El Sayyid Nosair was born in 1955 in Port Said, Egypt and immigrated to the United States in 1981. He became an American citizen in 1989. In the United States, Nosair worked various jobs in New Jersey and New York City. Nosair was employed by the City of New York to repair the air conditioning equipment at the criminal courts building.
Nosair expressed dislike for American culture and what he perceived to be rampant moral corruption. Nosair became involved with the al-Farouq Mosque in Brooklyn, which was supported by the Maktab al-Khadamat (Services Office), which was established in 1984 by Osama bin Laden and Abdullah Azzam in Peshawar, Pakistan. The purpose of the Services Office was to raise funds for the Arab mujahadeen during the Soviet war in Afghanistan, as well as recruitment. Ali Mohamed, a sergeant at Fort Bragg, provided United States Army manuals and other assistance to individuals at the al-Farouq Mosque, and some members including Mahmoud Abouhalima and Nosair practiced at the Calverton Shooting Range on Long Island, many of the group wearing shirts reading "Help Each Other in Goodness and Piety...A Muslim to a Muslim is a Brick Wall" with a map of Afghanistan emblazoned in the middle.
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