0

Growing up bin Laden

Osama’s son writes about his life with the al Qaeda leader


 

An excerpt from Omar bin Laden’s book, Growing Up bin Laden: Osama’s Wife and Son Take Us Inside Their Secret World, offers a unique window into the personal life of the world’s most notorious terrorist. Osama bin Laden, Omar reveals, was an unusually devout child, known in his wealthy Saudi family for his uncanny ability to recite lengthy verses from the Koran. Still, says Omar, “like most children of divorced parents, [Osama] felt a loss.” That sense of loss apparently carried into adulthood. Though “composed” in public, and allegedly respectful to women, Osama was prone to beating his sons and insistent that his four wives and 20 children be kept as “virtual prisoners” in their Jeddah home. Firm in his belief that “Islamic beliefs are corrupted by modernization,” he forbid his wife from using a refrigerator (although gas stoves, it seems, were permitted) and required his sons to observe strict cycles of prayer. Omar’s own reflections on his father’s legacy reveal deeply conflicted feelings about the al Qaeda leader. “Although I cannot simply order my heart to stop loving my father, I do not agree with his behavior. There are times that I feel my heart swell with anger at his actions.” But things weren’t always that way, Omar adds. “My father was not always a man who hated. My father was not always a man hated by others. There was a time when many people spoke of my father with the highest accolades. History shows that he was once loved by many people.”

Vanity Fair


 
Filed under:

Sign in to comment.