Al-Qaeda, each and every one of them

I continue to notice that every time any individual is accused of terrorist like actions, they are said to have Al-Qaeda connections. This makes me wonder, which of the following conclusions is correct: in order to be a terrorist one must obtain their Al-Qaeda membership card, we only care about Al-Qaeda terrorists or we want to blame all terrorism on Al-Qaeda to give it a face. Al-Qaeda, the real world equivalent to Command & Conquer: General's GLA.

I guess the point is that not everything Al-Qaeda is evil (at least the larks aren't) and I don't buy that everything terrorist is Al-Qaeda.