As Israel continues Operation Protective Edge against Hamas terrorists in Gaza, senior Hamas leader Mousa Abu Marzook continues to act as a mouthpiece for the genocidal terror group.
Interestingly enough, Marzook was once Hamas's overall leader for a time and steered the group not from the bowels of a Gaza tunnel but from his base in the leafy suburbs of Washington, D.C.
I detailed Marzook's American odyssey--which included stints at Colorado State and Louisiana Tech universities--in my 2013 book, The Brotherhood: America's Next Great Enemy.
At first glance, it sounds like the quintessential immigrant success story. After a hardscrabble upbringing in Gaza, Mousa Abu Marzook arrived in the United States in 1981 to study at Colorado State University, where he received a Master’s Degree in industrial sciences. In 1985, he moved his family to Ruston, Louisiana, to begin work on a doctoral engineering program at Louisiana Tech University. Up until that point, Marzook’s academic journey was the kind that countless ambitious immigrants have navigated in the United States. But then came a slight twist.
By October 1992, Marzook was leading a delegation from the terrorist group Hamas on an official visit to Tehran for meetings with the Iranian regime. Mousa Abu Marzook, fresh off a decade spent at two well-respected American institutions of higher learning, was now head of Hamas’s political bureau and a major player on the global jihadist scene. Like I said, just a slight twist.
Surprised at how this promising doctoral student’s career turned out? Don’t be. Time and again, Islamic terrorists have worked the U.S. educational system to their advantage. Look no further than the jihadist-ridden alumni of the Muslim Students Association (MSA), or 9/11 plotter Khalid Sheikh Mohammed’s stint at North Carolina A&T, or convicted al-Qaeda terrorist Aafia Siddiqui’s time at MIT. The list goes on. Clearly, Marzook had some illustrious—and murderous—company in his American educational pursuits.
It was during his time in Louisiana that Marzook not only assumed leadership of Hamas, but also oversaw the establishment of the Hamas support network in the United States. He did so by enlisting the backing of a number of operatives to assist in recruiting, terrorist training, and money laundering, and also by establishing a series of organizations to help keep Hamas running.
After Israel arrested most of Hamas’s top leadership in the early 1990s, Marzook moved immediately to reorganize the terrorist group’s infrastructure and keep it alive. His response was to move much of the organization’s decision-making outside of Gaza and the West Bank and divide leadership responsibilities into three areas: the Political Committee, the Propaganda Committee, and the Jihad Committee. The Political Bureau would be headed by Marzook himself from Falls Church, Virginia, just outside Washington, D.C.; the responsibilities for propagand would be handled by another U.S.-based Marzook associate, Ahmed Yousef; and the terrorist arm would be supervised by MohammedSawahla in London. Marzook would also oversee the establishment of Hamas offices in Amman and Damascus.
In December 1992, another crisis confronted Marzook when Israel deported more than four hundred Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorists, including most of the Hamas terror command, to Lebanon amid howls of outrage from the UN Security Council, which—with thesupport of the United States—adopted a resolution that “strongly” condemned the deportation of “hundreds of Palestinian civilians.” Israel eventually allowed the terrorists to return thanks to withering international condemnation. Political commentator Daniel Greenfield has written that with its despicable pressure campaign against Israel, “the world saved Hamas.” Some observers believe that without the evil genius of Mousa Abu Marzook and his prolific fundraising on U.S. soil (which saw him raise millions for Hamas), the Hamas terror factory would have been snuffed out for good even earlier.
Marzook was living in Jordan at the time of the deportations and responded by dispatching another trusted U.S.-based associate, Muhammad Salah, to coordinate cash distributions to the families of the deported, finance the purchase of weapons and explosives for retaliatory strikes against Israel, and scout potential targets for attacks. When it came to terror and mayhem, Marzook was clearly adept at thinking on his feet. Evidently, a quality American education can help take an enterprising jihadist a long way.
Marzook and his family lived in the Washington, D.C., area during part of this period of his leadership of Hamas. It is undoubtedly a period that American officials would rather forget, seeing as it happened right under their noses. Marzook did his best to help them in that regard. After being expelled from Jordan in 1995, he tried to reenter the United States and, upon being apprehended by authorities at JFK Airport in New York, denied any involvement with Hamas or terrorism. Regardless, the Clinton administration listed him as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist in August 1995. He would remain imprisoned until 1997, as U.S. officials debated what to do with him.
The Israelis wanted Marzook extradited to face charges of murder and terrorism but later dropped their request amid concerns over possible retaliatory terror attacks. The U.S. ultimately deported Marzook back to Jordan. From there, he bounced to Damascus for several years before finding his perfect match: the new, Muslim Brotherhood–led Egypt, where he has resided since 2012 as Hamas’s overall second-in-command.
The strange case of Mousa Abu Marzook is notable for many reasons, the most obvious being that a committed jihadist was able to run one of the world’s deadliest terrorist groups from within the friendly confines of the United States—including, for a time, from a suburb of the nation’s capital. Another important detail: following Marzook’s arrest in 1995 at JFK Airport, he became a cause célèbre for American Muslim organizations in the Brotherhood orbit. The Amerikhwan loudly declared Marzook’s innocence, claiming that he was a victim of false evidence concocted by the Israeli government.
Yet in court filings submitted by federal prosecutors during his two year detention, the U.S. government proved that Marzook had lived a double life in America, comfortably ensconced in the ’burbs while at the same time directing and approving Hamas terror attacks abroad.
Although the U.S. Ikhwanis were ultimately unable to save Marzook from deportation, future pressure campaigns would be far more successfulthanks to a Hamas-tied group whose genesis began in 1993: the Council on American-Islamic Relations, also known as CAIR.