The Top 20 Most Dangerous Extremists Around the World

CEP is publishing its second annual report on the World’s Top 20 Most Dangerous Extremists in the aftermath of the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan, an event which threatens to usher in a new era of terror. Just as was the case leading up to 9/11, key al-Qaeda operatives and affiliates—many of whom helped plot the Taliban’s takeover—once more have an effective home base from which to coordinate and execute attacks against western targets. They now pose the greatest threat to the West since ISIS was at its peak in May 2015. This new capacity translates to a greater risk of well-planned, highly organized international Islamist attacks reaching British and Western shores.

This year’s Top 20 boasts two of al-Qaeda’s highest-ranking members in group leader Ayman al-Zawahiri and the leader of its Somali subsidiary group al-Shabaab, Ahmed Umar Abu Ubaidah. Also included in the list are Haibatullah Akhundzada, emir of the Taliban, and Sirajuddin Haqqani, the leader of the Haqqani network and the man widely considered to be the crucial point of contact between the Taliban and al-Qaeda leadership.

However, while al-Zawahiri’s group certainly poses the most imminent global threat, the instability which has resulted from the Taliban’s takeover has led to the startling resurgence of another familiar terrorist group: ISIS itself. In the years before the U.S. pulled out of Afghanistan, ISIS’s regional affiliate ISIS-K had been slowly building power in Afghanistan, recruiting directly from the Taliban’s ranks those most dissatisfied by their unwillingness to fight western forces more aggressively.

This year’s list contains two ISIS members: ISIS-K leader Shahab al-Muhajir and the notorious “jihadi bride” fixer Tooba Gonda of France. Therefore, Britain and the West can expect a double-barreled terror threat from well-funded Islamist organizations who may hate each other but see us as a common enemy—ISIS and al-Qaeda.

The Taliban’s victory also has more diffuse effects in encouraging Islamic terrorism elsewhere in the world. After the fall of Kabul and the withdrawal of western forces from Afghanistan, terrorist groups with whom the West has battled over the past 20 years will be encouraged to pursue their extremist agendas more aggressively and actively.

This year’s list is topped by Secretary General of Hezbollah Hassan Nasrallah, and Hamas political chief Ismail Haniyeh. As the leaders’ of similarly sized Islamist nationalist groups who have also been in longstanding conflict with the West, they will both take significant inspiration from what the Taliban was able to achieve, and could mount analogous assaults in their own regions to achieve and consolidate national supremacy in the coming year.

Lastly, we must also pay careful attention to the reactive boost in support that far-right extremists in the West have received as a result of events in Afghanistan, and the ensuing Afghan migrant crisis that is surely to unfold in the coming months. No fewer than six highly influential far-right extremist leaders’ have made this years’ list, including Robert Rundo, co-founder of Rise Above Movement, American neo-Nazi James Mason, Canadian far-right nationalist and white supremacist Stefan Molyneux, and the dangerously influential British far-right, anti-Islam activist and convicted criminal who calls himself Tommy Robinson, but whose real name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon.

While much of what is set to happen in Afghanistan in the next 12 months seems, regrettably, to be out of our hands, countering these growing domestic threats is a far more achievable goal of domestic security policy. However, it will require a degree of enhanced political commitment and resolve at a U.K. and European level in 2022.

The coming year will bring a new and highly dangerous threat from Islamists and the far-right. It is now up to our political leaders to recognize that and ensure that our intelligence services are prepared, resourced, and funded to match this danger.

No. 1: Hassan Nasrallah
Secretary-General of Hezbollah

Date of Birth: August 31, 1960*

Also Known As: Hasan Abd-al-Karim*

Last Known Location: Lebanon or Iran*

Designations:

  • The U.S. Department of Treasury designated Hassan Nasrallah as a Specially Designated Terrorist in January 1995. The designation blocked all property and financial transactions in the United States.*
  • Designated by the U.S. Department of the Treasury under Executive Order 13582 for providing support to the Syrian government in September 2012. The designation called for the seizure of all assets of anybody in the United States doing business with the Syrian government.*

Background Information: Hassan Nasrallah is the Secretary-General of the Iranian-backed Shiite terrorist group Hezbollah. Hezbollah is designated as a terrorist organization by several governments, including the U.S.,* the U.K.,* the Netherlands,* and Germany.* Nasrallah has shaped Hezbollah into the dominant political power in Lebanon it is today, serving as the driving force behind their military operations.* Nasrallah has incited violence amongst Hezbollah supporters by preaching antisemitism* in mosques and Shiite cultural centers across Europe.*

Hezbollah primarily targets Israel, the U.S., and the wider Jewish population. The group has attacked Israel on multiple occasions since 2000* and was responsible for the 2012 bus bombing in Burgas, Bulgaria which killed five Israeli tourists and wounded 35 other Israelis.* Prior to 9/11, Hezbollah was responsible for more deaths of Americans than any other organization. The group is able to fund its operations through significant backing from Iran.* The Islamic Republic supplies Hezbollah with mass quantities of weapons, fighters, and supplies.* Like Iran, Hezbollah considers the United States and Israel to be its chief enemies, which has led to a global terrorist campaign against the two nations.*

Influence: Nasrallah is seen as “a messianic figure, much higher than any official in Lebanon,” according to Walid Phares, a Lebanese-born terrorism expert.* Nasrallah is active on the Internet, running a personal website that contains archives of his speeches and a photo gallery of military operations. Additionally, Hezbollah owns a satellite television station that can be watched worldwide, as well as radio stations, print publications and a network of over 50 websites that can be accessed in multiple languages.*

Deaths Attributed to Individual/Organization: Prior to September 11, 2001, Hezbollah was responsible for more deaths of Americans worldwide than any other organization.* In its more-than-three-decade history, Hezbollah has transformed—thanks largely to Iranian patronage—from a singularly focused terrorist group fighting Israel into a developed army participating in regional conflicts. Hezbollah’s use of drone technology illustrates its advancement in weaponry. Hezbollah began using Iranian-supplied drones in 2002, primarily for reconnaissance missions. In September 2014, Iranian media reported that Hezbollah had used an armed unmanned aerial vehicle to kill 23 members of al-Nusra Front in Lebanon—a significant leap forward in weapons technology for the terrorist group.* In December 2021, Israel’s ALMA Research Center warned Hezbollah had an arsenal of approximately 2,000 unmanned aerial vehicles, up from 200 Iran-made UAVs in its possession in 2013.*

No. 2: Hossein Salami
Commander-in-Chief of Iranian terrorist organization IRGC-Quds Force

Date of Birth: 1960*

Also Known As: Hoseyn Salami,* Hussayn Salami,* Hosein Salami*

Last Known Location: Iran

Designations:

  • The U.S. Department of the Treasury sanction-designated Hosein Salami as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist under Executive Order 13382 on the basis of his relationship to the IRGC on October 25, 2007.*
  • The U.N. Security Council imposed financial sanctions on Hosein Salami on December 23, 2006, in an annex to U.N. Security Council Resolution 1737 because of his involvement with Iran’s ballistic missile program.*

