Yousef al-Khattab is a Jew who converted to Islam after living in Israel, while Younes Abdullah Mohammed calls himself a U.S. citizen "by default," CNN reports. The two men admire Osama bin Laden and say the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks were justified by U.S. foreign policy.
They hand out fliers outside the Islamic Cultural Center of New York, sometimes known as the 96th Street Mosque, on Third Avenue between 96th and 97th streets.
"Americans will always be a target -- and a legitimate target -- until America changes its nature in the international arena," Mohammed told CNN in an interview airing Friday.
Inside the mosque, thousands of worshippers hear that Islam is a religion of peace.
"What we try to do is reminding our people about the real Islam," Imam Shamsi Ali said.
The mosque has called police several times about the pair outside. Sources in law enforcement say Mohammed and al-Khattab have gone up to the line on free speech but have not crossed it, CNN said.