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The Road to Al-Qaeda

The Road to Al-Qaeda

The Story of Bin Laden's Right-Hand Man

by Montasser Al-Zayyat

Edited by Sara Nimis

Translated by Ahmed Fekry

Series: Critical Studies on Islam

Controversial biography of Al-Qaeda mastermind Ayman al-Zawahiri that details divisions within militant Islam.
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.

Montasser al-Zayyat joined the Islamic movement in Egypt in 1974. He was arrested in the Jihad Case following the assassination of former President Anwar al-Sadat in 1982. After the trial, his activities as an Islamist shifted to defending Islamists in Egyptian courts. He adopted and promoted the peaceful approach to effecting change in Egypt, through reconciliation between Islamists and the Egyptian authorities.

Sara Nimis is the Mellon Globalization Forum Fellow. Her research and teaching deal with a broad range of contemporary topics, including Sufism (Islamic Mysticism), gender, sexuality and the body in Islam, Islamic environmental activism, the social and political history of Egypt, modernization and secularization in Egypt, Arabic language and literature and postcolonial literature.

Ahmed Fekry (the original translator) is a journalist on the Middle East Times and a graduate student at the American University in Cairo (AUC).

'Goes a long way towards explaining how complex things are among his undifferentiated 'Arabs', with an excellent introduction by Ibrahim M Abu-Rabi' - Guardian 'Provides western readers with critically important insights into the tensions between violent and non-violent factions within radical Islamist movements. No contemporay Islamic Studies collection can be considered complete or comprehensive without the inclusion of The Road to Al-Qaeda' - The Bookwatch 'Offers a unique, first hand account of the development of of the Islamist government since the 1970s. Widely read in the Arab world' - Middle East Journal
Preface by Ahmed Fekry and Sara Nimis
Introduction by Ibrahim Abu-Rabi
Notes on the English language edition by Ahmed Fekry and Sara Nimis
1. The Aristocrat as Fundamentalist
2. Aftermath of Sadat's Assassination
3. Afghanistan: Land of Jihad
4. Changes in Zawahiri's Ideology
5. The Ceasefire Initiative of the Gama'a Al-Islamiyya
6. Islamists Pay for the Zawahiri's Mistakes
7. Executing a Boy and Killing a Prominent Group Leader
8. The Struggle Continues
Published by Pluto Press in Jan 2004
Paperback ISBN: 9780745321752
eBook ISBN: 9781783716036

144 pages

125mm x 177mm