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The Road to Al-Qaeda is a controversial book. Written by an Egyptian human rights lawyer, it is the first English-language account of the development of tensions between violent and non-violent factions in radical Islamist movements, from the perspective of an insider. It is also a biography of one of the world's most-wanted terrorists: Egyptian-born Dr Ayman al-Zawahiri. Widely recognized as the man who will take over the leadership of Al-Qaeda after Osama bin Laden, he is also the reputed architect of the Riyadh bombings in Saudi Arabia.
The original version of this book sold widely across the Arabic world. Reproduced in translation here, with an extensive introduction from distinguished scholar Ibrahim Abu Rabi, it stands alone as an unrivalled account of the divisions within militant Islamist ideology. The author provides insight into the internal politics of Islamic Jihad, and the radicalisation of bin Laden's deputy; he examines Zawahiri's opposition to efforts by other militant Islamists to call a ceasefire with the Egyptian authorities; and he narrates the redirection of Zawahiri's activities towards the US and Israel.
As an insight into one of the key minds behind Al-Qaeda this book makes unparalleled and disturbing reading. It is an important document for anyone who seeks to understand how a minority extremist ideology came to have such an impact on world events.
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