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Al-Qaeda

Al-Qaeda (pronounced al KYE-dah; Arabic for “the base”) is a worldwide terrorist network of organizations and individuals dedicated to jihad (“struggle” or “holy war”) for the cause of Islam. Its goal is to rid Muslim countries of what it perceives is the corrupting influence of Western culture and to install fundamentalist Islamic regimes—governments that rule according to a literal interpretation of the Muslim sacred texts (the Koran and the Hadith) and enforce sharia (Islamic law). Al- Qaeda is only one of a number of closely linked Islamic terrorist and insurgency groups. The size of al-Qaeda is not known, but estimates run between several hundred to several thousand members. Some scholars believe, however, al-Qaeda is actually a small group that has received undue publicity for acts that have originated with other, connected terrorist groups. Al-Qaeda became notorious in the United States for its actions in the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, when members of the group hija…