Abdulrahman Alamoudi is an Eritrean who arrived in the United States in 1979. Over the next decade or so, he founded a range of Muslim organizations and charities and gradually established himself as one of the leading faces of the Muslim community.
Although there is no group that calls itself the Muslim Brotherhood in the United States, law enforcement officials and other observers say it operates through what some describe as ‘front organizations’ with large followings.
Those who’ve followed Alamoudi’s activities regard him as a man who acted in concert with the Muslim Brotherhood and who’s thought processes were closely aligned with Brotherhood thinking. But, to outsiders, Alamoudi cultivated the image of a liberal, moderate representative of the Muslim community. And this guise was so successful that he was invited to meet President Clinton and George W. Bush when he was a presidential candidate. Alamoudi also managed to win the trust of the military planners in the Pentagon – who gave one of his organizations the job of selecting Islamic chaplains to serve Muslims in the US Armed forces.
But there was another, very different, side to Alamoudi. He was also making speeches in favor of Hamas and Hezbollah and, according to an FBI insider, attending a conference in Beirut with representatives of organizations that the US Government regarded as terrorists. Alamoudi’s double life eventually unraveled when he admitted his part in a plot to assassinate the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia. He is now serving 23 years in prison in the United States.
Sylvain Besson has been a journalist since 1996, first for the daily Journal de Genève, then for Le Temps of Geneva since 1998. He specializes in financial criminal and money laundering investigative reporting. His book on offshore tax havens, L'argent secret des paradis fiscaux (Secret Money of the Tax Havens) was published in 2002.
Sylvain Besson then developed an interest in Islamist networks in Europe which was the basis for his second book. La conquête de l'Occident: Le projet secret des (The Conquest of the West: The Islamists' Secret Project) was published in October 2005 in Paris.
Sylvain Besson has been Paris correspondent for the Swiss daily since October 2005.
Comras now serves as a consultant and attorney on matters related to international sanctions and political risk assessment. He is a noted authority and speaker on terrorism and terrorism financing, and testifies frequently before congressional committees on these issues.
Comras served for two years, on appointment by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, as one of five international monitors overseeing Security Council measures against al-Qaeda and the Taliban. Mr. Comras retired from the U.S. Department of State in 2001 with the permanent rank of Minister Counselor. He led the State Department’s foreign policy trade control and sanctions programs for nearly a decade.
Secretary Colin Powell, in 2000, asked Mr. Comras to develop plans to revamp and re-invigorate sanctions against the Saddam Hussein regime. In 1999, Secretary Madeleine Albright put him in charge of developing an international sanctions program on Serbia aimed at isolating, and bringing down, the Slobodan Milosevic regime. He also served as the State Department’s point-man on sanctions related to Iraq, Iran, Libya, Haiti, Cuba, North Korea, and other crisis areas.
Mr. Comras is a practicing Attorney and member of the Florida Bar. He is a graduate of Georgetown University and the University of Florida Law School. He also holds a Masters in International Law from Harvard Law School. He joined the US State Department and Foreign Service in 1966.
According to US intelligence officials, Darkazanli belonged to the Muslim Brotherhood when in his homeland, Syria. They say that, in the early 1980’s, he took part in a violent revolt, led by the Brotherhood, against the brutal regime of the dictator Hafez Assad. The rebellion was crushed – and soon after, Darkazanli moved to Hamburg in Germany where he established a company ferrying goods in and out of the country. He has been circumstantially linked to the bombings of the US Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998 and to the 9/11 hijackers. Intelligence agencies have also linked Darkazanli to the Al Qaeda leader, Osama bin Laden.
Mamoun Darkazanli has never been tried in a court of law for the allegations leveled against him. A Spanish judge did issue a European warrant for his arrest in 2003 – and he was held in jail by the German authorities for some months. But the country’s highest court eventually ruled the arrest warrant to be against German law – and he was freed. Darkazanli still lives in Hamburg.
Dennis Hale, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Political Science, Boston College
Dennis Hale earned a BA in Government from Oberlin College in 1966, and a Ph.D. in Political Science from the City University of New York in 1977. He has taught at Boston College since 1978; he is a former Department Chair and currently the Director of Undergraduate Studies. His courses include the introductory sequence for majors, upper-level electives in American political thought and public administration, and a graduate seminar on the American Founding.
With his colleague Marc Landy, he has edited two volumes of the essays of Bertrand de Jouvenel: The Nature of Politics and Economics and the Good Life. His essays and reviews have appeared in The Journal of Politics, The American Political Science Review, State and Local Government Review, and Polity, and he is currently at work on a study of the American jury system.
