In Reflections on the Death of Ayman Al-Zawahiri, the late jihadist calls for random acts of violence in American cities. His passage was cited as the motivation for the Virginia sniper shootings, which were aimed at demanding $10 million. He also mentions explosives, including car bombs, in hardware stores. Such rhetoric could not be further from the truth.
Ayman al-Zawahiri was a medical doctor
Ayman al-Zawahiri studied medicine at Cairo University and graduated in 1974. He later served as a medical officer in the army and opened his own medical practice in his parents’ duplex. He occasionally treated patients at the clinic of the Muslim Brotherhood in Cairo. After establishing his medical practice, he was attracted to the radical Islamist movement. In 1975, he joined the Egyptian Islamic Jihad.
While he was the figurehead of al Qaeda, he failed to prevent the splintering of the group into many smaller factions. In addition to long disappearances from public view, he was also known for his dry, pedantic style and the videotaped sermons he delivered to recruits. Zawahiri was born and raised in a middle-class suburb of Cairo.
He endorsed Sadat’s assassination
Al-Zawahiri was born in Egypt and came from an illustrious family. His mother, Rabia’a al-Zawahiri, was an imam at al-Azhar University and his father, Abdel Rahman Azzam, was first secretary of the Arab League. Both had been involved in the assassination of Egypt’s first president, Anwar Sadat, who was assassinated in October 1981.
After the death of Bin Laden, Zawahiri became the leader of al-Qaeda. However, his dry cerebral style and limited appeal failed to inspire jihadists to the same extent as bin Laden had. He subsequently founded the Islamic State in Iraq and sought to assert his control over local Islamist groups. But Zawahiri’s efforts to gain control of Iraq, Syria, and Libya failed.
He was a mastermind of 9/11 attacks
Ayman al-Zawahiri, second only to Osama bin Laden in the al-Qaeda hierarchy, was responsible for the September 11 attacks. He believed in the power of mass death as a duty of all Muslims, and he orchestrated the attacks that killed thousands. After bin Laden was killed, Zawahiri took over the leadership of Al-Qaeda.
Although bin Laden is a legend in the world of jihad, Ayman al-Zawahiri is not one of the most charismatic and inspiring jihadists. He was more of a cerebral figure who failed to inspire jihadists as bin Laden did. In the aftermath of Bin Laden’s death, Zawahiri founded the Iraqi insurgency that eventually became Islamic State, and tried to assert his power and control over local Islamist groups. While his efforts to gain dominance in Iraq and Syria failed, he still managed to kill many people and he is now being sought by the FBI.
He was a controversial figure
After his assassination in 1981, Ayman al-Zawahiri served a three-year jail term on charges of illegal arms possession. He was a trained surgeon who spent time working in Pakistan and treating mujahideen guerrillas in Afghanistan. He also became acquainted with Osama bin Laden, and both were sentenced to death by an Egyptian military court in absentia.
He was a controversial figure who traveled to the United States, where he toured mosques to raise funds for refugees in Afghanistan. He was also associated with the 1998 bombing of US embassies in Kenya. In the two coordinated attacks, 223 people were killed, including the Egyptian Prime Minister, President, and his wife. However, he was later released. And he has continued to inspire his followers.