The 21st Century Phenomenon




* Hisham Diab was born, probably, in Egypt, in 1959 and arrived to USA in the mid 80s’. In his early years in USA Hisham  Diab worked as an insurance salesman for MetLife in California.

From 1987 he held meetings with Islamic militants at his apartment in California. Among the participants was also a fellow countryman, the blind Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman.

In 1991 Hisham  Diab married in California a USA citizen Saraah Olson, born in 1969, which converted with her son from her first marriage to Islam, and became, through the marriage, an USA citizen. Their neighbor at that time in Orange County, California was Khalil Deek.

On 02/26/1993 , the day of the World Trade Center attack (WTC), while working on a term paper at her Garden Grove apartment, Saraah Olson turned on her television and saw coverage of the explosion. She immediately called her husband, Hisham  Diab. She reached Diab at his office in Carson, California. “They blew up the Trade Center,” Olson told him according to her testimony. “They keep saying – The Arabs did it; the Arabs did it. They are blaming Arabs.’” Olson recalls that her husband didn’t seem the least bit surprised and uttered exactly two words: “They should,” he said and hung up the telephone. Following this conversation Saraah Olson called the FBI about her husband for the first time. She later called the FBI several times more but, eventually, was not taken seriously.

Hisham  Diab is one of the figures, in the mid 90s’, which had influence on Adam Yahiye Gadahn and helped, with Khalil Deek, to transform him to an Islamic Militant and recruit him to Al Qaeda.

In 06/2001 Hisham  Diab disappeared and never renewed contact with his wife in USA. It is assumed that he went to Waziristan, Pakistan, on the border with Afghanistan.

Saraah Olson admitted that during their short marriage she helped her husband to forge documents and that she played a role in drawing up the papers for a fake , called Without Borders, that the Orange County cell used to funnel money overseas.

Saraah Olson claimed that she identified her former husband’s voice in an Al Qaeda footage, released in Pakistan in late 10/2004, in which a masked man promised  that the “streets of America will run red with blood.”

Today (05/2008) the deeds or whereabouts of Hisham  Diab remain unknown.

Summary ; 

The FBI suspected that Hisham  Diab, like many Egyptians who left Egypt in the early 80s’, after the assassination of the Egyptian President Anwar Saadat, on 10/06/1981, and the crack down on Islamic militants in Egypt, was an Islamic extremist himself and formed a sleeping cell for Al Qaeda  in Orange County, California. Like many other Al Qaeda operatives his first mission was to blend in the local society.  Hisham  Diab’s connection to Al Qaeda was through Khalil Deek.


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