Background Information: Hossein Salami is the commander in chief of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), Iran’s primary instrument for defending the Islamic Republic against internal and external threats.* The organization was designated as a foreign terrorist organization by U.S. President Donald Trump in 2019.* The IRGC routinely engages in the violent suppression and censorship of Iranian citizens at the will of the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, and has ties with several terrorist organizations, including Hezbollah. The IRGC has been accused of orchestrating the 1994 bombing of the AMIA Jewish center in Afghanistan,* the attempted assassination of Saudi Arabia’s then ambassador to the U.S. in 2011,* and was involved in the deaths of hundreds of protestors in 2019.*

Influence: Salami has threatened foreign countries, such as the United States or Israel, with violence on numerous occasions. In 2019, while addressing thousands of demonstrators in Tehran, he warned the U.K., the U.S., Israel, and Saudi Arabia that Iran would “destroy them if they crossed [their] red line.”* Salami is also a fierce defender of Palestine and its military group Hamas, as well as the Lebanese group Hezbollah. In 2019, Salami praised Hamas for attacking Israel with rockets. Similarly, earlier this year he declared in 2021 that Hezbollah would “suffocate” the Zionists.*

Salami has in the past welcomed the prospect of military conflict with both the United States and Israel. After car bombing killed 27 IRGC members in Iran on February 13, 2019, Salami declared that Iran would “break” the United States, Israel, and Saudi Arabia.* Salami has stated that the United States had already been defeated, while Israel was struggling to survive. Furthermore, Salami has claimed that Iran has “plans to defeat the world powers” and he will undoubtedly be front and centre of any future attacks by Iran.*

Deaths Attributed to Individual/Organization: The IRGC is the dominant military force in Iran and has carried out many of the country’s key military operations.* In November 2019, following the Iranian government’s announcement of a 50 percent hike in oil prices, protests erupted across the country, leading to violent retaliation from the Iranian government, including the IRGC. The protests led to the death of over 1,500 civilians with the number of injuries totalling between 2,000 and 4,800.* The IRGC was allegedly involved in the deaths of 59 Kurdish couriers, and in March 2021, as many as 23 unarmed fuel couriers and protestors belonging to the Baluch minority were killed in Sistan and Baluchistan province at the border of Pakistan.*

No. 3: Ismail Haniyeh
Hamas political chief

Date of Birth: January 29, 1962*

Also Known As: Ismael Haniya,* Ismaeel Haniyya,* Ismail Abdel Salam Ahmed Haniyeh,* Ismail Abdul Salah Haniya,* Ismail Hanieh,* Ismail Haniya,* Ismail Haniyah,* Ismail Haniyyah,* Ismayli Haniyeh*

Last Known Location: Resides in Doha as the head of Hamas’ politburo is expected to live outside the Gaza strip.*

Designations:

Background Information: Ismail Haniyeh is the political chief for Hamas, a political and military organization that emerged in the Gaza Strip in the late 1980s during the first Palestinian revolt against Israel.* The group’s ideology blends Islamism and Palestinian nationalism and seeks the destruction of Israel and the creation of an Islamic state between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River.* Hamas receives financial and military support from Iran and has received significant funding from Qatar.*

Haniyeh has ties to other terrorist organizations including groups affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood and Hezbollah and has personally met Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah.* Haniyeh condemned the U.S. assassination of Osama bin Laden, referring to him as a “Muslim holy warrior and the victim of American oppression.”* Additionally, Haniyeh has thanked Iran for its support of Hamas,* and spoke at the funeral of Qasem Soleimani, the former leader of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps Quds Force (IRGC-QF).*

Haniyeh has also met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, raising concerns internationally that the Turkish government has ties with Hamas leadership.*

Haniyeh primarily uses Twitter to communicate while Hamas as a whole previously used several social media accounts to spread their message.* Over 150 Facebook and Instagram accounts linked to Hamas were removed by Meta in December 2021.* Haniyeh appears to reject any form of coexistence or normalization with Israel. Last year, Haniyeh announced that the “project of resistance in Palestine and the region will not be weakened or fall into a recession. Assassinations will only make us more strong, and persevere and insistent on moving toward the liberation of Jerusalem and Palestine.”*

Influence:On August 3, 2020, a statement by Haniyeh’s office signaled Hamas’ intent to continue to commit acts of terrorism against Israel in the long term. In September 2020, Haniyeh said that Hamas has missiles capable of striking Tel Aviv and areas beyond it from the border with Gaza.*

Deaths Attributed to Individual/Organization: The U.S. Department of State claims Haniyeh has been involved in terrorist attacks targeting Israelis and Americans.* Hamas and Israel have fought three wars and several smaller battles over the past 13 years. Haniyeh has close links with Hamas’s military wing and has been a proponent of armed struggle, including against civilians.* Throughout the 1990s and early 2000s, Hamas dispatched suicide bombers to kill Israeli civilian and military targets, collectively killing hundreds of people. A 2007 study in the Journal of Economic Perspectives found that Hamas was responsible for roughly 40 percent of suicide attacks during the Second Intifada, which collectively killed more than 1,000 people.* Between September 2000 and March 2004, Hamas carried out 425 terrorist attacks in Israel, the Gaza Strip, and the West Bank. This included 52 suicide bombings, which killed 377 people and wounded 2,076 civilians and soldiers.*

No. 4: Robert Rundo
Co-founder of Rise Above Movement (RAM)

Date of Birth: 1990*

Also Known As: N/A

Last Known Location: Belgrade, Serbia*

Designations: Charged with conspiracy in inciting political riots and now on the run from U.S. authorities in Eastern Europe.*

Background Information: The Rise Above Movement (RAM), founded in 2017, is a white supremacist gang based in Southern California that calls itself the “premier MMA (mixed martial arts) club of the Alt-Right.”* In a since deleted YouTube video, RAM co-founder Robert Rundo said he and Ben Daley founded RAM because they did not see a place for themselves in the far-right movement at the time, condemning the alt-right movement for “playing dress-up.” According to Rundo, they wanted a group that would reach beyond online forums.* Rise Above Movement is designated as a white supremacist hate group by several organizations including the Southern Poverty Law Center* and the Anti-Defamation League.*

RAM believes in physically fighting the destructive cultural influences of liberals, Jews, Muslims, and non-white immigrants. RAM members have been involved in physical assaults at protests in California and Charlottesville, Virginia. RAM sent members to the “Unite the Right'” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia in August 2017.* Several members, including co-founder Ben Daley, were charged with conspiracy to riot after the rally.* At anti-Trump protests held in California, members assaulted several protestors, a police officer, and a journalist.* In 2018, Rundo was indicted for planning and intentionally engaging in violent attacks against counter-protestors across California but was never brought to justice.*

One of RAM’s core focuses is MMA and athleticism. It is through training members in street fighting that they hope to reignite the “warrior spirit” of the white male.* Members of RAM have traveled to Europe to participate in MMA tournaments organized by German and Ukrainian neo-Nazi groups. RAM have established athletics clubs and “neighborhood” gyms to attract recruits, framing them in the style of 20th century boxing and youth clubs.*

Robert Rundo is currently on the run from U.S. authorities in Eastern Europe and is believed to currently be in Serbia.*

