Ali al-Tamimi

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Ali Al-Tamimi
Born (1963-12-14) December 14, 1963 (age 52)
Washington, DC
Other names Ali Bani Tamim; Ali Al-Timimi
Occupation Biologist and Islamic teacher
Criminal charge 10 counts, including soliciting others to levy war against the United States, and contributing services to the Taliban.
Criminal penalty Life sentence
Criminal status In prison
Conviction(s) As charged

Ali Al-Tamimi (also Ali Al-Timimi; born December 14, 1963 in Washington, DC) is a former Fairfax County resident, biologist, and Islamic teacher [1] who was subsequently convicted of inciting terrorism in connection with the Virginia Jihad Network and sentenced to life imprisonment.[1][2][3]

Early life[edit]

Al-Tamimi grew up in the metropolitan Washington area.[1] His father, a lawyer, worked at the Iraqi embassy, and his mother was a psychologist. When he was 15 his family moved to Saudi Arabia, where he became interested in Islam. On returning to the U.S. two years later, he attended The George Washington University and the University of Maryland, College Park. In 2004 he received a doctorate in computational biology from George Mason University on the topic of "Chaos and Complexity in Cancer". al-Tamimi is a Salafi.[4]

Work and Islamic activities[edit]

Ali Al-Tamimi worked at an IT company named Xpedior, Inc. Clients he provided service to included America Online (AOL). He reportedly worked for two months for Andrew Card, former Chief of Staff (2000–2006) of the George W. Bush Whitehouse, while Card was Secretary of Transportation under George H. Bush (1992–93). In the early 1990s, Al-Tamimi led a five-person delegation from the Islamic Assembly of North America in the United Nations 4th World Conference on Women, held in Beijing, China.[citation needed] Al-Tamimi contacted Shaikh Abdel Rahaman Abdel Khaliq, who wrote a book about women in Islam, which Al-Tamimi translated into English.[citation needed] He was a lecturer at the Center for Islamic Information and Education in Falls Church, Virginia.[1] He was a founding member of the Center, which is also known as Dar al-Arqam. In late 2002, former imam and suspected al-Qaeda member Anwar al-Awlaki visited al-Timimi and inquired about recruiting men for "violent jihad.".[5][6]

Trial and sentencing[edit]

Prior to al-Tamimi's prosecution, nine members of the Virginia Jihad Network were convicted on charges related to their participation in a terrorist enterprise, including engaging in paramilitary training. Tamimi had been named as an unindicted co-conspirator in that case.[1] According to court papers, he said on September 16, 2001, that his followers should "go abroad and join the mujaheddin engaged in violent jihad in Afghanistan."[1][7] Many attendees at that meeting began military training both in the United States and in terrorist training camps overseas.[1]

After the conclusion of the Virginia Jihad Network trials, prosecutors tried al-Tamimi for encouraging the Virginia Jihad Network wage jihad in India and the U.S.[1] The case before U.S. District (Eastern District of Virginia) Judge Leonie M. Brinkema was on 10 counts, including enlisting people to wage war against the United States and providing services to the Taliban.[1] Al-Tamimi's defense lawyers argued his case was an attack on the freedom of speech and religious freedom, arguing that their client only told young Muslims that it might be better to immigrate from the United States to better practice their faith.[8]

The jury convicted him on all 10 counts after a week of deliberation in April 2005.[1] He was sentenced on July 14, 2005, to life imprisonment.[1] In sentencing him, Judge Brinkema said "I don't think any well-read person can doubt the truth that terrorist camps are a crucial part of the new terrorism that is perpetrated in the world today. People of good will need to do whatever they can to stop that."[1]

While many Muslim leaders criticized the verdict, Free Muslims Against Terrorism, a new American organization, issued a press release applauding his conviction, and Kamal Nawash, its president said "By categorizing every conviction against every Muslim as a witch hunt, American Muslim leaders are closing their eyes to the sad fact that we have a problem with extremism, and that Muslims are the only ones that can defeat extremist ideologies from the Muslim community."[9]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Markon, Jerry (July 14, 2005). "Muslim Lecturer Sentenced To Life; Followers Trained For Armed Jihad". The Washington Post. Retrieved March 3, 2010. 
  2. ^ Mounir al Mawry (July 15, 2005). "Loading". Retrieved March 6, 2010. 
  3. ^ "Terror defendant allegedly trained for Taliban after 9/11". USA Today. February 13, 2004. Retrieved March 6, 2010. 
  4. ^ Bowen, Innes (2014-08-15). Medina in Birmingham, Najaf in Brent: Inside British Islam. Hurst. ISBN 9781849045308. 
  5. ^ Schmidt, Susan; Imam From Va. Mosque Now Thought to Have Aided Al-Qaeda; The Washington Post, February 27, 2008. p. 3. Retrieved November 20, 2009.
  6. ^ Rhee, Joseph (November 30, 2009). "How Anwar Awlaki Got Away; U.S. Attorney's Decision to Cancel Arrest Warrant "Shocked" Terrorism Investigators". ABC News. Retrieved December 1, 2009. 
  7. ^ ''The Next Attack: The Failure of the War on Terror and a Strategy for Getting It Right'', Daniel Benjamin, Steven Simon, Macmillan, 2006, ISBN 0-8050-8133-X, accessed March 3, 2010. Google Books. September 11, 2001. Retrieved April 29, 2010. 
  8. ^ Goodman, Amy (July 14, 2005). "HEADLINES JULY 14, 2005". Democracy Now. Retrieved March 18, 2015. 
  9. ^ ''Fatal Distraction: The War on Drugs in the Age of Islamic Terror'', Arnold S. Trebach, Unlimited Publishing LLC, 2006, ISBN 1-58832-141-X, March 3, 2010. Google Books. Retrieved April 29, 2010.