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AL-Qaeda is an Islamic militant organization founded by Osama bin Laden. It was founded sometime between 1988 and 1989. It is a network of an army and Sunni Muslim movement that calls for strict interpretation of sharia law and in turn calls for Jihad. The United Nations Security Council, NATO, the United Kingdom, the European Union, the United States, and other countries have labeled al-Qaeda a terrorist organization.
The Roots of Al-Qaeda
The roots of al-Qaeda can be traced back to the Soviet War in Afghanistan. During the war, many Arabs joined the jihad to fight against the Russians. The Council of Foreign Relations states that many Muslim groups and individuals as well as the Saudi Arabian government funded the jihad giving around $600 million dollars a year. In 1984 the Maktab al-Khidamat (MAK) began to recruit to help them win the war against the Soviets. MAK began preparing militant camps around the Afghan border and collecting supplies. Around this time, Bin Laden began supplying the group with funding and providing them with needed connections. Starting in 1986, MAK began recruiting in the United States.
Bin Laden and Al-Qaeda
Al-Qaeda’s first meeting was held on August 11, 1988. Its founder was bin Laden. During the Gulf War bin Laden offered King Fahd of Saudi Arabia his services. The king instead decided to ally with the U.S. In 1996, al-Qaeda announced its plan to get rid of foreign troops from Islamic lands. Consequently, Bin Laden declared war against the U.S. and its allies. On September 11, 2001 al-Qaeda followed through with its attack threats and attacked the US by crashing airplanes into The World Trade Towers in New York City. The attack killed 2,977 people.
Facts About Al-Qaeda
- Religious Identification - Sunni Islam
- Membership consists of Muslims frustrated by their perceived failure of government
- Al Qaeda's numbers have declined but their affiliates continue to grow in number
- Founded by Osama bin Laden