Deaths Attributed to Individual/Organization: On August 27, 2018, charges were filed by the United States attorney’s office in Charlottesville against four members of the Rise Above Movement in connection with their actions at the Unite the Right rally in 2017. They were said to have come to the rally with the intent to “commit violent acts in furtherance of a riot.” According to an affidavit, the four men charged were "among the most violent individuals present in Charlottesville" for the rally.* The rally resulted in the death of Heather Heyer, but the charges were not in relation to her death.*

No. 5: Haibatullah Akhundzada
Emir of the Taliban

Date of Birth: 1950s or 1960s

Also Known As: Sheikh Haibatullah Akhundzada*

Last Known Location: Kandahar, Afghanistan (October 2021)*

Designations: N/A

Background Information: Haibatullah Akhundzada is the emir or leader of the Taliban. When Akhundzada came to power in 2016, the Taliban was divided internally. There were several competing factions, but Akhundzada unified the movement.* According to Tricia Bacon, an associate professor at American University’s School of Public Affairs, Akhundzada’s “ascension was ultimately very helpful to the Taliban in terms of unifying the organization around a leadership figure.”* After rising to power, he secured the backing of Al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri who labelled him “the emir of the faithful.”* The Taliban have social media accounts* and, in October 2021, an audio recording of a rare public appearance by Akhundzada was posted.*

The withdrawal of western forces from Afghanistan in 2021 resulted in a swift rise of the Taliban, leading the movement to take Kabul and form a government. The Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan poses a particular concern to the West as the Taliban previously provided sanctuary for al-Qaeda, allowing them to establish terrorist training camps within the country.* Al-Qaeda supporters have celebrated the Taliban’s rise to power, stating that it provides an opportunity to announce victory over the U.S.* Although the Taliban has claimed it will not provide sanctuary to jihadist groups per the condition of the U.S.-Taliban agreement of February 2020, the lack of western forces on the ground has made it difficult to ensure that promise. There is a possibility that, once the West begins to pressure the Taliban government, the group will provide sanctuary to al-Qaeda once more. Europe in particular must prepare for the influx of Afghan refugees and ensure that any humanitarian aid is tied to conditions.

Influence: After the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan in August 2021, Akhundzada was named Supreme Leader of the movement, becoming responsible for overseeing the courts and judges. Akhundzada largely tries to stay out of the public eye, but he is known as a hard-line religious scholar. While Akhundzada did take part in the Islamist resistance against the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, he is known as a religious rather than military leader.*

Deaths Attributed to Individual/Organization: Following the Taliban’s fall from power in Afghanistan in 2001, the movement created a de facto governmental order that placed Taliban members—shadow officials—in control of specific areas within Afghanistan. The Taliban used these operational areas to counter the Afghan government and repel U.S. troops deployed in the country following the al-Qaeda orchestrated 9/11 attacks.* According to April 2021 estimates, more than 71,000 civilians have been killed in the Afghanistan and Pakistan war zone since 2001.* Specifically, in the first six months of 2021, the Taliban contributed to the deaths of 699 civilians, with 1,345 others injured.* Following the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan in August 2021, media reports have suggested that the Taliban continues to target former members of the Afghan security forces as well as other officials who have opposed the Taliban in the past.*

No. 6: Sirajuddin Haqqani
Commander of the Haqqani network and Interior Minister of the Taliban

Date of Birth: 1973-1980*

Also Known As: Khalifa (The Boss), Siraj, Mohammad Siraj, Sarajadin, Cirodjiddin, Seraj, Arkani, Khalifa (Boss) Shahib, Halifa, Ahmed Zia, Sirajuddin Jallaloudine Haqqani, Siraj Haqqani, Serajuddin Haqani, Siraj Haqani, Saraj Haqani*

Last Known Location: Pakistan, Afghanistan*

Designations:

Background Information: Sirajuddin Haqqani is the son of a former warlord who was a mentor of Bin Laden and who set up the Haqqani network. Haqqani is wanted for his role in the assault on the Kabul Intercontinental Hotel* and two major suicide bombings against the Indian Embassy in 2008 and 2009.* In October 2013 Afghan forces intercepted a truck bomb deployed by the Haqqani network containing some 61,500 pounds of explosives. It was the largest truck bomb ever built.*

Haqqani led the day-to-day running of the Haqqani network along with his closest relatives.* In August 2015, Sirajuddin was named as a deputy to newly appointed Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mansur.* The Haqqani network is the most lethal and vicious element of the Taliban. They were the first element of the Taliban to embrace suicide bombings, a tactic they learned from al-Qaeda.* On September 7, 2021, following the Taliban’s August 2021 takeover of Afghanistan, Haqqani was appointed interior minister of the Taliban government, a role where he is given extensive authority over policing and legal matters.* There are concerns that, with Sirajuddin Haqqani in a leadership position within the Taliban, the organization will become more radical over time. This is indicated in a speech Sirajuddin delivered in October 2021 at a ceremony in Kabul honoring suicide bombers. During the speech, Sirajuddin labeled the bombers “martyrs” and “heroes of Islam and the country.”*

Influence: Sirajuddin holds a great amount of influence in surrounding countries. He is often called in to moderate talks between states and groups they consider a threat. In November 2021, Haqqani assisted in mediating talks between the Pakistani Taliban and the Pakistan government to aid in full ceasefire negotiations.* Due to the amount of power and influence he has, there are concerns that the Taliban may be unable to control Sirajuddin if necessary.*

Deaths Attributed to Individual/Organization: Sirajuddin proclaimed himself the mastermind of a series of suicide bombing attacks and awarded the bombers’ families $125 and a plot of land.* He also suggested that more attacks may be planned for the future. In 2008, a suicide bomber detonated his vest near an Afghan primary school, killing 16 people, including 14 children. The top NATO commander in Afghanistan, U.S. General David McKiernan blamed Sirajuddin Haqqani’s military network for the deadly attack.* In 2011, a squad of suicide bombers targeted the intercontinental hotel in Kabul, killing at least 10 people. The U.N. charged the Haqqani network with the crime.*

No. 7: Abdul-Malik al-Houthi
Leader of the Houthis

Date of Birth: 1982*

Also Known As: Abd-al-Malik Badr-al-Din al-Houthi,* Abdel Malik Al Houthi,* Abdel-Malek al-Houthi, * Abdul Malek al-Houthi, * Abdel-Malik al-Houthi, * Abdulmalek al-Houthi, * Abdulmalik al-Houthi, * Abdul Malik al Houthi, * Abdul Malik Badruddin Ameerudin Hussain al-Houthi, * Abdulmalik Bin Bader Al-Deen al-Houth, * Abu Jibril, * Sayyed Abdul-Malik Badreddin al-Houthi, * Sayyed Abdulmalik Badr Al-Din Al-Houthi *

Last Known Location: Yemen*

Designations:

  • The U.S. Department of the Treasury designated “Abdul Malik al-Houthi” as a Specially Designated National (SDN) on April 14, 2015.*
  • The U.N. Security Council Designated “Abdulmalik al-Houthi” on April 14, 2015, imposing an asset freeze, travel ban, and arms embargo.*
  • The U.S. Department of State designated “Abdul Malik al-Houthi” as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) on January 19, 2021. *

