Noman Benotman is President of Quilliam International and an Executive Board Member. He leads Quilliam’s work on counter terrorism, deradicalization, countering violent extremism and works tirelessly to raise international awareness of jihadist tactic and strategies worldwide.
Noman is the author of several of Quilliam studies and papers including:
- “The Children of Islamic State”
- “The Jihadist Network in the Syrian Revolution”
- “Briefing Paper: What’s wrong with current counter-terrorism efforts?”
- “Quilliam Strategic Assessment: Islamic State One Year On”
- “Policy Briefing: Instability in Libya”
- “Index to Assess the Effectiveness of Al Qaeda”
- “Jabhat al-Nusra: A Strategic Briefing”
Noman is a (former) trained Guerrilla Warfare commander and has served with the “Mujahideen” in Afghanistan in their struggle against the communist invasion and he has witnessed the taking of Kabul 1992. In 1994 he left Afghanistan and travelled to Khartoum, Sudan; a global hub of all jihadist groups at the time.
An Afghan Arab veteran, he was one of the architects in the setting up of the LIFG Jihadist Group in Libya whose objective was to forcibly over-throw Colonel Gaddafi, using a combination of tactics including low level Urban Guerrilla Warfare and Political terrorism.
During his time taking part in armed conflicts for nearly fifteen years, he had met with and forged close links with key figures such as Osama Bin-Laden, Ayman al-Zawahiri, Mawlawi Jalaluddin Haqqani, Abu Qatada, Abu Musab al-Suri and Refaey Taha. He witnessed the development of the transition of the jihadi ideology from a national conflict to a global war against the West.
Since leaving and disavowing his former jihadist views, during the period between 2007 – 2010, Noman played a key role deradicalizing members of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) and was heavily involved in negotiations between the Gaddafi regime and the LIFG which resulted in the disbanding of the group and the issuing of its refutations and the release of hundreds of its members from imprisonment.
When the “Arab Spring” spread into many Arab countries in 2011, Noman took Quilliam’s work to the Middle East and as a result of the demand, he was stationed there for almost three years from 2014 – 2017 – monitoring, preventing, interfering and disrupting terrorist activities; working alongside governments and counter terrorism agencies, both Arab and from the rest of the world.
Based in London, Noman is known as one of the most public critics of Al-Qaeda, ISIS and similar groups appearing extensively on international media such as CNN, Sky News, BBC, Al-Jazeera and Al-Arabiya as well as taking part in a range of international conferences. He has a degree in Human Development Studies from Birkbeck, University of London and is fluent in Arabic and English.
Noman’s current areas of work include:
- Analysing Jihadists trends around the world – online and offline
- Providing strategic consultancy to public and private organisations
- Co-ordinating outreach to political activists in the MENA region
- Providing training in tactics used by trans-nationalist Jihadists
- Training on refuting “Jihadi War Theory”
- Providing training and working with policy makers and practitioners to raise awareness of the dynamics of Islamist radicalization and deradicalization
- Deradicalization of “Jihadist soldiers”