When translated from Arabic, Al Qaeda simply means “the base.” However, after September 2001, when the Pentagon and the World Trade Center were attacked by hijacked aircraft, Al Qaeda became known globally as the group responsible for the largest terrorist attack on U.S. soil. Al Qaeda's leader, Osama bin Laden, a Saudi and son of a wealthy construction magnate, instantly became the focus of international media. Ayman al-Zawahiri, bin Laden's ideological mentor and second in command, an Egyptian medical doctor and founder of Egyptian Islamic Jihad, also shared in the infinite media coverage. Bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri created Al Qaeda to wage global jihad against the enemies of Islam because they both held beliefs that the world was corrupt, oppressive, and locked in a ...

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