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A decade following the 9/11 attacks, the objectives and motivations of Osama Bin Laden and Al-Qaeda remain largely unknown to the American public. Since the mission of Al-Qaeda is embedded in its interpretation of the history and traditions of Islam, increased analysis on the intellectual framework of Al-Qaeda provides valuable insight into this dangerous ideology that will remain a strategic threat to the United States for the foreseeable future. While more recent successes against the Al-Qaeda organization have encouraged talk of “the end of Al-Qaeda,” the broader ideology remains alive and well. The rise in support for the Islamist groups in Egypt and North Africa, increasing terrorist at-tacks in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and the escalating sectarian war in Syria all affirm the continued relevance of this topic and its interdisciplinary relationship with national security, global affairs, and international law. This thesis provides a brief primer of what the Islamist ideology stands for, its relationship to the Islamic religion, and how understanding this history can play a central role in assessing long-term American interests.