Abu Qatada al-Filistini

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Abu Qatada al-Filistini (1960-), born in the West Bank of Palestine/Jordan as Uthman Omar Mahmoud, is a Salafist Muslim cleric who now lives in the U.K., freed from detention but under restriction. [1] He has written that Muslims have individual obligation to overthrow and expel any secular government from Muslim lands through violent means (bombings, sabotage, or terror) to advance the implementation of the shari'a. He has been reported as a member of the al-Qaeda Fatwa Committee. [2] The U.N. Security Council has named him as the “spiritual ambassador in Europe to Osama bin Laden

United Nations Security Council Resolution 1333, named him, on October 17, 2001 as linked to “Usama bin Laden and individuals and entities associated with him” for “participating in the financing, planning, facilitating, preparing or perpetrating of acts or activities by, in conjunction with, under the name of, on behalf or in support of” Al Qa’ida/Islamic Army (QE.A.4.01), the Armed Islamic Group (GIA) (QE.A.6.01), the Salafist Group for Call and Combat (GSPC), presently listed as the organization of Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (QE.T.14.01), and Al-Jihad/Egyptian Islamic Movement (QE.A.3.01).[3] He had been arrested and released by British authorities in 2002 and 2008. CNN reports he came to the UK in September 1993 on a forged passport from the United Arab Emirates. He had been in Peshawar, Pakistan in 1990, where he attracted many followers before going into Afghanistan in 1992 after fighting had ended in Kabul [4].

Obtaining asylum in the U.K. in 1994, he focused on the Algerian jihad, preaching and writing from London in support of the Groupe Islamique Armé (GIA). In 1996, however, he broke ties with the GIA, Abu Qatada denounced the group as “innovators” at a time when they were under intense criticism for treatment of civilians.

According to the UN Security Council, "he provided financial assistance to Bin Laden’s associates in Amman, Jordan. He was twice convicted in absentia in Jordan for involvement in terrorist attacks there in March and April 1998 and in relation to a plot to plant bombs to coincide with the millennium. He faced a 15-year prison term."[3]


  1. Raffaello Pantucci (July 10, 2008), "Abu Qatada’s Comfortable British Jihad", Terrorism Monitor, Jamestown Foundation
  2. Brian Drinkwine (January 26, 2009), "The Serpent in Our Garden: Al-Qa'ida and the Long War", Carlisle Papers, Strategic Studies Institute, U.S. Army War College, p. 7
  3. 3.0 3.1 Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 1267 (1999) concerning Al-Qaida and the Taliban and Associated Individuals and Entities, Narrative Summaries of Reasons for Listing: QI.M.31.01. Ithman Omar Mahmoud
  4. CNN, November 3, 2001, quoted in Pantucci