As the Afghanistan War raged onward, Pakistan imam and theologian Abdullah Azzam along with Saudi businessman Osama Bin Laden and Egyptian Islamic imam Ayman al-Zawahiri together form an organization in which will help recruit and fund Arabs worldwide and Afghans in their fight against the Soviet invaders. The Maktab al-Khidamat or Afghan Services Bureau would get hundreds of millions of dollars in funding from countries such as Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and even the United States. As the funding became proficient, the MAK offices began to spread into other countries, with its second largest base in the United States. In 1987, three men, Mustafa Shalabi, Fawaz Damra, and Ali Shinawy, formally file papers incorporating Al-Kifah, which is called the Al-Kifah Refugee Center.
At first, it is located inside the Al Farouq mosque. But eventually it will get it own office space next to the mosque. Shalabi, a naturalized citizen from Egypt, runs the office with two assistants: Mahmud Abouhalima and El Sayyid Nosair, Shalabi is also a close friend to Abdullah Azzam, and thus the Al-Kifah Center would provide a major source of funding for the Mujaheddin in the war. There would be many other offices opening up inside the United States, in cities such as, St.Louis, Tucson, Kansas City and New Jersey. Azzam himself would at times enter the United States on fund raising rallies by preaching at a number of mosques. The MAK itself was itself constructed as an institution which would serve as a recruitment and learning center at first, but would later become a center to institute a more nefarious agenda which was led by al-Zawahiri.
In 1991, Omar Abdel Rahman would enter the United States, he would be granted a temporary visa by the consul of the United States Embassy in Khartoum, Sudan, despite his name being listed on the U.S. State Department terrorist watch list. The CIA knew of this but did nothing to impede on his arrival inside the U.S. He would visit the Al Farooq Mosque in Brooklyn as well as the Masjid al-Salaam mosque in Jersey City, New Jersey, and would in quickly obtain a small following who listened to his fiery sermons and denouncements of the United States. Many of these followers would go on to participate in the 1993 WTC bombing. Nevertheless “The Blind Sheik” Omar Abdel Rahman would also raise funding for the Afghan Mujahedin whenever he preached at the number of mosques in NYC. This would be the beginning stages of a new and profound ideology which would be given its head start by none other than Abdullah Azzam…Defensive Jihad, the new Islamic call to arms and fight in a war that pertains to the spiritual as well as the physical. This ideology would replace the Pan Arabist nationalism which once dominated the Islamic spectrum in the Middle East and Southeast Asia.
On February 25th 1991, Mustafa Shalabi would be found murdered inside his home. His murder is suspected to be carried out by members of Rahman’s cell. Shalabi had fallen out of favor with the “Blind Sheikh” over how to appropriate the funds from the MAK office. Rahman began a campaign to slander Shalabi’s name in the neighborhood. Abdel-Rahman is said to have circulated a denunciation of Shalabi in early 1991 all in due part to a disagreement over whether funding should continue to help Afghans in their quest to rebuild the country or to use it to continue toe “jihad” against the United States. Rahman would now be the sole proprietor of the mosque, without interference. Ayman al-Zawahiri would also have a similar argument with Abdullah Azzam over what should be done with the continued funding. Azzam wanted to use the wealth it had generated, and the network it created to help install a pure Islamic government in post-war Afghanistan and opposed “fitna” among Muslims, including attacks against governments of Muslim countries.
Al-Zawahiri wanted to use MAK’s assets to fund a global jihad, including the overthrow of governments in Muslim countries deemed un-Islamic. In 1989 just months after the end of the Afghan-Soviet war, Abdullah Azzam would be killed along with two of his sons when his car driving over a bridge outfitted with explosives devices detonated, killing Azzam and his two sons immediately. No one was held responsible for the murder of Azzam, but it was suspected that it was either Osama Bin Laden, Israeli Mossad or the CIA. Just weeks later the MAK offices were now under the total control of Osama Bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri in Pakistan with the MAK office under the control of Rahman in Brooklyn. The terrorist campaign against the United States was just beginning.