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The Family Man

A new documentary shown in Canada has portrayed Osama bin Laden as a family man.

A documentary about a Canadian family closely linked to Osama bin Laden portrays the al Qaeda chief as a well-meaning family man who banned ice in drinks, loves volleyball and has trouble controlling his children.

The program, broadcast on Canada’s CBC television on Wednesday night, lifted the veil on the private life of the world’s most wanted man, accused of masterminding the Sept. 11, 2001, suicide attacks in the United States.

It included lengthy interviews with the widow and children of Ahmed Said Khadr, an Egyptian-born friend of bin Laden and an accused al Qaeda financier.

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Another son, 21-year-old Abdurahman Khadr, was released from Guantanamo Bay late last year and now lives in Toronto. In the documentary he described bin Laden as quite normal.

“He has issues with his wife, and he has issues with his kids, financial issues, you know, the kids aren’t listening, the kids aren’t doing this and that. It comes down to (the fact) he’s a father and he’s a person,” he said.

He has issues..full stop. As for being a “quite normal” person, that is extremely debatable.

Apparently bin Laden is into playing sports with his children. You know, regular things like volleyball, horse riding..and shooting.

Khadr’s 23-year-old daughter Zaynab said bin Laden — who attended her wedding in 1999 — was athletic.

“He loved playing volleyball. And he loved horse riding… Kids played around him…. And (when) they’d go shooting he’d go with them. If he missed his (shot), they’d laugh at him and stuff like that,” she said.

Nothing like bonding with your kids over a rifle.

But other than that, he is your regular father. Except for the occasional hangup.

Zaynab said bin Laden imposed many restrictions on his three wives and their children and banned the use of electricity in their part of the compound.

“He didn’t allow them to drink cold water … because he wanted them to be prepared (so that if) one day there’s no cold water, they’d be able to survive and it wouldn’t be so difficult for them,” she said.

Abdurahman recalled: “He was against using ice, and he actually forbade it (for) the people that lived around him … He didn’t want them to be spoiled.”

And of course, what would any story about an evil tyrant be without a reference to how he loves animals.

Abdurahman and Zaynab remembered the al Qaeda leader as a man who loved horses and camels — as did his children.

“Their father had promised them that he would get them a horse if they memorized the Koran. They were so anxious to finish memorizing it so that they could get a horse, which shows you that they’re normal children too,” said Abdurahman.

He’s a real poster boy for PETA. I am sure they do not have a problem with him since no animals were harmed during September 11. Actually, I take that back. I now seem to recall bin Laden not being particularly fond of dogs.

Of course, all of this sounds strikingly familar.

About the author

Picture of David Lange

David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media
Picture of David Lange

David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media
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