Hamed al-Ali – Kuwaiti scholar (in his 40s). Serves as lecturer and preacher. Graduated al-Madina University in Saudi Arabia. Published Islamic verdicts justifying suicide attacks committed by Palestinians against Israelis.
Saif al-Din al-Ansari (nom de guerre) – Senior al-Qaeda leader and ideologist. Expresses support for total extermination of infidels through jihad for the sake of Allah.
Salman bin Fahed al-‘Auda – Prominent Saudi scholar. Born in Baser (Buraida, Saudi Arabia) in 1956. Serves as Islamic researcher, lecturer and preacher. Runs the Islamic website www.islamtoday.net. Arrested by Saudi security services in 1994 for his radical views and jailed until 1999. Al-‘Auda considers jihad against the U.S. in Muslim countries as justified self-defense in reaction to American occupation. He attributes great importance to the daawa (spreading Islam by education and preaching).
Nasser bin Hamed al-Fahd – Saudi scholar. Born in 1968 in Riyadh (Saudi Arabia). Graduated Al-Imam University in Riyadh. Served as lecturer in Islamic affairs. Jailed by Saudis 1994-1997. Al-Fahd published articles and religious edicts supporting the Taliban regime in Afghanistan and denouncing Muslims who cooperated with the U.S. In May 2003 he justified use of weapons of mass destruction against the U.S. as a retaliatory measure. Along with Ali al-Khudeir and Ahmed al-Khaldi, he incited to commit attacks against Westerners and openly supported the Riyadh bombings. In May 2003 he was rearrested by the Saudi security services and charged with advocating violence in sermons in mosques and on the Internet. Under pressure by Saudi authorities, which began cracking down on militants believed responsible for a string of attacks in Saudi Arabia, al-Fahd renounced militancy and attacks against innocent people inside Saudi Arabia in an interview on Saudi TV (November 2003). He focused on the past tendency of clerics to widely use the doctrine of takfir, charging that Muslims have become infidels and should be treated accordingly.
Suliman Abu Ghaith – Born in the 1970s in Kuwait. Former religious studies teacher. Serves as al-Qaeda’s spokesperson. He left Kuwait in 2000. Abu Ghaith was stripped of his citizenship after he called for retaliation against the U.S. during the war in Afghanistan. He is considered as one of Osama bin Laden’s closest associates.
Abu Ayman al-Hilali (nom de guerre) – Senior al-Qaeda leader and ideologist. Supports uncompromising jihad against infidels and religiously justifies mass killings of Western civilians.
Abd al-Aziz al-Jarbou’ – Saudi scholar. Published religious edicts justifying jihad against the U.S. and al-Qaeda’s attack on the U.S. in September 2001. Considered a supporter of al-Qaeda’s terrorist global network. Arrested in 2003 by Saudi security services.
Ali al-Khudeir – Saudi scholar. Born in 1954 in Riyadh (Saudi Arabia). Graduated Al-Imam University in Qusaim. Hamud bin Uqla al-Shuaibi, one of his teachers (see below), had great influence on shaping his Islamic views. Al-Khudeir published articles and religious edicts supporting the Taliban regime in Afganistan including the destruction of the Hindu statues, as a part of jihad against the infidels. He religiously justified al-Qaeda’s attack on the U.S. in September 2001. Along with Nasser al-Fahd and Ahmed al-Khaldi, he incited to commit attacks against Westerners and openly supported the Riyadh bombings. He was arrested by the Saudi security services and charged with advocating violence in sermons in mosques and on the Internet. Under pressure from Saudi authorities, which began cracking down on militants believed responsible for a string of attacks in Saudi Arabia, in an interview on Saudi TV (November 2003), al-Khudeir reversed his religious edicts justifying attacks against innocent people including Westerners under regime protection inside Saudi Arabia and encouraging Saudi youth to join the jihad in Iraq and Afghanistan. Like Nasser al-Fahd, he focused on limiting the application of takfir, which had largely internal implications.
Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi – Palestinian scholar (born in Nablus), living in Jordan. Al-Maqdisi was involved in directing Islamist terrorist groups in Jordan under various names – Bay’at al-Imam, Jaysh Muhammad, Al-Islah wal-Tahaddi – along with the Islamic Movement for Change, which carried out the terrorist attack in Riyadh in November 1995 in which five American officials were killed. He was imprisoned between 1995 and 1999 and detained again in the recent wave of arrests of Islamists in Jordan.
Muhammad Saleh al-Munajjid – Saudi scholar. Born in 1961. Graduated Saudi University in Dhahran. The late grand mufti, Abd al-Aziz al-Baz, was one of his teachers, who had great influence in shaping his views. Serves as Islamic researcher and preacher.
Yusuf al-Qaradawi – Prominent Islamic scholar and well-known preacher. Born in Egypt (1926), lives in Qatar. Known as a member of the Muslim Brotherhood. Qaradawi heads the Sunni studies department at Qatar University. He was the first Sunni Muslim scholar to give religious legitimacy to the suicide operations of Hamas (1995), and to the participation of women in suicide attacks. Qaradawi has generally defended bin Laden as a representative and defender of oppressed Muslims against the “American and Zionist evilness,” even though he condemned the attacks on American soil against innocent civilians.
Hamud bin Uqla al-Shuaibi – Prominent and influential Saudi scholar. Born in 1927 in al-Shiqqa (Buraida, Saudi Arabia), died in 2001. Lost his eyesight in the age of 9 as a result of disease. Learned Islamic studies and law. Served as teacher of Islamic affairs. His students included a number of important Saudi religious leaders, including the current grand mufti. Al-Shuaibi published religious edicts supporting the Taliban regime in Afghanistan including the destruction of the Hindu statues, as part of jihad against the infidels. He religiously justified al-Qaeda’s attack on the U.S. in September 2001 and gave religious legitimacy to the suicide attacks against Israel carried out by Palestinians. In October 2001, bin Laden cited al-Shuaibi when he spoke of his justification for killing Jews and Christians.
Abd al-Rahman al-Sudays – Imam of the central mosque in Mecca. Well-known for his radical Islamic views and ardent preaching against the infidels.
Suliman bin Nasser al-Ulwan – Saudi scholar. Born in 1969 in Buraida. Serves as lecturer and preacher. Published religious edict justifying the Palestinian suicide attacks against Israeli civilians. In 2001 he stated that the attacks on the World Trade Center were an act of jihad.
Ahmad Yassin – Palestinian religious leader; born in 1937 in Ashkelon (today in southern Israel); worked as teacher, preacher, and community worker; completely paralyzed following an accident in his youth; founder of the Islamic Center in Gaza in 1973, which soon controlled all religious institutions; founder and spiritual leader of Hamas, the Islamic Resistance Movement, and its military wing, Izz al-Dinn al-Qassam, which is responsible for the deaths of hundreds of Israelis in terrorist attacks, including suicide bombings, since the 1990s. An Israeli court convicted Yassin in 1989 of ordering Hamas members to kidnap and kill two Israeli soldiers. He was released from jail in 1997 to appease Jordan after Israel’s failed attempt to assassinate Hamas leader Khaled Mashal in Amman. Yassin opposed the previously signed agreements between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, and maintains that eliminating Israel and the establishment of an Islamic state in Palestine is a religious duty.
Excerpt from Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs