Al-Qaeda is a militant Islamist sect formed at an unspecified point in the late 1980s (probably 1988). Widely considered a terrorist organisation, it was responsible for the 9/11 attacks on New York City and Washington DC in 2001.
Methods favoured by Al-Qaeda include suicide bombings and simultaneous bombing of targets in different locations. Members may have taken a pledge to the elusive Osama Bin-Laden, or else be linked operatives who have undergone stringent training in Afghan, Iraqi or Sudanese camps.
Al-Qaeda reportedly believes that Islam is under threat from a Christian-Jewish alliance. They also believe that the deaths of civilians and innocents are justified in jihad.
The Brotherhood suspects Padma of being a member of Al-Qaeda (although she is in fact Hindu).