In his off-campus life Hale is a lay Eucharistic minister at Grace Episcopal Church in Medford, a founder of the Episcopal-Jewish Alliance, and secretary of Christians for Fair Witness on the Middle East.
A 1972 graduate of the University of Iowa, Hamilton earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Physics and Astronomy and also played four years of football for the Hawkeyes. After graduation, he entered the U.S. Air Force where he flew as a pilot (F-4 Phantom) for eight years and was discharged in 1979. Upon separation, he flew briefly as a pilot for Continental Airlines and attended graduate school in International Relations at the University of Colorado.
In 1983, he became a Special Agent in the FBI where he remained until his retirement in 2005. While in the FBI, he was assigned to the Denver, Houston, and Washington Field Divisions of the FBI. From 1983 to 1994, he was assigned to work counter intelligence investigations. In 1994, he was reassigned to work terrorism investigations, an investigative area which he continued until his retirement. While assigned to the FBI’s Washington Field Office, he attended graduate school at Georgetown University where he received a Master’s Degree in National Security Studies in 1989.
In 1995, he was transferred to FBI Headquarters in Washington, D.C. where he supervised investigations of Palestinian terrorism matters. In 2002, he was promoted to the chief of the FBI unit which oversaw, in addition to Palestinian matters, state sponsors of terrorism in the U.S.
Following his retirement, he became a Senior Terrorism Fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy in Washington, D.C., where he worked until December 2005. Since January 2007, he has been an adjunct professor teaching counter terrorism issues at the National Defense University, Washington, D.C.
Muslim Brotherhood member banned from entering the United States
Last October, Kemal Helbawy boarded a plane at London’s Heathrow airport on his way to speak at an academic conference in New York. While he was sitting on the plane, waiting for it to move, he was called to the front of the aircraft and asked to step off for a moment. He was met by two American officials who told him - without explanation – that he’d been banned from entering the country. The plane took off without him.
Helbawy is a member of the Muslim Brotherhood and, was the Brotherhood’s spokesperson in the West for several years in the 1990’s. He’s visited the United States on previous occasions.
His resume indicates that he has attended ‘hundreds of conferences and seminars in different fields’, is chairman of an investments and developments company and is an adviser to the Global Civilizations Study Center and the Center for the Study of Terrorism.
But he still doesn’t know why he was banned from the United States. “They can't say that I am a terrorist, that I am related to terrorism,” he says. “All my life is dedicated to fight terrorism and to fight violence and teach peaceful means of achieving goals and spreading Islam.”
Hosenball joined Newsweek as an investigative correspondent in November 1993, covering a range of issues for the National Affairs department. Most recently, he has written and reported numerous stories on intelligence, terrorism, the September 11 attacks and the run-up to the Iraq War. He has also covered campaign finance, the Monica Lewinsky controversy, the death of Princess Diana, Whitewater, the crashes of EgyptAir flight 990 and TWA flight 800, as well as related air safety issues.
Hosenball came to Newsweek from DATELINE NBC where he worked as an investigative producer. He also worked extensively as a print journalist, writing for a number of British and American publications, including the London Sunday Times, the London Evening Standard, Time Out, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, and The New Republic. In addition, he has done commentaries for American Public Radio.
He attended the University of Pennsylvania and Trinity College in Dublin. He lives in the Washington, D.C., area with his wife and son.
Isikoff is an investigative journalist for the U.S.-based magazine Newsweek. He joined the magazine as an investigative correspondent in June 1994 and has written extensively on the U.S. government’s war on terrorism, the Abu Ghraib torture and prisoner abuse, campaign-finance and congressional ethics abuses, presidential politics and other national issues. Isikoff received his A.B. from Washington University in 1974 and obtained a Masters in Journalism from Northwestern University in 1976.
Born and raised in the Middle East, much of Dr. Mandaville’s research has centered on transnational connections between social movements and organizations in the wider Islamic world, with a particular focus on linkages between the Middle East, Southeast Asia, and Muslims in the West. His recent work has focused on the comparative study of religious authority and social movements in the Muslim world, Muslim youth in Europe, and an anthology of key texts on religion and globalization to be published by Sage in 2007.
Mandaville is most recently the author of Transnational Muslim Politics: Reimagining the Umma (London: Routledge, 2001; paperback 2003), and has also co-edited The Zen of International Relations (London: Palgrave 2001) and Meaning and International Relations (London: Routledge, 2003).
Mandaville has authored numerous book chapters, and contributed articles to journals such as Millennium and the Review of International Studies. In addition to various media appearances and international consulting work, he has provided briefings to government agencies and spoken before congressional groups on issues such as Saudi Arabia and al-Qaeda.
