Hani al-Sibai

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Hani al-Sibai
Born 1961 (age 54–55)
Other names


  • Arabic: هاني السباعي‎‎
  • Hani Mohammed Yusuf al-Siba'i
  • هاني محمد يوسف السباعي
  • Hani al-Said al-Siba'i Yusuf
  • هاني السيد السباعي يوسف
Known for Convicted of terrorism in absentia

Hani Mohammed Yusuf al-Siba'i (هاني محمد يوسف السباعي) (born 1 March 1961, Qaylubiyah, Egypt) is an Egyptian Islamic scholar who was a member of Egyptian Islamic Jihad and now lives in London as a political refugee. Efforts to deport him have failed.[1][2][3] He is a supporter of al-Qaeda and is used as a scholarly reference by the movement. The leader of al-Qaeda, Ayman al-Zawahiri, listed him as one of four scholars that Muslims worldwide should follow, alongside Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi, Abu Qatada and Dr. Tariq Abdulhaleem.


al-Sibai arrived in Britain in 1994 claiming that he had been tortured by the Egyptian police because he represented Islamist clients. His claim for asylum was rejected in 1998 and he was later arrested on terrorism charges but the charges were dropped.[4]

He sought and was granted refugee status in the United Kingdom prior to his 1998 arrest in connection with Operation Challenge. He was accused of membership in the terrorist group Egyptian Islamic Jihad.[5][6]

It was his defence of Islamists, that got him into trouble with the Egyptian government. Egypt prosecutors were able to prove in court that he was one of the fourteen members of the shura of Egyptian Islamic Jihad.[when?] Egyptian authorities convicted him in absentia in the 1999 case of the Returnees from Albania and sentenced him to 15 years imprisonment.

al-Sibai has appeared on Arab TV stations including al-Jazeera where, on the day after the July 7 bombings in London, he expressed his support for the September 11 attacks.[4]

In September 2005, he was one of seven Egyptians whose names were added to the UN 1267 Committee's list of banned individuals.[7] A few days later he was added to the list of Specially Designated Nationals maintained by the US Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control, as a supporter of al-Qaeda or an allied group.[8]

In 2009 and 2010, al-Sebai was, along with others subject to Treasury Control Orders, a participant in HM Treasury v Ahmed. Their joint victory in the Supreme Court forced the government of Gordon Brown to create the Terrorist Asset-Freezing (Temporary Provisions) Act 2010. The court deemed the TCOs, which had been issued as the result of a UN directive, to be ultra vires, because the executive could not delegate powers to the UN (later to be returned in the directive) which it had not been granted by Parliament.

In 2013, an organiser of Ansar al-Sharia (Tunisia) cited al-Sibai as one of five influential thinkers from whom the terrorists in Tunisia obtain their encouragement:[9] "Sheikh Hani Sabahi is also respected in our movement. We have a steady contact with him and he is very sympathetic to our experience."[10]

In March 2015, Hani Al-Seba'i was cut off from a live television interview with Lebanese reporter Rima Karaki, after he told her to “shut up” and said “It’s beneath me to be interviewed by you. You are a human who …”. The interview went viral shortly after being released, with the word "human" being mistranslated into "woman" in the subtitles, causing public outrage over his supposedly sexist comment.[11] The video was viewed by more than five million viewers on YouTube within a week.[12][13]


  1. ^ Canadian Security Intelligence Service, Summary of the Security Intelligence Report concerning Mahmoud Jaballah, 22 February 2008. Appendix A.
  2. ^ telegraph.co.uk: "Cleric said to be behind Tunisian beach massacre is living on benefits in Britain", 6 Jul 2015
  3. ^ dailymail.co.uk: "Living here on £50,000 benefits, the hate preacher who inspired Tunisian beach killer: Cleric lives in five-bedroom home with wife and five children after thwarting deportation attempts for 15 years", 5 Jul 2015
  4. ^ a b telegraph.co.uk: "The five alleged terorists whose assets were frozen", 27 Jan 2010
  5. ^ Mohammed Al Shafey (2005-12-10). "Inside Britain's Gitmo". Asharq Alawsat. Retrieved 2010-10-06. Hani al Sibai, an Egyptian, who spent 9 months behind bars in the high-security jail after being arrested during Operation Challenge in 1998, where the Metropolitan Police detained a number of Muslim figures affiliated with Islamic Jihad, told Asharq al Awsat that he spent 28 days on hunger strike in protest of the ill-treatment to which he was subjected.  mirror
  6. ^ "Operation Challenge". makingsenseofjihad.com. Retrieved 2010-10-06. The fundamentalist leaders in the capital, London, have forgotten their basic differences and have temporarily united in the demonstration scheduled outside 10 Downing Street -- the British prime minister's office -- for Friday 12 March, in protest against the continued detention of five fundamentalists (believed to be members of the armed Jihad organization) in the Belmarsh jail in southeast London, following the 28 September 1998 raids carried out by Scotland Yard in conjunction with British intelligence as part of Operation Challenge. These are Sayyid Ahmad 'Abd-al-Maqsud, Ibrahim 'Aydarus, Hani al-Siba'i, Sayyid 'Ajami Mu'awwad, and Usamah Hasan.  mirror
  7. ^ UN list of affiliates of al-Qaeda and the Taliban
  8. ^ US Treasury banned entity list
  9. ^ "Ansar al-Sharia Tunisia's Long Game: Dawa, Hisba, and Jihad" (PDF). icct.nl. May 2013. 
  10. ^ "Salafism in Tunisia: An Interview with a Member of Ansar al-Sharia". jadaliyya.com. 11 April 2013. 
  11. ^ Lebanese TV presenter cuts short interview with Islamist scholar
  12. ^ http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/mar/09/lebanese-tv-presenter-cuts-short-interview-with-sexist-islamist-scholar
  13. ^ Watch Lebanese TV host cut off an interview after sexist comments