Background Information: Abdul-Malik al-Houthi is the military, spiritual, and political leader of the Houthis in Yemen. * He has served as the group’s military leader since 2004, when then-military leader Hussein Badr-al-Din al-Houthi—Abdul-Malik’s brother—was killed by Yemeni security forces. * Badr-al-Din—Abdul-Malik’s father—remained the group’s spiritual and political head until his death in 2010, at which point Abdul-Malik al-Houthi became the group’s leader in every regard.*

Since assuming military control over the Houthis in 2004, Abdul-Malik al-Houthi has commanded the Iranian-backed rebel group through numerous cycles of conflict with the Yemeni military. * He became the commander in charge of negotiations with the Yemeni government in 2007. * Following the Arab Spring in 2011, Houthi shifted his rhetoric from rants disparaging the United States and Saudi Arabia to speeches that appealed to a broad range of Yemeni citizens. His popularity grew as he began to criticize high gasoline prices and Saudi drone strikes. *

Influence: In January 2015, the Houthis overthrew President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi’S government in Sanaa, seizing government buildings and the presidential palace. * The next month, the Houthis replaced Hadi’s parliament with their interim government, the Supreme Revolutionary Committee (SRC). * By the spring of 2015, the Houthis controlled 16 Yemeni provinces in north and northwest Yemen. *

The Houthis impose their ideology on the areas of Yemen they have captured. In mid-April 2021, Houthi militants evicted 20 academics and their families from university housing in Sanaa. The Houthis reportedly seek to install academics loyal to their cause within area universities. According to media reports, the Houthis have replaced 90 percent of school principals with pro-Houthi individuals. The Houthis have also sought to inculcate hatred of the group’s enemies by printing and distributing images of dead children allegedly killed by anti-Houthi forces. Houthi propaganda also positively highlights drone strikes on Saudi Arabia and a hatred of Israel. A member of the Yemeni Teachers Syndicate has claimed the Houthis are enforcing a “policy of cultural colonialism” and the “ideology of the Khomeinist revolution in Yemen through public education,” effectively brainwashing Yemen’s children. *

Deaths Attributed to Individual/Organization: The Houthi offensive against Yemen’s international backed government has elevated the threat of disease and starvation in Yemen. According to an August 2021 U.N. report, approximately two-thirds of Yemen’s population—about 20 million people—rely on humanitarian aid, while about five million people “are one step away from succumbing to famine and the diseases that go with it.” In Houthi-controlled territories, all but one fuel station has closed, resulting in shortages and wait times as long as a month for cooking fuel. *

The Houthis began an offensive on Marib, capturing Rahabah district, on September 8, 2021. Yemen’s internationally backed government had initially recaptured the district in July, but lost control to the Houthis after heaving fighting that resulted in the death of 65 fighters from both sides. * Given the ongoing offensive, more than ten thousand civilians have been displaced, with aid workers on the ground accusing the Houthis of committing genocide in Marib province by denying civilians access to medical and humanitarian aid. * In October 2021, local authorities issued pleas to the United Nations and international aid groups to intervene before the 35,000 people living in the central Yemeni province die of starvation.*

No. 8: Ayman al-Zawahiri
Head of al-Qaeda

Date of Birth: June 19, 1951*

Also Known As: Abdul Qader Abdul Aziz Abdul Moez Al Doctor,* Abu Fatma,* Abu Mohammed,* Ahmed Fuad Salim,* Ahmad Fuad Salim,* Al Zawahiri Ayman,* Al Zawahiri Aiman Mohamed Rabi,* Al Zawahry Aiman Mohamed Rabie,* Al Zawahry Aiman Mohamed Rabi Abdel Muaz,* Al Zawahry Aiman Mohamed Robi,* Dhawahri Ayman,* Dr. Ayman al Zawahiri,* Eddaouahiri Ayman,* Nur Al Deen Abu Mohammed*

Last Known Location: Afghanistan*

Designations:

  • The United Nations listed “Aiman Muhammed Rabi al-Zawahiri” (Ayman al-Zawahiri) as an individual associated with Al-Qaida on January 25, 2001.*
  • The Rewards for Justice Program of the US Department of State is offering a reward of up to $25 million for information leading directly to the apprehension or conviction of Ayman al-Zawahiri.*

Background Information: Ayman al-Zawahiri co-founded al-Qaeda with Osama bin Laden in 1988 and has led the group since bin Laden’s assassination in 2011. Al-Zawahiri’s path to extremism began early. He joined the Muslim Brotherhood when he was a teenager before joining the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, an organization that has since merged with al-Qaeda.* Since bin Laden’s death in 2011, al-Zawahiri has maintained that the organization’s primary target is the United States, “its ally Israel, and secondly its local allies that rule our countries.”* Al-Qaeda attacks have resulted in the deaths of thousands worldwide with the most deadly event being the 9/11 attacks. Al-Zawahiri himself has been indicted by the U.S. government for his alleged role in the bombings of the U.S. Embassies in Dar es Salaam and Nairobi on August 7, 1998.*

The Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan in 2021 has been described by Rita Katz, executive director of the Site Intelligence Group, as the “biggest boost to Al-Qaeda since 9/11,”* and Bruce Hoffmann, senior fellow for counterterrorism and homeland security at the Council on Foreign Relations, said the situation is “more dangerous in 2021 than it was in 1999.”* Many of Afghanistan’s new rulers have ties to al-Qaeda, raising fears that the organization may be able to gain a foothold in the country once again.

Influence: His rhetoric is primarily heard in official videos released by al-Qaeda. He does not have any known social media accounts. In videos, he called for Muslims to attack Jews and Americans, stated the U.N. was created to control the world through an “irreligious and immoral ideology”* and urged supporters to “continue on [Bin Laden’s] path of jihad to expel the invaders from the land of Muslims and to purify it from injustice.”*

Deaths Attributed to Individual/Organization: In 1997, the U.S. State Department named al-Zawahiri as leader of the Vanguards of Conquest group—a faction of Islamic Jihad thought to have been behind the massacre of foreign tourists in Luxor the same year. Two years later he was sentenced to death in absentia by an Egyptian military court for his role in the group's many attacks. In 1999, he was indicted in a U.S court for suicide bombings carried out at the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998.*

No. 9: Shahab al-Muhajir
Current leader of ISIS-K

Date of Birth: Unknown

Also Known As: Sanaullah Ghafari, Sanaullah al-Sadiq,* Dr. Shaab Al Muhajir*

Last Known Location: Afghanistan*

Designations:

  • In November 2021, the U.S. Department of State designated al-Muhajir as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist under Executive Order 13224.*

Background Information: Prior to his association with ISIS-K, al-Muhajir (which translates to “The Migrant” in English) was a mid-level commander in the Haqqani network—an Islamist militant group affiliated with the Taliban—and a member of al-Qaeda.* After defecting to ISIS-K, who are greatly opposed to the Taliban, he quickly rose through the ranks and became its leader and head of operations in 2020.*

In June 2020, al-Muhajir was appointed to lead ISIS-Khorasan Province (or ISIS-K) which is the Afghanistan affiliate of ISIS.* The communiqué announcing his appointment referred to al-Muhajir as an experienced military leader and one of the “urban lions” of ISIS-K who had been involved in guerrilla operations and the planning of suicide attacks.* ISIS-K refers to the Taliban as “apostates” due to their “willingness to negotiate with the US, apparent pragmatism and failure to apply Islamic law with sufficient rigour.”*

