Khaled Meshaal (aka Khaled Mishal) is the long time political leader of Hamas in exile. According to a BBC profile, Meshaal joined the Muslim Brotherhood in 1971:
“Mr Meshaal was born in 1956 in the village of Silwad, near the West Bank city of Ramallah. Meshaal has been increasingly important since Sheikh Yassin died. His father, like many other Palestinians, travelled to the Gulf emirate of Kuwait in the 1960s for work. His family followed after the area fell under Israeli occupation in 1967.At school, Mr Meshaal became involved in Palestinian and Islamic activism. He joined the Muslim Brotherhood in 1971. Mr Meshaal continued to take interest political Islam while studying physics at Kuwait University and he founded a student organisation called the List of the Islamic Right. After graduating in 1978, he spent a number of years teaching physics in Kuwait. In 1987, Palestinian Muslim Brotherhood leaders in Gaza founded the Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas, in response to a mass uprising against the Israeli occupation. Mr Meshaal became increasingly involved with Hamas over the next few years, leading what was known as the Kuwait contingent of Palestinians who lived and worked there.
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A 2009 book review provides further detail on Mr. Meshaal’s early activities in the Kuwaiti Muslim Brotherhood.
Despite characterizations of Meshaal as a “relative moderate” in October 2012 Meshaal gave a speech in Cairo in which said that “Nothing will restore the homeland but jihad, the rifle, and self-sacrifice” and that Zionists are the enemies of Allah and of Muhammad, Jesus, Moses, and Abraham – the enemies of the Prophets, of the Messengers, of values, and of morality.’ In December 2012 Meshaal reiterated his call for the complete destruction of Israel during his first ever visit to Gaza in honor of the 25th anniversary of the founding of Hamas. In March, we reported that Hamas had re-elected Khaled Meshaal as the head of its political bureau. In September 2012, Reuters reported reported that Meshaal had decided to step down from his position as head of the Hamas political leadership. In October 2013, the GMBDW reported that Meshaal) had paid what was described as a “surprise visit” to Ankara in order to meet with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.