New York, Oct.12 (ANI): After years of hiding and social oztracisation, the wife and son of Al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden have come out with a no-holes barred book that reveals quite candidly the harsh life the family led under the gaze and zealous Islamic authority of the terror kingpin.
According to the New York Post, Osama bin Laden's first wife, Najwa and fourth son Omar reveal in the forthcoming book titled "Growing Up bin Laden" how on one night in Khartoum, Sudan, bin Laden decided to take his family-four wives, 14 children-on a camping trip.
They said he drove into the desert, found an isolated spot, made his oldest sons dig ditches in the sand, long enough to fit each person, and told them to be be gallant and not think about foxes or snakes, as he was of the view that there was a war coming between Muslims and the Western infidels, and this was a form of training for greater hardships.
"You must " he says. "Challenging trials are coming to us. Each child, including a few 1- and 2-year-olds, lies in a hollow. There is no water or food. As night falls, a child's voice whispers in the darkness, "I'm cold."
"Cover yourself with dirt or grass," bin Laden snaps. "You will be warm under what nature provides."
Najwa, doesn't like that idea, but, "I reminded myself that my husband knew much more about the big world than any of us. We were all pearls to my husband, and he wanted to protect us."
Najwa, who remains married to the monster, but now lives apart from him in an undisclosed Middle Eastern location, with her fourth son-of 11 children-Omar.
Najwa says that "It's a world where women are never allowed outside the house, 12-year-old daughters are married off to 30-year-old al Qaeda fighters, pet dogs are used for target practice and the biggest household fight is over whether Islam allows refrigerators."
She neither defends nor lashes out at Osama, as she says that terrorism is what he does for a living, and that all she needs to do is worry about keeping his house in order.
The book reveals a terrorist leader who is embarrassed easily, obsessed with a long-dead father, terrified of women, and who thinks of his children as nothing more than cannon fodder.
Najwa grew up a rebel in the port city of Latakia in Syria. She refused to hide her hair and wore colorful dresses that didn't cover her face or arms. She attended school, played tennis and was a fledgling artist who painted portraits and landscapes.
She met her first cousin Osama, the nine-year-old son of her father's sister, when she was just seven.
"He was such a serious, conscientious boy," she writes. "He was proud, but not arrogant. He was delicate, but not weak. He was grave, but not severe."
He was also "shyer than a virgin under the veil."
Osama was the son of Mohammed bin Laden, a construction kingpin and one of the wealthiest men in Saudi Arabia. He had the habit of calling his sons for inspection, then whipping them with a cane if they did not line up exactly by height.
Though conservative in most other ways, Mohammed delighted in having his wives remove their veils, then asking his nervous servants to pick the most beautiful one. Osama's mother, tired of these shenanigans, divorced him.sama had a one-on-one conversation with his father only once. At age 9, he decided he would like a car. Escorted by his stepfather, he petitioned Mohammed.
"I will not give you a car. I will give you a bicycle," the father replied. Osama went home crushed and gave the bike to a younger brother.
Then, as Osama recounted to his son Omar years later in the Tora Bora mountains of Afghanistan, "one day several weeks later I received the biggest shock of my life. A shiny new car was delivered. For me! That was the happiest day of my young life."
Soon after, Mohammed was killed in a plane crash, an event Omar believes left deep scars.
Osama concentrated on religious schooling, becoming more conservative by the year. His way of flirting was by saving the best grapes from Najwa's backyard for her.
Their wedding in 1974 -- she was 15, he was 17 -- was a telling precursor to a joyless marriage. Dancing, joking and laughing were forbidden at the nuptials.
They immediately departed for Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, where she was forced to wear the "dreaded veil" and full-length black robes. Her schooling was discontinued, tennis lessons canceled, her artwork forgotten.
Najwa was almost perpetually pregnant, as Osama said it was important to make many warriors for Islam.
She lived a life in purdah,where females socialize only with members of their family. In nearly 30 years of marriage, she left the confines of her home only to visit relatives and to move to a different house.
Air conditioning, televisions, phones were all banned. Toys given as gifts to the children were destroyed.
Omar's asthma was treated with honeycombs and onions, since modern medicine wasn't allowed. Everything the family ate had to be bought the same day, since refrigerators were out of the question.
Bin Laden took three more wives-one picked by Najwa, though she admits that "few women dance with joy when they contemplate sharing their husband with other women."
In 1979, the couple visited America. Bin Laden went to see Abdullah Azzam, a teacher and mentor of bin Laden who preached about jihad in Los Angeles, while Najwa stayed in Indianapolis with a family friend.
She recalls how a man stared at her black Saudi robes, veil and head scarf as they waited for a return flight to Saudi Arabia at the airport.
Najwa says Americans were kind and friendly, but the country was not to her conservative tastes. "My husband and I did not hate America, yet we did not love it," she writes.
Bin Laden became a hero in Saudi Arabia because he fought the Russians in Afghanistan. But he began to clash with the royal family after they ignored his offers of military aid and instead let Americans liberate Kuwait in 1991.
The final straw, Omar writes, was when his father saw female American troops on his soil.
"Women! Defending Saudi men!" he cried.
Under pressure from the king, Osama went into a self-imposed exile in the Sudan.
Najwa and Omar describe two Osamas here. One happily tends his garden, delighting in sunflowers. The other walks with a Kalashnikov and a cane, wielded if any of his sons showed their eye teeth while smiling.
One is so embarrassed when his boat goes out of control that he slips into the water so no one can see him. The other rants into a Dictaphone, spouting epithets about America and Israel, pausing only to listen to his favorite station-the BBC-on a small radio.
One is a legend who has radicals visiting "to breathe the same air." The other is a wounded man, secretly blinded in his right eye by a flying chunk of metal in his youth, who trained himself to use his left hand rather than being seen as weak by a culture that rejected the disabled, Omar says.
Pets met horrible ends. A monkey the children loved was run over by one of Osama's men. Bin Laden had told him that "the monkey was not a monkey at all, but was a Jewish person turned into a monkey by the hand of God."
A litter of puppies the boys adopted was gassed by al Qaeda fighters to see how long it would take them to die.
Finally, under pressure from the royal family and after assassination attempts, Sudan kicked Osama out. (ANI)