Influence: Al-Muhajir is the leader and head of operations of ISIS-K. According to U.S. intelligence, al-Muhajir is “responsible for approving all ISIS-K operations throughout Afghanistan and arranging funding to conduct operations.”*

Deaths Attributed to Individual/Organization: Al-Muhajir is thought to have masterminded the 2021 Kabul airport attack, a suicide bombing in which 183 people were killed, and for which the Taliban has sworn retribution.*

No. 10: Ahmad al-Hamidawi
Secretary-general of Kata’ib Hezbollah (KH)

Date of Birth: March 25, 1974*

Also Known As: Ahmad Muhsin Faraj al-Hamidawi,* Ahmed Kadhim Raheem al-Saedi,* Ahmad Kazim Rahim al-Sa’idi,* Abu Husayn*

Last Known Location: Baghdad, Iraq*

Designations:

Background Information: Ahmad al-Hamidawi is the secretary-general of Iran-backed Iraqi militia Kata’ib Hezbollah (KH). Hamidawi reportedly joined KH in 2007, shortly after the group’s founding. * He received political, military, and intelligence training from Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and was soon promoted to the KH’s Shura Council.*

Between 2011 and 2014, Hamidawi led KH contingents in Syria where the group fought on the behalf of Bashar al-Assad. * Since returning to Iraq in 2014, Hamidawi and his fighters oversaw the Jurf Sakhar region.*

Influence: KH is an Iranian-sponsored, anti-American Shiite militia operating in Iraq with ancillary operations throughout Syria. * KH is supported by the Quds Force, the expeditionary arm of Iran’s IRGC. During the U.S.-led war in Iraq that began in 2003, KH earned a reputation for planting deadly roadside bombs and using improvised rocket-assisted mortars (IRAMs) to attack U.S. and coalition forces. * According to U.S. diplomat Ali Khedery, KH is responsible for “some of the most lethal attacks against U.S. and coalition forces throughout the [U.S.-led war in Iraq].” *

The U.S. government blames KH for leading protests at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad from December 29, 2019, to January 1, 2020, during which protesters attempted to storm the embassy. Demonstrators threw stones and torched a security post. The militia supporters withdrew from the embassy at the behest of KH leaders.*

Deaths Attributed to Individual/Organization: As a commander within KH, Hamidawi played a central role in planning attacks against American and Iraqi government security forces between 2007 and 2011.* Human Rights Watch and other organizations have accused KH of committing crimes against the local Sunni population—including kidnapping, mass illegal detention, and extortion.*

No. 11: Anjem Choudary
Islamist preacher

Date of Birth: January 18, 1967*

Also Known As: N/A

Last Known Location: United Kingdom*

Designations:

  • The U.S. Department of State designated Anjem Choudary as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist on March 30, 2017.*
  • The ISIL (Da’esh) and Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee of the U.N. Security Council designated Anjem Choudary as an associate of ISIL on October 15, 2018.*
  • The United Kingdom added Anjem Choudary to its Consolidated List of Financial Sanctions Targets on October 16, 2018.*

Background Information: Anjem Choudary is a notorious radical Islamist cleric and co-founder of al-Muhajiroun. Al-Muhajiroun is a banned Islamist organization in the U.K., which supported an extreme interpretation of Islam and advocated for the implementation of Sharia law in Muslim countries and land.*

Choudary was convicted on terrorist charges in 2016 and sentenced to five years and six months in prison following a conviction for inviting support for others to support ISIS.* In 2018, Choudary was released from a probation hotel after serving more than half his term and was spotted with an electronic bracelet near his home.* Since his release from prison, Choudary remains under observation and is forbidden from speaking publicly.* In the summer of 20201, Choudary was banned from Twitter, only five days after he created his account.*

Choudary is known to counterterrorism police as one of the most highly influential extremists and has been responsible for radicalizing countless individuals. These include the killers of soldier Lee Rigby* and Siddhartha Dhar who acted as an “executioner” for ISIS in Syria.* According to Nick Lowles, chief executive of the anti-racist group Hope Not Hate, “no other British citizen has had so much influence over so many terrorists as Choudary.”*

Due to his understanding of media communication and social media, Choudary is extremely dangerous. Before his imprisonment, he had 32,000 Twitter followers and he regularly posted statements criticising the British government and mocking moderate Muslims.* There are a number of his lectures online, including 40 hours of hateful video content. Despite being removed from YouTube in 2016, a simple Google search provides 27 links to the hate videos. In his speeches, he calls on his followers to “reject all of the MPs” and fight to “destabilise Britain.”* Choudary further made headlines in the U.K. when in 2019, the police found that convicted terrorist Usman Khan, responsible of the London Bridge terror attack in 2019, had links with Choudary’s group al-Muhajiroun.* Additionally, in October 2021, it was revealed that the killer of parliamentarian Sir David Ames was allegedly radicalized online after watching videos of the hate preacher.*

Choudary remains vocal within the extremist community. In August 2021, he urged the Taliban to impose stricter rules, including stoning adulterers, chopping off the hands of thieves and lashing individuals caught drinking alcohol.* Banned from Twitter, Choundary expresses his opinions on the encrypted social media platform Telegram.*

Influence: Between 1999 and 2016, Choudary and al-Muhajiroun were reportedly linked to almost one-quarter of the terror plots in the United Kingdom.* Authorities have noted Choudary’s influence in the failed 2004 fertilizer bomb plot, a failed 2012 plot to blow up a Territorial Army base with an explosives-filled toy car, and the 2017 London Bridge attack, among other plots. British police have identified at least 600 members of al-Muhajiroun who have been linked to terrorism. Nonetheless, a June 2019 report in British media revealed that none of these individuals were actually prosecuted for membership in al-Muhajiroun.* Choudary is also reportedly linked to some 300 individuals who have traveled to Syria to become foreign fighters for ISIS.*

Deaths Attributed to Individual/Organization: Choudary is believed to have influenced al-Muhajiroun members Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale, who in 2013 beheaded British soldier Fusilier Lee Rigby in southeast London.* Choudary also reportedly radicalized Abdul Latheef Mohamed Jameel, one of the nine suicide bombers who blew himself up in Sri Lanka on April 21, 2019, killing more than 250 people during the Easter Sunday attacks.*

No. 12: Yusuf al-Qaradawi
Islamist theologian and unofficial chief ideologue of the Muslim Brotherhood

Date of Birth: September 9, 1926*

Also Known As: Yousuf Al-Qaradhawi*

Last Known Location: Doha, Qatar*

Designations:

Background Information: Born in 1926, Yusuf al-Qaradawi is an Islamist theologian and the unofficial chief ideologue of the Muslim Brotherhood, a transnational Sunni Islamist movement that seeks to implement sharia* under a global caliphate. Qaradawi is a vocal antisemite who preaches anti-Western propaganda and his radical Islamist ideology. His rhetoric and his militant ruling on the laws of Islam (known as fatwas) demean women and promote violence against non-Muslims, demonstrating his support for terrorism and extremism.

