February 1896: Theodor Herzl publishes his vision for a state where Jews could live free from persecution.
After covering the Dreyfus Affair, a trial of a Jewish officer in the French army who was wrongfully accused as a traitor, Theodor Herzl, a Jewish journalist from Vienna, publishes a pamphlet called "The Jewish State." Disturbed by the wave of anti-Semitism set off by the trial, Herzl calls for a state in which Jews can live without fear of persecution. He travels the world over to find monetary and political support for his vision.
1905: Attendees at the Seventh Zionist Congress decide that Palestine is the only suitable place for a Jewish state.
At the Sixth Zionist Congress two years earlier, delegates had agreed to consider the establishment of a Jewish settlement in East Africa. But after considering a site in Uganda (now Kenya), attendees at the Seventh Congress (held in Basel, Switzerland), conclude that an East African site would be inappropriate for a mass Jewish settlement.
1906: The All-India Muslim League is founded by Aga Khan III.
The Aga Khan, a hereditary spiritual leader, is elected president of the All-India Muslim League. He will hold the position until his resignation in 1912. The League is founded to protect the political rights of Muslims living in India.
1918-1922: A nationalist movement in Egypt leads to Egyptian independence.
Saad Zaghlul leads a delegation to meet with the ruling British High Commissioner and demand independence for Egypt. He is refused, and his subsequent arrest and deportation spark anti-British riots. The growing popular support of the nationalistic Wafd Party -- "wafd" is Arabic for "delegation" -- prompts Britain to grant Egypt limited independence in February 1922 and install a king as head of state. Britain, which has served as Egypt's protectorate since 1914, retains control over essential government institutions, including the parliament; finances; education; and the Sudan. It also keeps troops in the Suez Canal zone. Egypt will gain full independence after World War II.
1927-1929: The Wahhabi Ikhwan turn against central Arabian ruler ibn Saud.
The Ikhwan (translated as "brethren") is a group of Muslims who practice Wahhabism, a puritan form of Islam. Ibn Saud had recruited the Ikhwan to help massacre his non-Wahhabi rivals and add Mecca and the Hejaz region of central Arabia to his domain. He loses his authority over the Ikhwan, however, when he chooses not to battle rivals who hold protective treaties with Britain. In 1929, ibn Saud confronts the Ikhwan militarily, and they are forced to surrender to the British in Kuwait in January 1930.
Not all of the Ikhwan revolt, however, and those who remain loyal to ibn Saud continue to receive government support and remain an influential religious force. They are eventually absorbed into the Saudi Arabian National Guard.
1928: The Muslim Brotherhood is founded as an Islamic revivalist movement in Egypt.
Elementary school teacher Hasan al-Banna founds the Muslim Brotherhood based on his ideas that Islam should not only be a religious observance, but a comprehensive way of life. He supplements the traditional Islamic education with Tarbeyah training for the Society's male students that includes education, scouting, and militia-type activities to resist the British occupation.
Over the next several decades, the Brotherhood becomes increasingly involved in politics and is banned, reinstated, and then banned again in 1954 by the Egyptian government for its alleged involvement in the attempted assassination of Egyptian president Nasser. Nasser's successor, Anwar al-Sadat, once in office promises the group that sharia (Islamic law) will be implemented as the Egyptian law and releases all imprisoned Brothers, or members of the group. But in September 1981, he himself is assassinated by four men in a group known as Jama'at Al Jihad, after signing a peace treaty with Israel.
Hamas, in Palestine, claims to be the military wing of the Palestinian Brotherhood.
March 7, 1951: Iranian prime minister Ali Razmara is shot to death.
After Prime Minister Ali Razmara advises against nationalizing the oil industry on technical grounds, he is assassinated by Khalil Tahmasebi, a member of the terrorist group of the Fadayan-e Islam. Related Links
January 16, 1979: Iranian Revolution: The Shah is overthrown.
