Wednesday, September 19, 2007

How Mecca Uprising Helped Give Birth to al Qaeda

by Yaroslav Trofimov from his new book from The Siege of Mecca

In the late 1970s, hundreds of black radicals -- including some former Black Panthers -- flocked to Saudi-funded Islamic academies in the U.S., and in the kingdom itself. A handful followed Juhayman al Uteybi into the Grand Mosque in November 1979, putting to use the skills of urban guerrilla warfare that they had learned at home ... The American Embassy became aware of such participation in the Mecca uprising by at least two African-American converts only on Dec. 8, 1979, four days after Saudi security forces finally overran the sacred compound. This embarrassing information had been kept under wraps by the American and Saudi governments alike.

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