Al Qaeda

Al Qaeda is a militant Islamic terrorist group that was founded by Osama Bin Laden in 1988. The name in Arabic means “the base.” Alternate spellings include “al-Qaida” and “al-Qa’ida.” Al Qaeda’s goal is to establish a worldwide caliphate, that is, an Islamic state that is ruled by a caliph (caliph is an Arabic word meaning “successor of Mohammad and ruler of the state”). The presence of and deadly attacks orchestrated by al Qaeda have led to drastic changes in surveillance and security, not only in the United States but in other Western countries as well. This entry examines the creation and founders of al Qaeda, reviews many of the organization’s most prominent terrorist attacks, and describes some of the changes instituted by the United ...

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