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Osama’s American vacation

The al Qaeda leader reportedly visited the U.S. in 1979 and didn’t “hate” it


 

Osama bin Laden has never publicly acknowledged visiting the U.S., but it appears the al Qaeda leader did just that in 1979. Several accounts of the trip place bin Laden, along with his wife and sons, in Indiana, Los Angeles, and possibly Chicago during that year. In a soon-to-be-released book, bin Laden’s first wife, Najwa Bin Laden, writes that she and her husband “did not hate America, yet we did not love it.” Among her most lasting memories of her visit to the place her husband would eventually denounce as the “Great Satan” is of time spent waiting for the family’s flight at an Indiana airport, during which her “black Saudi costume” prompted confused stares from another passenger. While the incident led Najwa to conclude that “some Americans are unaware of other cultures,” she writes that she and Osama were “more amused than offended.”

The New Yorker


 
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