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How significant was 9/11?

What is a terrorist? Why do people become terrorist?

What are the causes of terrorism?

How has the nature of terrorism changed in the 20th and 21st Century?

What were the events that led to 9/11?

What happened on 9/11?

How was 9/11 portrayed by the US government and the western media?

How was 9/11 portrayed by al –Qaeda and other terrorist groups?

How was 9/11 portrayed in the media in non-Western countries?

How did the US and the West respond to 9/11 in the short term?

Why is 9/11 significant today?

What were the events that led to 9/11?

Osama Bin Laden has claimed that Al-Qaeda was solely responsible for the 9/11 attacks. The US Governments investigations into the events of 9/11 also came to the conclusion that Al-Qaeda was solely responsible. Bin Laden has since claimed in a radio broadcast that the reason for the attack was part of the, "fight, Allah willing, against the Isreali's and their allies, in order to pursue justice for the oppressed." This places the events of 9/11 as being the culmination of a long power struggle in the Middle East, which has its origins hundreds of years previously. Below is a brief timeline of events that have demonstrated an escalation in anti-western / US extremism from radical muslim groups. For longer term conflicts between muslim extremists and the west, look at the hisory of the Arab-Isreali conflict.

1979 - American Embassy in Iran is stormed by Iranians and embassy staff taken hostage.

1982 - US Embassy in Beirut is bombed by Muslim extremists.

1982 - US Marine base in Beirut is bombed by Muslim extremists.

1985 - The ship the Achille lauro is seized by Muslim extremists and one US citizen is killed by them.

1986 - A West German nightclub is bombed, killing an American, by Muslim extremists based in the Libyan Embassy.

1986 - The US bombs Libya in retaliation for the Germany bombing.

1988 - Passenger jet Pam Am Flight 103 is blown up by Muslim Extremists over Lockerbie, Scotland, killing 270 people.

1991 - First Iraq War.

1993 - 5 killed and hundreds injured by a bomb placed by Muslim extremists in the World Trade Centre.

1993 - 18 US troops killed in Mogadishu, Somalia.

1995 - A car bomb planted by Muslim Extremists kills 5 Americans and injures 30 more in Saudi Arabia.

1998 - US Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania bombed by Muslim Extremists.

2000 - US warship USS Cole attacked by Muslim extremists.

The main escalation in this type of terrorist activity can be traced to the founding of Al-Qaeda by Osama Bin Laden in 1989. Originally formed to fight a 'jihad' against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan the organisation soon turned its attention to the United States. Bin Laden issued a fatwa against the United States because of their involvement in Sudan and began a campaign of bombings against US bases and forces.

Why did Bin Laden and Al-Qaeda target the United States?

Source - Osama Bin Laden, May 1998

Your position against Muslims in Palestine is despicable and disgraceful. America has no shame. ... We believe that the worst thieves in the world today and the worst terrorists are the Americans. Nothing could stop you except perhaps retaliation in kind.

Source - Osama Bin Laden, May 1998

For over half a century, Muslims in Palestine have been slaughtered and assaulted and robbed of their honor and of their property. Their houses have been blasted, their crops destroyed. And the strange thing is that any act on their part to avenge themselves or to lift the injustice befalling them causes great agitation in the United Nations which hastens to call for an emergency meeting only to convict the victim and to censure the wronged and the tyrannized whose children have been killed and whose crops have been destroyed and whose farms have been pulverized

Source - Osama Bin Laden, May 1999

If the instigation for jihad against the Jews and the Americans in order to liberate Al-Aksa Mosque and the Holy Ka'aba Islamic shrines in the Middle East is considered a crime, then let history be a witness that I am a criminal.

Source - Osama Bin Laden, October 2001

We swore that America wouldn't live in security until we live it truly in Palestine . This showed the reality of America, which puts Israel's interest above its own people's interest. America won't get out of this crisis until it gets out of the Arabian Peninsula , and until it stops its support of Israel.

Source: Osama Bin Laden Radio broadcast made following 9/11

"The Palestinian cause has been the main factor that, since my early childhood, fueled my desire, and that of the 19 freemen (Sept. 11 bombers), to stand by the oppressed, and punish the oppressive Jews and their allies," the al Qaeda chief said.

"We shall continue the fight, Allah willing, against the Israelis and their allies, in order to pursue justice for the oppressed, and we shall not give up one inch of Palestine, as long as there is still a single true Muslim alive.

Source: Extract from Usama Bin Laden's statement to the hijackers prior to 9/11

Then every one of you should prepare to carry out his role in a way that would satisfy God. You should clench your teeth, as the pious early generations did.

When the confrontation begins, strike like champions who do not want to go back to this world. Shout, "Allahu Akbar," because this strikes fear in the hearts of the non-believers. God said: "Strike above the neck, and strike at all of their extremities." Know that the gardens of paradise are waiting for you in all their beauty, and the women of paradise are waiting, calling out, "Come hither, friend of God." They have dressed in their most beautiful clothing.

If God decrees that any of you are to slaughter, you should dedicate the slaughter to your fathers and [unclear], because you have obligations toward them. Do not disagree, and obey. If you slaughter, do not cause the discomfort of those you are killing, because this is one of the practices of the prophet, peace be upon him. On one condition: that you do not become distracted by [unclear] and neglect what is greater, paying attention to the enemy. That would be treason, and would do more damage than good. If this happens, the deed at hand is more important than doing that, because the deed is an obligation, and [the other thing] is optional. And an obligation has priority over an option.

Do not seek revenge for yourself. Strike for God's sake. One time Ali bin Abi Talib [a companion and close relative of the prophet Muhammad], may God bless him, fought with a non-believer. The non-believer spit on Ali, may God bless him. Ali [unclear] his sword, but did not strike him. When the battle was over, the companions of the prophet asked him why he had not smitten the non-believer. He said, "After he spit at me, I was afraid that I would be striking at him in revenge for myself, so I lifted my sword." After he renewed his intentions, he went back and killed the man. This means that before you do anything, make sure that your soul is prepared to do everything for God only.

Then implement the way of the prophet in taking prisoners. Take prisoners and kill them. As Almighty God said: "No prophet should have prisoners until he has soaked the land with blood. You want the bounties of this world [in exchange for prisoners] and God wants the other world [for you], and God is all-powerful, all-wise."

Source - Osama Bin Laden, February 2003

This action was done in response for the American political, economical, and military support to Israel the state of terrorism and to the rest of the dictator countries in the region.

Source - Osama Bin Laden, February 2003

... the Mujahideen saw the black gang of thugs in the White House hiding the Truth, and their stupid and foolish leader, who is elected and supported by his people, denying reality and proclaiming that we (the Mujahideen) were striking them because we were jealous of them (the Americans), whereas the reality is that we are striking them because of their evil and injustice in the whole of the Islamic World, especially in Iraq and Palestine and their occupation of the Land of the Two Holy Sanctuaries


PBS - a brief history of Al-Qaeda

Timeline of the History of Al-Qaeda







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