Abu Hamza al-Masri (Mustafa Kamel Mustafa), born in Alexandria, Egypt, on 15 April 1958, Abu Hamza was the son of a naval officer and a primary school headmistress. He initially studied civil engineering before leaving for England in 1979. In London, one of his first jobs was as a nightclub bouncer. He married a British woman who he says encouraged him to embrace Islam.
"I took time off from the clubs and I enjoyed it," he said at his trial in the US.
He decided to resume his studies at Brighton Polytechnic and gained a civil engineering degree, joining the Institution of Civil Engineers where he remained a member until 1994.