Not like father, like son: Bin laden encouraged his children to move to the West
Slain al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden encouraged his children “to not follow him down the road to jihad” but move to the West to live peacefully.
Zakaria al-Sadah, the brother of bin Laden’s Yemeni fifth wife Amal, told Britain’s Sunday Times that the Saudi-born extremist rejected the “like father, like son” view and told his children and grandchildren “to go to Europe and America and get a good education.”
A U.S. navy SEAL team assassinated bin Laden in May 2011 in a raid on his compound in Pakistan.
Despite bin Laden’s preaching on the corrupt values of the West, Sadah said he told his children “you have to study, live in peace and don’t do what I am doing or what I have done.”
Sadah said he saw his sister in November last year after she was shot in the knee trying to protect her husband during the raid.
He told The Sunday Times, Amal and two other of bin Laden’s wives, along with nine of his children and grandchildren have been held for months in an apartment in Islamabad guarded by Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).
According to Sadah, the children were left traumatized after experiencing the raid in which bin Laden was killed.
“These children have seen their father killed and they need a caring environment, not a prison – whatever you think of their father and what he has done,” he said.
Twenty nine-year-old Amal, the youngest of the three wives, was reportedly given the opportunity to leave her marriage years earlier, but chose instead to be “martyred” by her husband’s side, telling her relatives that she wanted “to go down in history.”
A Pakistani commission currently investigating the U.S. raid said they have lifted travel restrictions on bin Laden’s family but according to Sadah they are still not allowed to leave the country.
Not long after his death, a Kuwaiti newspaper published a four-page document that was bin Laden’s last message to his wives and children.
The document was a will, dated December 14, 2001, months after the 9/11 attacks that made him the most wanted man in the world.
In it, bin Laden apologized to his children for his absence in their lives, “You, my children, I apologize for giving you so little of my time because I responded to the need for jihad,” he wrote.
He also instructed his offspring not to join al-Qaeda and used precedents from Islamic texts as justification for forbidding his children to engage in “holy warfare.”
In the will, bin Laden also left a message for his wives: “Don’t consider marrying again, and devote yourselves to your children and guide them to the right path.”
He signed the document “Your brother Abu Abdullah Osama Muhammad Bin Laden.”
Under Islamic law, a man may have up to four wives at one time. Bin Laden married six timers, but divorced his second wife in the 1990s and annulled the fifth marriage within 48 hours.
(Written by Sara Ghasemilee)