Bin Laden's Son Wants to Make Up for Father's 'Mistake'

The family resemblance is unmistakable. Omar bin Laden is his father's son. Look past the long braids, the manicure, the leather jacket and the designer jeans, and there's a bin Laden. No doubt.

We met in a Konovz café in Cairo, where Omar now lives with his English wife. They met while horseback riding in the shadow of Egypt's ancient pyramids. He is 26 years old. She's a 52-year-old grandmother.

But his private life is not the most unusual thing about bin Laden. What comes out of his mouth is, in turn, bizarre, shocking, heartfelt and insightful.

"My father is very kind man," he told me. "And he very sorry when he do something like 11th September."

If he's sorry, then why does Osama bin Laden order such atrocities?

"Because he believe if he put two buildings down, maybe some people, little will die," explained Omar. "But millions other will (be) save(d). He believe that."

Omar does not believe that.

"I believe he did it the wrong," he told me in the sometimes broken English he learned from his wife.

As a teenager, Omar was trained by his father in Afghanistan to become an al Qaeda fighter. He was there more than six years. He shared a house with Ayman al-Zawahiri, his father's right-hand man.

But Omar left in 2000 to see the world, he said, before deciding whether to follow his father's violent path. He believes his father might still be hiding in the lawless mountains where he enjoys the support of local people.

I asked Omar whether he would tell the Americans if he found out exactly where his father is living.

"Actually, I would hide him," he told me with a smile. "Because he is my father."

Father and son have not spoken in seven years. Yet the bond remains.

"I still love him, so much, with all my heart," he said.

In an effort to explain the unfathomable love of a child for a parent, Omar told me, "If you ask Bush daughter if she love [her] father, sure she will love him."

Now, Omar hopes to see his father again, to act as a mediator, to bring his father — the most wanted terrorist on Earth — to the negotiating table with President Bush.

"Because my name, because my history … I feel like I can help to make peace," Omar said. "The first step, I hope to meet President Bush."

He says he wants his father to talk rather than fight, and he wants Bush to listen to Osama bin Laden. Why? "Because he has the power to make war, and he has the power to stop it."

Eighteen months ago, Omar, who says he follows Islam and his heart, met and married his British wife.

"The first time I saw her, something tell me, 'maybe you will marry this woman,'" he said.

The couple is planning a horse race for peace across North Africa. Omar says he wants to make up for what he calls his father's "big mistake."

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