The 21st Century Phenomenon



Dr’ Abdullah  Azzam was born in 1941 in Seilat al Harithia, a small village in Jenin district in Palestine under the British mandate. In his teens Abdullah  Azzam learned agriculture in Khadorri, near Tul Karem, and worked afterwards as a teacher in South Jordan (what is now known as “The West Bank” was then a part of Jordanian Kingdom).


In 1966 Abdullah  Azzam obtained a B.A in Sharia (Islamic Law) studies from Damascus University in Syria.  After the Six Day war in 06/1967, when Israel occupied the West Bank, Abdullah  Azzam left to Jordan and joined the Muslims Brotherhood.

Abdullah  Azzam took part in military operations against Israel from the Jordan Valley but the secular and even the Marxist nature of the Palestinian resistance (PLO), at that time, repelled him.  Abdullah  Azzam began to advocate a pan Islamic war against Israel as an extension of the western influence in the Arab world.

In 1970 Abdullah  Azzam got his master degree in Cairo’s Islamic Al Azhar University and began to teach Sharia in Jordanian Amman University. In 09/1970, what the Palestinians call “Black September”, Abdullah  Azzam, as many other Palestinians, vas expelled from Jordan and moved to Egypt. In Egypt Abdullah  Azzam graduated as Ph.D in Islamic Law in 1973. In Cairo, Egypt, Abdullah  Azzam met figures like Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman, later the Imam of Al Farook Mosque in Brooklyn, New York, Ayman Al Zawahiri , later no’ 2 in Al Qaeda and other followers of Sayyid Qutb the mentor of the Muslims Brotherhood.

After his graduation Abdullah  Azzam took, in 1973, position as a lecturer in King Abdulaziz University in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia until 1979. Since Osama Bin Laden was a student in this university from 1976 it is logical to assume that they knew each other in that time. In the Hajj of 11/1979 a large group of pilgrims seized the grand Mosque in Mecca as a demonstration against the “corrupted” Saudi regime. After that event the Saudi Authority expelled Abdullah  Azzam, already known as an Islamic extremist, from the country.

Abdullah  Azzam traveled to Pakistan in the end of 1979 to take part in the Afghan Jihad against the Soviets that just invaded the country.  At first Abdullah  Azzam began in Pakistan to teach in the Islamic University in Islamabad and issued a Fatwah (an Islamic religious statement) saying that it is a personal duty of each Muslim in the world to fight Jihad against the infidels in Palestine and Afghanistan.

When the war in Afghanistan worsened Abdullah  Azzam moved to Peshawar, near the Afghan border east of Kabul, to help organize resistance, to evacuate wounded “Mujahidin” to hospitals in Pakistan and to facilitate the flow of Muslim volunteers from Pakistan to Afghanistan. In 1981 Abdullah  Azzam met Osama Bin Laden in Peshawar and after a while they opened together a travel agency for “Mujahidin”, the Maktab al-khidamat , that operated up to 1986.

Not like Osama Bin Laden, Abdullah  Azzam frequently joined Afghan militias personaly to fight the Soviets in Afghanistan. With the full support of the CIA, that was completely involved in the war against the Soviets in Afghanistan, Abdullah  Azzam traveled in the years 1986 – 1988 in Europe and over 50 cities in USA to preach Jihad, Pan Islam and to raise money for the war in Afghanistan. During his trips Abdullah  Azzam also visited Al Farook Mosque in New York.

In 1988, the last year of the war in Afghanistan, Osama Bin Laden and Dr’ Abdullah  Azzam established a new organization to help Arab volunteers. The purpose was to facilitate travel to the war in Afghanistan, to take care of their needs and to give them shelter and a place to rest between the battles – a base – in Arabic Al Qaeda .  After the war in 1989 Osama Bin Laden went back home to Saudi Arabia, Dr’ Abdullah  Azzam was killed with his two sons, Ibrahim and Mohammed, in a mysterious explosion near Peshawar, Pakistan on 11/24/1989.

Many described Abdullah  Azzam as “the Godfather of Jihad’.


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