Al-Qaeda (Arabic: القاعدة al-Qaeda, “the Base”) is an Islamic movement founded by Sheikh Abdullah Yusuf Azzam and his student Osama bin Laden in 1987. Of the Sunni fundamentalism inspiration, it is rooted in the ideology of Sayyid Qutb and the Khawarij activist Abdel Salam Faraj, according to which the “crusaders” (Western) governments, headed by the United States, interfere in the internal affairs of Islamic nations guided by the sole interest of Western societies. Al-Qaeda resorts to terrorism to make hear its claims.
Al-Qaeda emerged from the organization Maktab al-Khadamat made for the First Afghan War by Azzam to feed the Afghan resistance against the armies of Soviet forces. Maktab al-Khadamat used to relay multiple donations from Islamic countries.
Actions claimed in the name of Al-Qaeda are considered terrorist by most states and observers.
The group is placed on the official list of terrorist organizations in the United States, Canada, the EU3, the United Kingdom, Australia, Russia, India, and Turkey. Without entering the official list, France also considers Al-Qaeda as a terrorist group. The United Nations published a list of entities and individuals linked to Al-Qaeda, which as such is sanctioned by the Security Council of the UN. The European Union has also prepared “restrictive measures” against Al-Qaeda and associated groups.
Initially, Al- Qaeda was strongly linked to the First Afghan War. Maktab al-Khadamat (MAK), created by Abdullah Azzam in 1980, organized and led the mujahideen before sending them to Afghanistan.
The MAK was supported by other Islamist organizations, charitable organizations and the CIA, which pursued at this period an interventionist policy in order to curb and weaken the power of the USSR, conceived by the Reagan administration as the “Evil Empire,” including support for groups of any kind that may destabilize the alleged schemes near Moscow. In 1986, Osama bin Laden, a former student of Abdullah Azzam, who financed since 1982 the activity of the group, joined the front.
Al- Qaeda is believed to be responsible for the bombing attacks on U.S. embassies in Nairobi (Kenya) and Dar es Salaam (Tanzania) in August 1998, killing more than 300 and injuring more than 5,000 people. Al Qaeda had also planned attacks against U.S. and Israeli tourists visiting Jordan during the millennium celebrations, but Jordanian authorities thwarted the planned attacks and indicted 28 suspects. Al- Qaeda has also attempted bomb attack at the airport in Los Angeles during the millennium holidays, but the carrier of the bomb was arrested at the Canadian border.
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