States Institute for Peace, Alliance for Peacebuilding, the Antidefamation League (ADL), CTC Sentinel, Lawfare, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, New York Times, New York Post and other outlets. Morton was included in Foreign Policy Magazine’s 2017 ‘Global Thinkers’ listing, holds certificate licensure in substance-abuse and mental health counseling, is widely read in Islamic theology and jurisprudence, has lectured at Imam Muhammad ibn Saud University in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia and Sunderland University in Casablanca, Morocco and is a certified substance abuse and mental health counselor in New York State with a bachelor’s degree in human service and master’s in international relations, Middle East studies and nonprofit management from Columbia University.