Growing Up bin Laden: Osama's Wife and Son Take Us Inside Their Secret World
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From the New York Times bestselling author of Princess: A True Story of Life Behind the Veil in Saudi Arabia
In their own words, Osama bin Laden's wife and son tell the astonishing story of the man they knew―or thought they knew―before September 11, 2001.
The world knows Osama bin Laden as the most wanted terrorist of our time. But people are not born terrorists, and bin Laden has carefully guarded the details of his private life―until now, when his first wife and fourth-born son break the silence to take us inside his strange and secret world. In spine-tingling detail, Jean Sasson tells their story of life with a man whose growing commitment to violent jihad led him to move his wives and children from an orderly life to one of extreme danger, even choosing the teenage Omar to accompany him to the mountain fortress of Tora Bora.
marriage for, 13–14, 41, 302 without modern conveniences, 43, 115, 125, 185–86 money from, 116 as mother, 41, 66, 282–83 mother of, 5–6, 13, 292 Omar and, 180–82, 260–61, 264–66, 270–71, 312 photographs for, 187 prayers by, 18 pre-engagement of, 12–13 protection for, 16–17 rebellion of, 31–32 reflection of, 191 religious study for, 17, 21, 22 return of, 267–68, 270–71, 274, 312 Sasson and, xiv, 289 second daughter of, 75 second son for, 25 seventh pregnancy of, 54–55 seventh son
been killed in a plane crash. Whatever the explanation for his rare gift, his champion performances made for many extraordinary moments. I have bad memories, along with the good. Most inexcusable in my mind is that we were kept as virtual prisoners in our home in Jeddah. There were many dangers lurking for those who had become involved in that increasingly complex quagmire that had begun with the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan two years before I was born. My father had become such an important
prison while waiting for a ruling. My brothers and I circled Sa’ad’s prostrate body. Not even the accident had silenced Sa’ad’s tongue; my brother was muttering and wailing. It was soon concluded that his injuries were probably not severe. We watched as an ambulance rushed Sa’ad off to the hospital while our driver ran home to tell our mother of the accident. We kids hung around to learn what might happen next. Much to the driver’s good fortune, the police captain left the incident to the bin
I remained at home with my daughters, Osama escorted my father to the most interesting sights in Khartoum, which I was told had a modern central city, although the outskirts were very simple. Most pleasant of all were the relaxing hours when my father sat with me and shared news of my mother, siblings, and other relatives living in Syria. I hoped that my dear father could return at least once a year for similar holidays. Yet within a short time of my father’s visit to Khartoum, I received the
The beautiful Adham was set to arrive in Khartoum as well. Lazaz, which most Muslims will recognize as the name of Prophet Mohammed’s horse, was a pure Arab stallion with a chestnut mane and tail with a contrasting white blaze and three white socks, on his left foreleg and both back legs. Lazaz was a proud stallion, not the sort of horse that encouraged casual play. His greatest joy was running with his harem of mares and any interruption was a challenge for his human handlers. I remember the