During the late 1970s, dissent and demonstrations protesting the dictatorship of the Shah increase in Iran. The writings of the exiled Ayatollah Khomeini, Shii Muslim Supreme Leader, begin to circulate widely. Throughout the final months of the 1978, demonstrators seize government buildings, shut down businesses with massive strikes, and assassinate government officials. On January 16, 1979, the Shah flees Iran; Khomeini returns on February 1. Less than a month later, on February 12, the prime minister flees as well.
1979-2002: Islamic fundamentalism takes hold in Iran.
Under the Ayatollah Khomeini, law codes based on Islam are introduced in Iran, ending the Shah's radical modernization policies. Khomeini's strict version of Islamic religious standards become the law of everyday life. Some Iranians are upset by the strict religious system. Many people who accepted Western cultural influences leave Iran, including most Jews and Christians. The "Islamicization" of the government continues into the 21st century.Related Links
November 1979: Militant Islamic extremists seize the Holy Mosque of Mecca to protest increasing Western influence, but are defeated by Saudi forces.
A group of Sunni Muslim fundamentalists calling for the overthrow of the pro-Western Saudi government barricades themselves inside the Holy Mosque of Mecca. After two weeks of fighting, the siege ends, leaving 27 Saudi soldiers and more than 100 rebels dead. Sixty-three more rebels are later publicly beheaded. Related Links
February 1982: Syrian forces suppress a Muslim Brotherhood uprising in Hama, killing 10,000 to 30,000 people.
In 1976, the arch-conservative Muslim Brotherhood leads an armed insurgency against the al-Asad regime, which is criticized for being secular and representing only minority interests. This particular public demonstration is met with heavy artillery fire and ends in massive casualties.
September 16, 1982: Christian militiamen massacre hundreds at the Sabra and Shatila Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon.
Lebanese Christian Maronite president-elect Bashir Gemayel is assassinated. Two days later, Christian militias allied with Israel against the PLO enter the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps in Beirut and massacre some 800 unarmed Palestinians. The Kahan Commission (an Israeli commission of inquiry) finds that Defense Minister Ariel Sharon bears personal responsibility because he did not order 'appropriate measures for preventing or reducing the chances of a massacre.' As a result, Sharon gave up his defense portfolio but remained in the cabinet.
December 9, 1987: The Palestinian intifada, a spontaneous popular uprising against Israeli occupation, starts in the West Bank and Gaza.
Young Palestinian demonstrators hurl stones and incendiary devices at Israeli troops in the Occupied Territories. The Israeli military responds with rubber bullets and live ammunition, consistent with its "iron-fist policy." Curfews are imposed on Palestinians, and arrests and deportations follow. More than 20,000 people, both Israelis and Palestinians, are killed or injured between 1987 and 1993.Related Links
1989: Osama bin Laden founds the al-Qaeda network.
In 1989 Osama bin Laden forms al-Qaeda. Meaning "the base," al-Qaeda grows out of the network of Arab volunteers who had gone to Afghanistan in the 1980s to fight the Soviets under the banner of Islam. Its creation coincides with the Soviets' withdrawal from Afghanistan. The charismatic bin Laden uses the contacts he had made there to organize this international group of motivated Islamic radicals.
Since 1996, al-Qaeda has been headquartered in Afghanistan, where bin Laden was able to forge a close relationship with the ruling Taliban. Al-Qaeda, however, is thought to operate in 40 to 50 countries, not only in the Middle East and Asia but also in North America and Europe. A loosely knit group, it operates across continents as a chain of interlocking networks comprising different groups, or "cells."
While bin Laden is the founder and leader of al-Qaeda, Egyptian Ayman al-Zawahiri is regarded as the mastermind of many of its most infamous operations, including the attacks on two U.S. embassies in Africa in 1998 and the September 11 attacks against New York and Washington.
June 30, 1989: A military coup backed by the National Islamic Front brings Lt. Gen. Omar Hassan al-Bashir to power in the Sudan.
Stricter interpretations of Islamic law are imposed under Lt. Gen. al-Bashir's regime.
February 26, 1993: A van bomb explodes in the garage of the World Trade Center in New York City.