Qaradawi is a proponent of suicide bombings, saying “martyrdom operations in which a given Muslim fighter turns himself or herself into a human bomb that casts terror in the hearts of the enemy.”* In 2005, he called suicide bombings in Iraq and Israel a “duty”* and has repeatedly urged Muslims to financially support Islamic fighters. In addition to supporting physical acts of extremism, Qaradawi is renowned for his violent rhetoric. Qaradawi has issued a number of fatwas encouraging attacks on Jewish people and on the Arabic news network Al Jazeera, he stated in 2009: “Oh God, take Your enemies, the enemies of Islam, oh God take the treacherous Jewish aggressors, oh God count their numbers, slay them one by one and spare none.”* In 2018, Qaradawi was sentenced in absentia by an Egyptian military court to life.*

Influence: Qaradawi has gained eminence throughout the Muslim world by serving as the chairman of numerous Islamic organizations and operating on a variety of media platforms. His danger comes from his popularity in Qatar and across the Middle East, which stems from his position as chief ideologue of the Muslim Brotherhood. The most notable and lethal Brotherhood offshoot is Hamas, the Palestinian terror group operating out of the Gaza Strip. Some analysts also argue that the Brotherhood has served as the ideological forerunner of modern violent Islamist groups such as al-Qaeda and ISIS. Qaradawi maintains close relations with the leadership of Qatar, which has refused international demands to extradite the cleric.*

Deaths Attributed to Individual/Organization: On January 17, 2018, an Egyptian military court sentenced Qaradawi in absentia to life in prison on charges of incitement to murder, spreading false news, and vandalizing public property in relation to the 2015 death of an Egyptian police officer.*

No. 13: James Mason
American Neo-Nazi

Date of Birth: July 25, 1952

Also Known As: N/A

Last Known Location: Colorado, USA

Designations:

Background Information: James Mason is a prominent American neo-Nazi,* white supremacist and acolyte of cult leader Charles Manson.* Mason encourages the merciless killing of all individuals unwilling to subscribe to his ideology and supports “lone wolves” to strike whenever they can.* Mason has a considerable influence in white supremacy groups and shares some ideological underpinnings with the neo-Nazi Atomwaffen Division and The Base.* Members of the Atomwaffen Division have been charged with numerous counts of murder, terrorism, and hate-related crimes. Recently, the FBI arrested 26 members of the Division who were planning a coordinated attack to terrorise members of the media.*

Influence: Mason’s 1992 book Siege, an anthology of violent pro-Nazi and pro-Manson essays he wrote in the 1980s, has inspired a generation of white supremacists who have formed an online subculture devoted to the promotion of Mason, his writings, and Charles Manson. Siege promotes the creation of autonomous terror cells to fight against “the system.” Recently, in a live debate on evangelist Bob Larson’s YouTube channel, Mason was vocally antisemitic, denied the Holocaust, and supported acts of violence in the name of Nazism.* The video was viewed over 9,200 times and has yet to be removed by YouTube, once again highlighting how easily his poisonous views can spread. Mason continues to purport his views across many platforms, radicalizing countless neo-Nazi’s—making him an extremely dangerous individual.

Deaths Attributed to Individual/Organization: The white supremacist terrorists who committed horrific attacks in New Zealand, Norway, and Pennsylvania were influenced by Mason’s book and his views, resulting in the deaths of hundreds of innocent people.*

No. 14: Stefan Molyneux
Canadian far-right nationalist and white supremacist

Date of Birth: N/A

Also Known As: N/A

Last Known Location: Ontario, Canada

Designations: N/A

Background Information: Stefan Molyneux is a Canadian-Irish, far-right nationalist, antisemite, and leader in the alt-right movement. Molyneux promotes scientific racism which is the belief that there is empirical evidence suggesting the superiority of white people over non-white individuals.* Molyneux is also an avid promoter of eugenics, antisemitism, and misogyny.*

Molyneux regularly calls for extreme violence and has been banned from PayPal, Mailchimp, YouTube, Twitter, and SoundCloud, all for violating hate speech policies.* In addition to believing and promoting that the Holocaust never happened, Molyneux uses his platform to glorify the South African Apartheid and the Transatlantic slave trade as well as to demonize social justice leaders such as Martin Luther King Jr. Indeed, he has repeatedly said that non-white human beings were racially and genetically inferior to white individuals.*

Influence: An effective communicator, Molyneux has been able to use social media and online platforms to spread his alt-right, anti-system, disinformation rhetoric.* Before being banned from most social media platforms, Molyneux had a considerable viewership and 900,000+ subscribers on YouTube alone.* Molyneux is still on Facebook and Instagram. His rapid rise highlights the growing strength of the alt-right movement and how quickly their messages of hate can spread and radicalize.

Deaths Attributed to Individual/Organization: N/A

No. 15: Ismail al-Wahwah
Islamist cleric and leader of the Australia chapter of the international Islamist

Date of Birth: Unknown

Also Known As: Abu Anas*

Last Known Location: Jordan (prison)*

Designations: N/A

Background Information: Ismail al-Wahwah is the leader of the Australia chapter of the international Islamist organization Hizb ut-Tahrir (HT). The party believes that Muslims who have renounced Islam must be executed, that the segregation of genders is fundamental and that using violence against so-called enemies of Islam is righteous and justified.* HT members have been linked to violent acts in multiple countries and former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has accused the group of nurturing “extremism in our suburbs.” The group itself has been banned in at least 13 countries,* including many Muslim-majority countries. Many HT members have joined ISIS ranks.*

Al-Wahwah believes Australia is part of a U.S.-led “crusader invasion” targeting the Muslim world. He justified the January 2015 attacks on French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo as “a cure” for relieving pressure caused by “daily humiliation” of Muslims and “insults to their book and prophet.” Al-Wahwah has also been seen at past HT events with Man Haron Monis, the Islamist who took more than a dozen people hostage at a Sydney café in December 2014.*

Al-Wahwah espouses violent rhetoric and has claimed the the world “deserves'' an Islamic caliphate. His fiery views have been anti-Western, antisemitic, and anti-capitalistic.* Additionally, he has called Jewish people “the most evil creatures of Allah” and has warned Israel that “the day will come when [they] cry blood.”*

Al-Wahwah was arrested in 2018 in Jordan and was moved to a maximum security prison.* In April 2019, al-Wahwah was released from prison and later spoke at a rally in support of Palestinians in Sydney in May 2021.*

Influence: Despite al-Wahwah’s violent and extremist propaganda, he benefits from strong support in Australia. Groups of his supporters protested against his imprisonment in Sydney and Canberra.* In addition, a Change.org petition calling for his release boasted more than 7,000 signatures.* His platform and his capacity to spread hate is extensive, making him a dangerous individual. In the current climate in Australia, with the rise of right-wing extremism as well as Islamist extremism, such radical propaganda is extremely dangerous. Due to the tumultuous climate in Australia, the head of their domestic intelligence agency has warned that they are anticipating a terrorist attack in Australia in the months to come.*

