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Al Qaeda. By Minhae Park. Who/What is Al-Qaeda.

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Al Qaeda

By Minhae Park


Who/What is Al-Qaeda

Al Qaeda is one of the world’s most wanted terrorist group. Meaning ‘base’ in Arabic, this group was founded by Osama bin Laden in the late 1980’s. bin Laden and Palestinian religious scholar Abdullah Azzam recruited, trained, and financed thousands of foreign ‘holy warriors’ from more than fifty countries. He wanted them to go to war with non-Muslims who were living in the Muslim holy places. Like this, Al Qaeda was formed. After bin Laden’s death, Egyptian Dr. Ayman al-Zawahiri was elected as leader.

Goals: Al Qaeda believes that Islam should be the supreme religion. They want countries that don’t follow Islamic laws to be overthrown, and that all foreign troops in Saudi Arabia should leave. The group also believes that Israel shouldn’t exist, and that it’s the duty of Muslims to kill all U.S citizens.


Al Qaeda’s Size and Members

No one knows the size of Al-Qaeda because it’s so secretive. Experts from the Council on Foreign Relations estimate between several hundred to several thousands. Timothy Noah (reporter from the Slate News) said that of 2009, there were only 200~300 members.The small

number has helped keep Al-Qaeda hard to find and catch.


Leaders of Al Qaeda

Osama bin Laden

Birth date: March 10, 1957

Death: May 2, 2011

Born: Saudi Arabia (exiled in 1994)

Bin Laden was born from a billionaire father and 17th out of his 50 siblings. After his father died, his mother married another man, and he lived with them. Due to his fortune, he went to an elite school. He went to university where he was remembered to be very enthusiastic about religious debates and activities.

Influences: Bin Laden was greatly influenced by an Al Thagher (part of the Muslim Brotherhood, though violence was necessary to get Islamic government) teacher who taught extra-curricular Islam lessons.

Ayman Al Zawahiri

Birth date: June 19, 1951

Born: Egypt

Al-Zawahiri's family was connected to the Al Azhar University (which was one of the most important religious institutions in the Islamic world). His family was religious but not outrageously so. He lived in a upper middle class neighbourhood, but lived modestly. In 1979, al-Zawahiri created the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, wanting to overthrow the Egyptian government (later assassinated the president).

Influences: He was raised in an era where Islam was considered a political system.


Other Leaders, Multiple Bases, & Economical Sources

Al-Zawahiri is the leader of Al Qaeda, but Al Qaeda has several branches. Each branch has an appointed leader. Not only that, but there are specialists in a certain area (ex: chemist, military specialists, etc…).

It’s estimated that Al-Qaeda has bases in 100 countries, such as in the: UK, US, Italy, France, and others. They often are in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Al-Qaeda also has several branches. This allows them to operate even if one base is severally attacked.

Osama bin Laden’s fortune supplies Al Qaeda with its needs. Not only that, but the organization also asks for donations, and illegally takes funds from Muslim charitable organizations. Not only that, but when you have to join Al Qaeda, you need to pay a certain amount.


Targets + Methods

  • Al Qaeda has named these as their targets/what they believe should go:
  • The United Nations
  • Arab rulers
  • Multinational corporations
  • The Internet
  • International News and satellite media
  • International relief organizations. They believe that they are covers for spying, changing religion, attempted coups, and weapons transfers.
  • Some activities they did:
  • Bombed US embassies in August 1998 in Nairobi, Kenya, Dar as Salaam, Tanzania (killed at least 301 people and 5000 injured).
  • Bombed the USS Cole in Aden, October 2000.
  • Conducted three bombings that targeted US troops in Aden, Yemen in 1992.
  • Also bombed the World Trade Center and the Twin Towers.

Ib Learner Profile- Thinkers and Risk Taker

I think Al Qaeda is a thinker and a risk taker. They are thinkers because they think of the attacks they will do, how to keep hidden, how to earn money, and many more that keeps their organization working and hidden. They are also risk takers because they aren’t afraid of dieing if it comes to completing their goals and visions.


Works Cited

Al-Qaeda Flag. N.d. Photograph. Opinion MakerWeb. 7 Dec 2011. <

A photo of the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York on September 11, 2001. N.d. Photograph. PressTVWeb. 7 Dec 2011. <>.

N.d. Photograph. Debt EliminationWeb. 7 Dec 2011. <>.

N.d. Photograph. Junk-Y-ArtWeb. 7 Dec 2011. <>.

N.d. Photograph. India VisionWeb. 7 Dec 2011. < >.

"Qa'ida." 22. Chicago: The World Encyclopedia, 2004. Print.

 "Al-Qaida." Global, 11 July 2011. Web. 13 Dec 2011. <>.

N.d. Photograph. Biyokulule OnlineWeb. 10 Jan 2012. <>.

N.d. Photograph. Prison Planet.comWeb. 10 Jan 2012. <>.

N.d. Photograph. Top News.inWeb. 10 Jan 2012. <>.

Bajoria, Jayshree, and Greg Bruno, eds. "al-Qaeda (a.k.a. al-Qaida, al-Qa." Council on Foreign Relations. Council on Foreign Relations, 29 Aug 2011. Web. 10 Jan 2012. <

Wikipedia contributors. "Osama bin Laden." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 9 Jan 2012. Web. 11 Jan 2012. <>.

Zalman, Amy. "Profile: Osama bin Laden." New York Times, n.d. Web. 11 Jan 2012. <>.

Zalman, Amy. "Ayman Al Zawahiri." New York Times, n.d. Web. 11 Jan 2012. <>.

Aftermath of al Qaeda's bombing attack using a woman with Down's Syndrome. Read more:

works cited 2
Works Cited (2)
  • 17. Mr. Dooley
  • 18. Hellman, Christopher, and Reyko Huang. "List of Known Terrorist Organizations." CENTER FOR DEFENSE INFORMATION n.pag. Center for Defense Information. Web. 12 Jan 2012. <>.