At approximately 12:00 noon, a bomb in a van, planted by terrorists allegedly backed by Osama bin Laden, explodes in the underground garage of the World Trace Center, North Tower. Six people are killed, and more than 1,000 injured. Millions of dollars' worth of damage is sustained. Six Islamic extremist conspirators are convicted of the crime in 1997 and '98, receiving prison sentences of 240 years each. Related Links
May 1996: Islamic fundamentalist Osama bin Laden is welcomed by the ruling Taliban in Afghanistan.
Hailed as a hero for his involvement against the Soviets in the 1980s, the Islamic militia in power offers Osama bin Laden support and safety within Afghan borders. From 1991 to 1996, prior to accepting the Taliban's invitation, bin Laden had been in Sudan, from which he was expelled in 1996 under pressure from the U.S. and Saudi Arabia.Related Links
1996-2002: The Taliban severely restricts women's role in society.
Under the rule of the Taliban in Afghanistan, women are banished from the workforce, forbidden an education, and prohibited to leave their homes unless a close male relative escorts them. In public, they must wear special dress (burqa) that completely covers the body and leaves only a small mesh-covered opening through which they can see. Windows of women's houses visible to the public must be painted black. Religious minorities and secular individuals also suffer intolerance under the Taliban regime.Related Links
August 7, 1998: U.S. embassies in Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, are bombed simultaneously.
Four men are tried on charges related to the simultaneous bombings in Africa, which killed 224 people and wounded thousands. Charges include conspiring in the bombing and other acts of terrorism as part of Osama bin Laden's international organization, al-Qaeda. All four are convicted in May 2001 and sentenced to life in prison without parole on October 18, 2001.Related Links
September 28, 2000: Ariel Sharon's visit to the al-Aqsa mosque marks the beginning of a second Arab intifada.
Ariel Sharon, leader of Israel's right-wing opposition party, Likud, visits the area around the al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem accompanied by 1,000 armed policemen and riot forces. A large police presence at a site sacred to Muslims, together with the timing of the visit -- on the heels of failed talks to end Israeli occupation peacefully -- strike a nerve with many Palestinians. Clashes ensue between Palestinian rioters and Israeli soldiers.
The Islamic resistance movement Hamas calls on Palestinians to storm Israeli army outposts in the Occupied Territories. This marks the beginning of the second intifada, or "shaking off," known as the al-Aqsa intifada. Violence spreads from Gaza, the West Bank, and East Jerusalem to northern Israeli towns such as Nazareth and Umm al-Fahem. By mid-December, more than 300 are dead, including 13 Israeli Arabs.Related Links
October 12, 2000: The USS Cole is attacked in a Yemeni harbor.
Seventeen American sailors are killed in an explosion on the USS Cole,
a U.S. Navy guided missile destroyer docked in the Yemeni port of Aden. The Cole
was moored for refueling when a rubber boat blew up alongside it. It is the deadliest attack on the U.S. military since the 1996 bombing of a U.S. Air Force barracks in Saudi Arabia that killed 19.Related Links
February 26, 2001: Taliban leader Mullah Omar issues an edict to destroy all pre-Islamic statues and shrines in Afghanistan.
Led by Mullah Omar, the Taliban evokes international outrage when it smashes ancient cultural icons, including two giant fifth-century Buddha statues in Bamiyan; one was the tallest standing Buddha in the world.Related Links
September 11, 2001: Two commercial airliners strike the World Trade Center complex in New York City, and one strikes the Pentagon in Washington, D.C.
Believed to have been on course for the U.S. Capitol, a fourth jet crashes into an open field in western Pennsylvania. About 3,000 people die in the events, which result in the complete destruction of the World Trade Center Twin Towers and severe damage to the Pentagon building. The U.S. labels the incidents terrorist actions and suspects Muslim extremists are responsible. The U.S. launches attacks in Afghanistan, eventually ousting the ruling Muslim fundamentalist regime known as the Taliban. The Taliban and its leader, Mullah Omar, are thought to sponsor the terrorist network al-Qaeda and its leader, Osama bin Laden.Related Links