What I am about to say will probably be minimized if not dismissed by serious foreign policy wonks but here goes: according to his son, Osama’s final straw in deciding to wage war on America was not his ongoing feud with the Saudi royal family, but rather the presence of infidel female soldiers on Saudi and Muslim soil, brought there to protect Saudi men. Omar writes:
At the first sight of a capable-looking female soldier, my father became the most outspoken opponent of the royal decision to allow Western armies into the Kingdom, ranting, “Women! Defending Saudi men!” No insult could be worse. My father became frustrated to the point of declaring that he could not longer accept the pollution he claimed hung in the air above any non-Muslim.
So much for the Muslim, Islamist leader’s view of infidels and infidel women. (Think Lara Logan). And, if President Obama thinks that Osama rides alone, listen to how Muslim leaders are handling bin Laden’s assassination. According to Reuters, “Palestinian” Muslim-Islamist Hamas leader, Ismail Haniyeh, said: “We condemn the assassination and the killing of an Arab holy warrior. We regard this as a continuation of the American policy based on oppression and the shedding of Muslim and Arab blood.” According to counter-terrorism guru Steven Emerson, the Muslim Brotherhood’s Arabic website refers to bin Laden as a “shahid” (martyr); a popular jihadi website, the Network of World Jihad, states: “The lion Osama has died…I ask Allah to grant him the upper paradise and the company of the Prophet Mohammed and his honored companions the mujahideen.”
Have Ahmadinejad (Iran’s Muslim leader), Hamid Karzai (Afghanistan’s Muslim leader) or Asif Ali Zardari (Pakistan’s Muslim leader) praised the Americans for bringing this mass murderer to justice? Have any of the many non-state terrorist Islamists praised the Americans and condemned Osama in Arabic, Persian, Pushto, and Dari?
Back to the women: I understood that bin Laden, his father’s seventeenth son, was starved for his father’s attention and affection; he received neither. But, according to his son Omar and wife Najwa, Osama was a sadist towards his own wives and sons. He had driven fast and fancy cars and had flown in private planes but he did not allow his wives to have modern kitchen appliances or air conditioning (“modernization is corrupt”), not even in sweltering heat; he deprived his son Omar of his asthma medication; and he force-marched his sons in the desert for many hours without allowing them to drink any water. He routinely beat his sons, “caning” them for the “slightest infraction.” His sons were not allowed to look him in the eye, disagree with him about anything, laugh, or “show their teeth.” He sacrificed his sons to cruel, tyrannical religious teachers and to bullies.
Omar writes: “It is a miracle that none of us were beaten to death.”
Like many Muslim fathers, he treated his sons as his personal but favorite servants and expected them to wash his feet and serve him tea.
Such behavior is not that unusual for many Muslim fathers. Such paternal cruelty and coldness shames young sons and, paradoxically, leads them to long for their fathers’ affection and approval even more and to minimize paternal cruelty. In fact, President Obama himself may have been a victim of this phenomenon. Obama had a Muslim African father who was known for his woman-beating, polygamy, womanizing, and for his cruelty to children; this certainly includes his abandonment of his son Barack. Obama writes about this himself. Recently, Peter Firstbrook published a book about Obama’s African family: The Obamas: The Untold Story of an African Family.
Paradoxically, but also typically, Osama loved and trusted one woman only: his mother Allia. His son Omar described their mother-son relationship in this way: “He had enjoyed the most pure and loving mother-son rapport from the time he was born…Everyone in our close family circle knew that he loved his mother more than he loved his wives, his siblings, or his children…Anytime he spoke of or to his mother, a sort of glow came to his expression.” This, too, is typical of Arab and Muslim patriarchal psychology.
As noted, Omar and Najwa chose to leave Afghanistan before 9/11 and Osama allowed them to do so. Najwa sought no divorce and although his son Omar was “pained” he could no longer deny that “my father hated his enemies more than he loved his sons. That’s the moment that I felt myself the fool for wasting my life one moment longer.”
As others have noted, Osama bin Laden is history, but jihad is still upon us. Likewise, while bin Laden himself can no longer practice Islamic gender apartheid, the cultural system that shaped and empowered his barbarism towards women and children lives on. We must not forget that the war against Islamic extremism is one which has many forgotten faces and many underestimated fronts.
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