Deaths Attributed to Individual/Organization: HT calls for unifying Muslim-majority countries under a single, global caliphate, while not advocating violence directly. However, individuals associated with HT have been involved in violent acts. In 2015, Bangladeshi police arrested Islamist blogger Farabi Shafiur Rahman in connection with the February 26, 2015, murder of atheist writer Avijit Roy. Police accused Rahman of belonging to HT and threatening over social media to kill Roy prior to his murder in a knife attack. In 2014, Iranian-born Australian Man Haron Monis took more than a dozen people hostage at Sydney’s Lindt Chocolat Café.* Monis and two hostages were killed after a 16-hour standoff with police. Monis had attended a June 2014 HT lecture on the failings of the West.*

No. 16: Tooba Gondal
ISIS member and jihadi-bride fixer

Date of Birth: 1994*

Also Known As: “ISIS Matchmaker,”* Umm Muthanna Al-Britaniyah*

Last Known Location: France*

Designations: N/A

Background Information: Tooba Gondal is an infamous ISIS matchmaker who recruited a number of high-profile “jihadi brides” for ISIS militants in Syria. Gondal used social media platforms, in particular Twitter, to groom and lure young women to make the trip to Syria and do their so-called duty as Muslim girls. Gondal reportedly recruited British citizen Shamima Begum,* whom she lured through social media. Gondal allegedly organized the financial sponsorship of British girls such as Begum.* Begum left the U.K. when she was 15 and was famously stripped of her citizenship by the then Home Secretary Sajid Javid in 2019.*

While in Syria, Gondal allegedly undertook weapons training. However, following her capture by Kurdish-led forces and eventual deportation to France from Turkey in 2019, she claims to have foregone her extremist beliefs and seeks to return to the United Kingdom.* Despite being detained in France, Gondal is an extremely dangerous individual, able to use social media to spread hate and recruit potential ISIS fighters. From late-2014 to mid-2016, she spent a lot of time on social media berating women who she considered “impious” and glorifying terrorist attacks. After the horrific Paris attacks in 2015, she even posted on Twitter that she “wished” she had been in the Bataclan to see the hostages “being slaughtered.”*

In September 2019, Gondal told journalists she was a changed person and wished to help prevent “vulnerable Muslims from being targeted and radicalised.”* However, her level of radicalization a few years ago indicates that she must remain on watch-lists due to her capacity to spread Islamic propaganda.

Influence: Gondal was responsible for grooming “jihadi brides” with propaganda, including the notorious Shamima Begum. Gondal allegedly organized the financial sponsorship of British girls who fled to Syria to become “jihadi brides.”

Death Attributed to Individual/Organization: Gondal has not been associated with any deaths. However, all three of her late husbands were involved in ISIS activities, including a suicide bombing.* Kadiza Sultana, one of the English schoolgirls who was groomed by Gondal and joined ISIS with Shamima Begum, married an American ISIS fighter and was killed after her house in Raqqa was bombed. The fate of the third schoolgirl Amira Abase, who Shamima Begum said married an Australian ISIS militant, is unknown.*

No. 17: Simon Lindberg
Leader of NRM-Sweden

Date of Birth: Unknown

Also Known As: N/A

Last Known Location: Sweden

Designations:

Background Information: Simon Lindberg is a neo-Nazi, white nationalist, and the leader of the Swedish chapter of the Nordic Resistance Movement (NRM). The NRM subscribes to a nationalist socialist, or neo-Nazi, ideology that is decidedly antisemitic, anti-gay, anti-immigrant, pro-white, and pro-Hitler. The NRM has held numerous anti-immigration rallies, and has hung signs throughout Sweden, Finland, and Norway reading “Refugees Are Not Welcome.”*

NRM members are known to have carried out attacks against the LGBTQI+ community, Muslim asylum seekers and political opponents, using smoking flares, tear gas, knives, and guns. Since the 1980s, NRM members have killed at least 3 people. In a 2016 interview with NRM-Sweden leader Simon Lindberg, Lindberg said that he joined the group because its members were “strong in the streets, they dare to fight back the scum.” Lindberg has used social media platforms to spread conspiracy theories and hate propaganda and has exploited the pandemic to his own advantage, writing on his website “Covid-19 might be precisely what we need in order to bring about a real national uprising and a strengthening of revolutionary political forces.”*

Lindberg has claimed that Hitler had “freed Germany from the globalists and the bankers that have a grip over Sweden today” and branded the Holocaust as “probably the biggest lie in history.” After the deadly white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, Lindberg congratulated the perpetrators and urged the U.S. far right to build more coordinated networks resembling the transnational connections in Europe.* In 2017, he organized a march on the day of Yom Kippur and held a particularly hateful speech. During the rally, clashes occurred between neo-Nazis and anti-fascists, leading to the injury of two and the arrest of 20.* His speeches are regularly viewed by thousands who then perpetrate violent actions against the Muslim and Jewish community. For example, in 2018, NRM-Sweden members assaulted two pro-Israel activists from the Israel-Sweden Friendship Association at the Gotland festival in Sweden.*

Influence: Since the start of 2015, NRM’s branch in Sweden (NRM-Sweden) has grown more than one-third in size by advocating against Sweden’s open-door policy to Muslim asylum seekers. That chapter registered as a political party in July 2015, and held its largest rally in September 2017—convening more than 600 demonstrators in the streets of Gothenburg.* Many of the NRM’s co-founders and early members came from the now-defunct White Aryan Resistance (Vitt Ariskt Motstand, or VAM) and its offshoot National Youth (Nationell Ungdom). The VAM, a network of Swedish neo-Nazis formed in the early 1990s, was notorious for carrying out attacks against immigrants and gay people and for funding its violence through bank robberies. The group splintered into several white-power groups in or around 1995, among them National Youth, which would go on to serve as the NRM’s youth movement.*

Under Lindberg’s leadership, the NRM has vastly expanded its propaganda network and created 19 additional Swedish-language podcasts and web TV channels.* In addition, there are between 300,000 and 400,000 unique visitors per month on the NRM’s website. Despite his Twitter account being suspended, Lindberg’s capacity for harm is considerable, making him an extremely dangerous individual.

Deaths Attributed to Individual/Organization: Since the 1980s, NRM members have killed at least three people in 1986, 1999, and 2016.* In 2017, the European NGO Expo found that a quarter of NRM's members had been convicted of violent crime.*

No. 18: Ahlam Ahmad al-Tamimi
One of the FBI’s most wanted terrorists, member of Hamas

Date of Birth: 1980*

Also Known As: Ahlam Aref Ahmad Al-Tamimi,* Ahlam Arafat Mazin Al Tamimi,* Ahlam Arif Ahmad Al Tamimi,* Ahlam Aref Ahmad Altamimi,* Ahlam Arif Ahmad Altamimi,* Ahlam Araf Ahmad Tamimi,* Ahlam Aref Ahmad Tamimi,* Ahlam Aref Ahmad Al-Tamimi,* Ahlam Aref Ahmed Tamimi,* Ahlam Mazen At-Tamimi,* Ahlam Tamimi,* Ihlam Araf Ahmad Tamimi,* Achlam Tamimmi, Ahlam Araf Ahmed Tmimi,* “Halati,”* “Khalti”*

Last Known Location: Jordan*

Designations:

Background Information : Ahlam Ahmad al-Tamimi is a Palestinian terrorist and member of the terrorist organization Hamas. Hamas is a Palestinian fundamentalist and nationalist militant movement. Dozens of countries have designated the group as a terrorist organization due to violent attacks launched against Israel.* The objective of Hamas is to “liberate Palestine from Israeli occupation” and as a result, Hamas has attacked Israel a number of times since its creation through suicide bombings and more recently, rocket firing. Al-Tamimi was convicted for her role in the 2001 Sbarro bombing in Jerusalem that killed 15 and wounded 130, including two Americans.* However, al-Tamimi was released from prison in 2011 in a prisoner swap. Given her role in Hamas, al-Tamimi is on the FBI’s most wanted terrorists list for conspiring to use and using a weapon of mass destruction against an American national outside the United States resulting in death. The U.S. is also ready to award $5 million for her capture.* The United States continues to negotiate with Jordan for al-Tamimi’s extradition to the United States.*

Influence: After her release from prison, al-Tamimi hosted for five years a weekly talk show about Palestinian prisoners in Israel* and has recently started writing an influential newspaper column.