Previously he taught at the University of Kent at Canterbury in the UK. He holds degrees from the University of St. Andrews and the University of Kent. Visiting affiliations have included the National Islamic University in Indonesia, the American University in Washington, DC, and the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Dr. Mandaville also holds a faculty appointment in the Department of Public and International Affairs.
Since 1997, Murck has been deputy chief and head of the department of extremism at the Office for the Protection of the Constitution, the regional intelligence service, in Hamburg.
For ten years before that he was Head of the Department Social Sciences at the National Academy for Senior Police Officers, Münster (Nordrhein-Westfalen). In the 1970’s, Murck worked as a researcher at the Universities of Frankfurt - investigating a range of topics including social change, human needs, political processes, public security and policing. In the 1980’s he worked in the police department of the department of the interior in Hamburg.
He has contributed to scientific journals and a variety of publications - writing mainly on the issues of social change, public security and policing. Murck was born in 1949 in the State of Hesse, Germany.
Youssef Nada is one of the Muslim Brotherhood’s most important personalities. He joined the Brotherhood in Egypt in the 1940’s. At the time Egypt was in the grip of violent protests against British colonial rule. The Government rounded up thousands of Brotherhood activists – among them Youssef Nada. At the time he was part of the organization’s military wing. He was jailed and says he was tortured. Eventually he left Egypt and settled in Campione, a small Italian enclave surrounded on all sides by Swiss territory. In the neighboring town of Lugano, in Switzerland itself, Nada established and ran an Islamic banking operation called al Taqwa.
Nada has also acted as a foreign emissary for the Muslim Brotherhood, helping to end disputes by negotiating between different governments and Islamist groups in the Arab world. In 1991 he met Saddam Hussein to tell him to avert war with the US. After the 9/11 attacks in 2001 the US administration accused Nada of being a terrorist financier - specifically accusing him of funneling money to Hamas and al Qaeda. On the orders of the UN Security Council, his businesses were shut down, his assets frozen and he was forbidden from crossing international borders. Nada denies all the allegations against him .
Dr. Steinberg is a research associate specializing in Middle East and Gulf Affairs at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik, SWP) in Berlin and a lecturer in Middle East Politics at the Free University.
An Islamist and Middle East Historian by training, he has worked as a research coordinator at the Free University Berlin (2001) and as an advisor on international terrorism in the German Federal Chancellery (2002-2005).
He is a frequent expert witness in German terrorism trials and has published widely on the Middle East, Saudi Arabian and Iraqi History and Politics, the Wahhabiya, and Islamism and Terrorism, including most recently: The Near and the Far Enemy: Islamist Terrorist Networks (in German by München 2005); The Iraqi Insurgency. Actors, Strategies, and Structures (Berlin: SWP 2006).
Townsend was appointed Homeland Security Advisor by the President on May 28th, 2004. She chairs the Homeland Security Council and reports to the President on United States Homeland Security policy and Combating Terrorism matters. She previously served as Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy National Security Advisor for Combating Terrorism.
Townsend came to the White House from the U. S. Coast Guard, where she had served as Assistant Commandant for Intelligence. Prior to that, she spent 13 years at the U. S. Department of Justice in a variety of senior positions, her last assignment as Counsel to the Attorney General for Intelligence Policy.
Townsend began her prosecutorial career in 1985, serving as an Assistant District Attorney in Brooklyn, New York. After three years of study, she graduated cum laude from the American University in 1982 where she received a B.A. in Political Science and a B.S. in Psychology. Ms. Townsend received her J.D. from the University of San Diego School of Law in 1984. In 1986, she attended the Institute on International and Comparative Law in London, England.
Vidino has been with the Investigative Project, a Washington-based research institute that specializes in Islamic terrorism since early 2002. In his capacities as terrorism analyst and deputy director, Mr. Vidino has studied the activities al Qaeda and affiliated groups worldwide, focusing mostly on Europe (traveling for at least three months every year throughout the Continent for research purposes). He testified before Congress twice on the issue and has briefed the Office of the Vice President, various Congressmen and their staffers, the FBI, DHS, ICE, Treasury, State Department and several US and foreign law enforcement agencies.
Vidino is the author of the book Al Qaeda in Europe: The New Battleground of Global Jihad, published in 2005. He has published various articles on terrorism in publications such as The Wall Street Journal, The International Herald Tribune, Studies in Conflict and Terrorism, The Middle East Quarterly, and many others. He is frequently interviewed by international media and speaks five languages.
A native of Milan, Italy, Mr. Vidino holds a law degree from the University of Milan Law School and a Masters Degree in International Relations (Security Studies & Islamic Civilization) from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University. He is currently a PhD candidate at the Fletcher School, where he is Research Projects Director at the Jebsen Center for Counter Terrorism Studies.