Antecedents of 9/11
Who was responsible for the 9/11 attacks and why did they attack the United States?
The terrorist organization al-Qaeda was responsible for the 9/11 attacks. Founded by Osama bin Laden, al-Qaeda is responsible for multiple terrorist attacks since its founding in the 1980s. Their aim has been to overthrow governments in the Middle East, and elsewhere in the Muslim world, which does not strictly enforce a narrow, fundamentalist version of Islam. U.S. support for these governments was viewed by al-Qaeda as a major obstacle to this goal, and they hoped these attacks would weaken American support for these governments. Al-Qaeda represents only a tiny fraction of the world’s Muslim community.
These primary resources include speeches, executive orders, legislative acts and debates, and government reports.
Suggested Reading List
The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11
Lawrence Wright. Alfred A. Knopf, 2006
The 9/11 Commission Report
National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States. W.W. Norton, 2004
Scott-Clark and Levy. Bloomsbury, 2017
Osama Bin Laden
Michael Schuer. Oxford University Press, 2011
Through Our Enemies’ Eyes: Osama bin Laden, Radical Islam, and the Future of America
Michael Scheuer. Potomac Books, Inc., 2006
Holy War Inc.: Insider the Secret World of Osama bin Laden
Peter L. Bergen. The Free Press, 2001
Anatomy of Terror: From the Death of bin Laden to the Rise of the Islamic State
Ali Soufan. W.W. Norton, 2017
These related resources include lesson plans, past public programs, and feature galleries on Inside the Collection.