Growing Up Bin Laden: Osama’s Wife and Son Take Us Inside Their Secret World


Status : Read from November 04, 2014 to January 14, 2015
Format : Paperback
My rating: 4 of 5
Author: Jean Sasson

Osama’s first wife Najwa bin laden and fourth son Omar bin laden, through this book, gives the insider’s account to the secretive life of world’s most wanted man,the al-Qaeda leader , as a son, father and husband and their family life around him.

A fascinating real life story, where father and son have made different choices. Osama, a fun loving boy, turns to a most sought-after terrorist. Omar, raised in world of violence, longs for peace. Father prays for war, and Son prays for peace.

The story begins:

People are not born terrorists. Nor do they become terrorists in a single stroke. But step by step, like a farmer preparing a field for planting, their lives unfolds in a pattern that leaves them prepared to receive the seed of terrorism. And so it was with Osama bin Laden. And the man, men, and events that planted that seed faded away. But the seed grew and the terrorist walked. And the man before, became the terrorist thereafter.
Najwa Ghanem bin Laden knows only the man. The West knows only the terrorist.

Here is the story of a woman, who loves and prays her husband beyond limits and dedicates herself entirely to her children and to her husband despite her fear and suffering. Leaves her home at Syria, to accompany her husband for a luxurious life in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Then moves with her husband to live a middle class life in Khartoum, Sudan. And finally moves to live a hard life full of suffering in the midst of the rocky mountains of Tora bora in Afghanistan moving from Jalalabad to Kandahar. Her children deprived of normal childhood and medical care and she having no access to modern conveniences of heater in winters or refrigerator or cooler in summer.

It would appear, Osama was a loving husband to his wives and devoted father to his children in the early years. But after he joins Mujahideen and gets his first taste of ways of war, his passion for jihad keeps growing. After the Saudi Govt. takes away his Saudi citizenship under the pressure of American’s, his passion for Jihad, the holy war of Muslim, grows even more. During this phase, he starts forming his group called the al-Qaeda, whose objective is to force the entire world to convert to Islam through Jihad.

In the words of Omar bin laden:

My father hated his enemies more than he loved his family.

To make his family war ready, Osama trained his family members, including his wives and little children to sleep in the grave, used to take the boys for trekking to high mountains in hot sun without arrangements of water. His passion for Jihad was so much, that he even asked his sons to volunteer their names for suicide bombers. As a small boy, Omar longed for his father’s love. But as he grew up in the midst of violence, his thirst of love from father turned into his hatred for his cruel and evil father. He starts making plan to escape from Afghanistan away from his father’s reach. Tries to convince her mother, Najwa to leave Osama and return to Syria to her parents with her little children.

As their lives spiral around the misery and hardships in Afghanistan, Omar escapes from his father and shortly before 9/11 attack, Osama agrees with Najwa’s request to let her go to stay with her parents in Syria.

In author, Jean Sasson’s words:

Osama bin Laden failed to produce a single son who embraced his belief that violence is the answer to disagreements between governments or individuals.


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