Friday, September 28, 2007

Al-Qaeda's Forerunner

by Michael Young from Reason

Yaroslav Trofimov, journalist and author of The Siege of Mecca: "Al-Qaeda is really a global movement born out of a union between Saudi Wahhabi zeal, personified by Osama bin Laden, and the Egyptian jihadist tradition, personified by Ayman al-Zawahiri. These two currents came together in a joint operation for the first time in Mecca in 1979. Though Juhayman himself was a Saudi, the gunmen who followed him into the mosque came from dozens of countries—they even included converted African Americans. Most prominent among these foreigners were the Egyptians. They included personalities such as Mohammed Elias, a religious scholar who was one of the leaders of Egypt's Gamaat Islamiyya (Islamic Groups) and who had taught Islam to men like Zawahiri. There had been Islamic movements before, but this was the first transnational group carrying out an attack in modern times."

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