Death Attributed to Individual/Organization: Tamimi was involved in the Sbarro restaurant bombing in 2001 in Jerusalem which killed 15 people and wounded another 130, including two American.* Unrepentant for her actions, al-Tamimi has exploited media platforms to promote violence against Jewish people, Israel, and its allies. In an interview, al-Tamimi even went so far as to say, “I would do it again today and in the same manner.”*

No. 19: Ahmed Umar Abu Ubaidah
Leader of al-Shabaab

Date of Birth: 1972*

Also Known As: Abu Diriye,* Abu Ubaidah,* Abu Ubeydah,* Ahmad Umar,* Ahmad Umar Abu Ubaidah,* Ahmed Diriye, Ahmed Omar Abu Ubaidah,* Mahad Diriye,* Sheikh Ahmed Umar,* Sheikh Ahmad Umar Abu Ubaidah,* Sheikh Ahmed Umar Abu Ubaidah,* Sheikh Mahad Omar Abdikarim,* Sheikh Omar Abu Ubaidaha*

Last Known Location: Somalia*

Designations:

  • The U.N. Security Council Committee added Ahmed Diriye to its list of individuals and entities subject to travel ban, asset freeze, and targeted arms embargo on September 24, 2014.
  • In October 2014, the European Union announced that Ahmed Umar Abu Ubaidah was added to the list of persons subject to restrictive measures.*
  • The U.S. Department of the Treasury designated Ahmed Diriye as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist on April 21, 2015.*

Background Information: Ahmed Umar Abu Ubaidah is the internationally designated emir of the Somali terror group al-Shabaab.* In November 2019, Abu Ubaidah named the United States as the group’s primary target and urged his supporters to attack Americans wherever they could.* Under al-Shabaab’s strict brand of sharia, stonings, amputations, and beheadings are regular punishment for criminals and apostates. The group violently persecutes non-Muslims and clashes frequently with humanitarian and international aid workers.* The U.S. has offered a reward of up to $6 million for information leading to Abu Ubaidah’s capture.*

As the head of al-Shabaab, Abu Ubaidah has organized and authorized a series of violent attacks in Somalia and its neighboring countries.* Al-Shabaab pledged allegiance to al-Qaeda in 2012* and is suspected of having strong links to the Central-African terrorist organization Boko Haram.* Boko Haram kidnapped 276 schoolgirls in Nigeria in 2014, and according to the Global Terrorism Index, the jihadist group was one of the world’s deadliest terrorist groups in the mid-2010s.*

Abu Ubaidah has also threatened western countries in a series of videos posted by the terrorist group. Recently, in a video released in March 2021, Abu Ubaidah called for attacks on American and French interests in Djibouti.* Abu Ubaidah accused Djibouti’s president Ismail Omar Guellef of turning Djibouti into a “military base from which every war against the Muslims in East Africa is planned and executed.” Abu Ubaidah has threatened the 1450 French soldiers present in the country and also warned Somalia that if it was to have its presidential elections, there would be violent reprisals.*

Influence: Abu Ubaidah is believed to hold the view that al-Shabaab is more than a Somali nationalist movement and instead is one front in al-Qaeda’s global jihad.* As al-Shabaab’s emir, Abu Ubaidah exercises responsibility for al-Shabaab’s operations and is directly responsible for the group’s activities which continue to threaten the peace, security, and stability of Somalia. Al-Shabaab continues to pose a serious threat to Somalia and neighboring countries, with experts at the International Crisis Group believing the Somali government will collapse if the African Union peacekeeping mission is ended.*

Deaths Attributed to Individual/Organization: Al-Shabaab was responsible for the April 2015 Garissa University attacks wherein five al-Shabaab fighters stormed into a Kenyan university and killed nearly 150 people.* In 2017, the group was also credited with the bomb attack of a truck which killed over 300 people in Mogadishu, Somalia’s worst terror attack to date.*

No. 20: Tommy Robinson
British far-right, anti-Islam activist, and convicted criminal

Date of Birth: Unknown

Also Known As: Stephen Christopher Yaxley-Lennon*

Last Known Location: United Kingdom*

Designations: N/A

Background Information: Tommy Robinson is the former leader of anti-Islam group the English Defence League (EDL), which he founded in 2009.* The EDL believes that British society is under attack by Muslim extremists.* Since 2009, the group has held what British media has routinely referred to as “aggressive rallies” across England. Robinson has repeatedly targeted Muslims in online posts on his social media accounts and during rallies and demonstrations.*

Robinson was charged and convicted for having filmed the inside of the Canterbury Vrown court and posted prejudicial statements against Muslim defendants, calling them “Muslim child rapists,” while the jury was deliberating.* As of 2021, the EDL website was shut down and its various social media accounts suspended by digital platforms. Despite this, Robinson continues to appear in the media frequently due to his violent rhetoric. Recently, he was sentenced to pay £100,000 in libel damages to a Syrian schoolboy for having claimed on social media that the boy had “violently attacked young English girls in his school.”* Much of Robinson and the EDL’s rhetoric is completely unfounded and based on disinformation.

Influence: Tommy Robinson was appointed as an adviser to the right-wing U.K. Independence Party in 2018. The decision was criticized by former UKIP leader Nigel Farage who claimed, “[the decision] goes against all the things I did as leader to say we will talk about immigration, we will talk about the extreme forms of Islam. But, we will do it as a non-racist, non-sectarian party. This blows a hole in all of that.”*

Death Attributed to Individual/Organization: In 2017, it is believed that Robinson was in contact with the Finsbury Park attacker, Darren Osbourne. Osbourne was radicalized in just four weeks after consuming propaganda from Robinson and the EDL. Robinson allegedly told Osbourne that it was “now left to us, the ordinary people of the United Kingdom, to stand up to hate, to unite and in one voice say ‘no more’.” Osbourne drove his car into a group of people outside the Finsbury Park mosque shortly after, killing an elderly man and injuring nine others.*

Daily Dose

Extremists: Their Words. Their Actions.

In Their Own Words:

We are strict followers of the worldview established by our Führer, Adolf Hitler. While solely based in the United States, we support the overthrow of all Jew-controlled governments worldwide in order to liberate the Aryan race.

National Socialist Order (NSO), NSO Website Jan. 2022
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