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Roots of Terrorism
teachers guide

Glossary and Identifications

  • A Note to Teachers

  • Pre-Viewing Lesson Plans
  • Examining Primary Documents
  • Reviewing Events

  • Post-Viewing Lesson Plans
  • Analyzing Information
  • Media Messages
  • Considering Sources

  • Internet Resources

    Student Assignment Sheets

    Glossary and Identifications

    Crown Prince Abdullah is the de facto head of the family which rules Saudi Arabia.[King Fahd is the current king; he has been unable to rule since suffering a stroke.]

    Al Qaeda
    The U.S. government issued an indictment in November 1998 alleging that Osama bin Laden heads an international terrorist network called "Al Qaeda," an Arabic word meaning "the base." Al Qaeda is blamed for several attacks on U.S. interests, including the 1998 bombing of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole in Yemen, and the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

    Find out more about the details of the indictment at:

    The following Web site provides testimony, analyses and source documents outlining the origins, structure and organization of the Al Qaeda network:

    You can find an overview of how Al Qaeda's rise and international reach gradually came into focus for U.S. intelligence at:

    Ramzi bin al-Shibh is a former member of Al Qaeda's Hamburg, Germany cell, which played a leading role in the planning and execution of the Sept. 11 attacks. He was captured in Pakistan in September 2002 and is currently in the custody of the United States.

    Islamist is a term used to identify a Muslim fundamentalist.

    Jihad is an Arabic word that means "striving in the way of God." This striving can take a number of forms, including the daily inner struggle to be a better person. However, jihad is often used to refer to an armed struggle fought in defense of Islam.

    Jihadi is a person who fights in defense of Islam.

    Madrassa A madrassa is an Islamic religious school. Many of the Taliban were educated in Saudi-financed madrassas in Pakistan that teach Wahhabism, a particularly austere and rigid form of Islam which is rooted in Saudi Arabia.

    Khalid Shaihk Mohammed is the current head of Al Qaeda's military committee. The FBI now believes he was the chief mastermind behind the Sept. 11 attacks. Investigators think he may be hiding in Karachi, Pakistan, perhaps in disguise, or he might have fled across the Gulf.

    General Pervez Musharraf is the president of Pakistan.

    Muslim is a person who practices the Islamic faith.

    Osama bin Laden is the founder of Al Qaeda, which is blamed for the Sept. 11 terrorist acts.

    You can find a chronology of Osama bin Laden's political life at:

    The following Web site provides a biography of Osama bin Laden given to FRONTLINE by an anonymous source close to his family:

    Terrorism is defined by the U.S. Department of Defense as "the unlawful use of -- or threatened use of -- force or violence against individuals or property to coerce or intimidate governments or societies, often to achieve political, religious, or ideological objectives."

    Abu Zubaydah was the chief of recruitment for Al Qaeda. He was captured in Pakistan and handed over to the U.S. in March 2002.

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