I have read this book. Was introduced to his brothers who head the Bin laden group in year 2000 in Riyadh and Dubai, a year before Sept 11.
The last word: Growing up bin Laden
In a new book, Osama bin Laden’s fourth son, Omar, describes a father who always put jihad above family
MY FATHER WAS not always a man who hated. My father was not always a man hated by others. History shows that he was once loved by many people. Despite our differences today, I am not ashamed to admit that, as a young boy growing up in Saudi Arabia and Sudan, I worshipped my father, whom I believed to be not only the most brilliant but also the tallest man in the world. I would have to go to Afghanistan as a teenager to meet a man taller than my father. In truth, I would have to go to Afghanistan to truly come to know my father.
Omar bin Laden. Photo: Corbis
My father was accustomed to being No. 1 in everything he did. He was the most skilled horseman, the fastest runner, the best driver, the top marksman. Many people found my father to be a genius, particularly when it came to mathematical skills. He was so well known for the skill that men would come to our home and ask him to match wits against a calculator. He never failed.
His phenomenal memory fascinated many who knew him. On occasion, he would entertain those who would ask by reciting the Koran word for word. He once confessed that he had mastered the feat during a time of great mental turmoil when he was 10 years old, after his biological father had been killed in an airplane accident.
My father’s piety made him strict about the way we lived. In the early 1980s, when we lived in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, one of the hottest cities in a country known for its hot climate, he would not allow my mother to turn on the air conditioning. Nor would he allow her to use the refrigerator. He announced: “Islamic beliefs are corrupted by modernization.” He appeared to relish seeing his young sons suffer, reminding us that it was good for us to know what it felt like to be hungry or thirsty, to do without while others had plenty. Why? Those with plenty would grow up weak men, he said, unable to defend themselves.