Noman Benotman is Quilliam’s President and is an Executive Board Member.
He leads Quilliam’s work on de-radicalisation processes in the UK and abroad, working to raise international awareness of Jihadist recantations, co-ordinating Quilliam’s outreach to current and former extremists and using Quilliam as a platform from which to share his inside knowledge of al-Qaeda and other Jihadist groups with a wider audience.
He also heads our current research programmes.
Born in Libya in 1967, Noman Benotman first adopted radical Islamism in the mid-1980s after reading the books of Sayyid Qutb. In 1989 he travelled to Afghanistan where he fought against the Soviet Union, taking part in battles around Khost, Gardez and elsewhere. After the Soviet withdrawal, he helped set up the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group which aimed to violently overthrow Colonel Gaddafi and establish an ‘Islamic state’ in Libya. In 1994, he moved to Sudan where he forged close links with Osama bin Laden, Ayman al-Zawahiri and other key members of al-Qaeda. Since 1995 he has lived in London where he was initially part of the ‘Londonistan’ scene alongside other senior extremists such as Abu Qatada and Abu Musab al-Suri before gradually distancing himself from Islamism.
During the last few years, he has played a key role in the disbanding of the LIFG and the issuing of its ‘refutations’. He is also well known as one of the most public critics of al-Qaeda, appearing widely on international media such as CNN and al-Jazeera as well as taking part in a range of international conferences. He has a degree in Human Development Studies from Birkbeck University and speaks English and Arabic.
Noman’s work involves:
- Analysing Jihadists trends around the world and online
- Providing strategic consultancy to public and private organisations
- Co-ordinating outreach to political activists in the MENA region
- Working with policy makers and practitioners in order to raise awareness of the dynamics de-radicalisation