Ayman Al-Zawahiri

Article

August 14, 2022

Ayman Mohammed Rabie al-Zawahiri (Arabic: أيمن محمد ربيع الظواهري (ʾAyman Muḥammad Rabīʿ aẓ-Ẓawāhirī)), born on June 19, 1951 in Maadi (suburb of Cairo, Egypt) and died on July 20 (Afghanistan) by July 31 an American drone strike, was an Egyptian jihadist and the leader of the Al-Qaeda terrorist network from 2011 until his death. Son of a pharmacist, doctor by training and member of the Muslim Brotherhood, he first joined the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, in the fight against the power of Gamal Abdel Nasser. At the end of the 1980s, he broke with the Muslim Brotherhood and participated in the founding of the Salafist jihadist organization al-Qaeda. He then became the main ideologue of this terrorist network led by Osama bin Laden, often considered to be his number 2, of which he would have been the personal doctor (Bin Laden would have suffered from kidney complications, probably requiring dialysis). After the death of Osama bin Laden on May 2, 2011, he became the leader of al-Qaeda. He is known by a dozen different names: Abou Mohammed, Abou Fatima, Mohammed Ibrahim, Abou Abdallah, Abou al-Mu'iz, the Doctor, the Professor, Nour, Abou Mohammed Nour ad-Dîn, Abdel Mouaz (Abdel Moez, Abdel Mouez) and other pseudonyms.

Biography

Youth

Ayman Al-Zawahiri was born in Maadi, Egypt, a suburb of Cairo, into a religiously and politically influential family. On the paternal side, Ayman's great-uncle headed al-Azhar University (one of the main places of education in Sunni Islam), his maternal grandfather founded the religious university of King Saud in Saudi Arabia on behalf of the Wahhabi religious authorities and his maternal uncle, Abdul Rahman Azzam, served as secretary of the Arab League. He is a studious student. His family has been linked to the Muslim Brotherhood since the creation of the brotherhood in 1928. In 1966, at the age of 14, Ayman Al-Zawahiri in turn joined the Muslim Brotherhood, with the intention of overthrowing the regime of Gamal Abdel Nasser. He was then fascinated by the thinker Sayyid Qutb, who was sentenced to death and executed the same year. Entered the medical school of Cairo University, he graduated in medicine in 1974 and obtained his specialization in surgery in 1978. His father, Muhammad Rabi Al-Zawahiri, a renowned pharmacist, was himself a professor of pharmacology at the within the Cairo University School of Pharmacy. The hollow mark on his forehead is called a zabiba.

Egyptian Islamic Jihad

In 1970, Nasser died and Anouar el-Sadat succeeded him. The latter then freed many Islamist prisoners in order to counter the influence of the Nasserites. However, the Islamists rapidly increased their actions and two radical groups emerged: Gamaa al-Islamiya and the Egyptian Islamic Jihad. According to the journalists of Le Monde Christophe Ayad and Mouna Naïm: "Unlike the Gamaa Al-Islamiya, who intend to enforce Sharia by acting in broad daylight in society, Islamic Jihad aims to seize power from above, by infiltrating Al-Zawahiri's military circles meanwhile joined the Egyptian Islamic Jihad. In 1974, the group had about forty members. Al-Zawahiri then dresses in Western style and his family is unaware of his activities. The same year, he passed his medical degree and worked for three years as a surgeon in an Egyptian army base. In 1978, he married. In 1980, Ayman al-Zawahiri went to Pakistan and worked for four months in Peshawar on behalf of the Red Crescent to help Afghan refugees. In 1978, the signing of the Camp David agreements in Israel caused a break between Sadat and Islamist circles. On October 6, 1981, Egyptian President Anouar el-Sadat was assassinated.