Inside Osama bin Laden's Harem of Six Wives
On May 12, 2011 At 4:39 am
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The Interior Minister of Pakistan Rehman Malik told CNN on Tuesday that Pakistan will allow U.S. officials "direct access" to three of Osama bin Laden's widows, the ones who were with him when he was shot dead by U.S. Navy Seals. The phrase "direct access" is interpreted to mean that U.S. officials will be allowed to interview the women.
The youngest of Osama bin Laden's wives, Amal Ahmed Abdulfattah, received a gunshot wound during the attack in which bin Laden was killed when she allegedly tried to protect her husband from his attackers.
According to the Daily Beast Osama bin Laden's wives who have remained with him are now considered prime intelligence assets because it is believed that they might be able to provide information on who in Pakistan knew of their presence at Abbottabad. According to reports his youngest wife Amal Ahmed Abdulfattah has already told Pakistani interrogators that the family had been living in Abbottabad for five years having moved to Abbottabad from a nearby village they had stayed for two and a half years.
The three wives living with Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad have been tentatively identified as Amal Ahmed Abdul fattah (his youngest wife), Khariah Sabar (a.k.a Umm Hamza) and Siham Sabar (a.k.a Umm Khaled).
Osama bin Laden married six women in his life but is estranged from his first wife Najwa Ghanem, and divorced from the second Khadija Sharif (a.k.a umm Ali). His fifth wife whom he married in 1994 while living in Khartoum, and from whom he is also divorced remains a mystery figure. The marriage was annulled within 48 hours and was never consummated. Information about the woman and her identity is unavailable because Bin Laden's aides refuse to talk about her.
Osama bin Laden married his first wife Najwa Ghanem in 1974, when he was still a teenager. According to those who know her, she was a meek, submissive and highly religious woman who seemed to everyone always pregnant. She bore Osama bin Laden 11 children. Najwal was less well educated than the other wives. While the couple lived in Khartoum they had a tumultuous relationship and when Bin Laden left Sudan for Afghanistan, in 1996, she went with him. But she soon despaired of her unsettled and austere life with Bin Laden and left him in 2001, returning to Syria with her son Abdel Rahman said to be developmentally retarded. Najwa and Omar Bin Laden (one of Bin Laden's sons) co-authored Growing Up Bin Laden with Jean Sasson. Najwa is described as a generally friendly and house-proud woman who loves Western cosmetics and lingerie.
Osama bin Laden married a second wife Khadija Sharif (a.k.a umm Ali) in 1983. According to Wisal al-Turabi, wife of a Sudanese official who became acquainted with the family while they lived in Khartoum, Bin Laden married his second, third and fourth wives on the Islamic injunction that Muslim men have a duty to marry ageing spinsters who were at risk of remaining unmarried for life. Khadija Sharif was nine years older than Bin Laden and was a professional teacher of Islam. She bore Bin Laden three children. She divorced Bin Laden when she found her austere life with Bin Laden more than she could cope with. She asked Bin Laden for divorce which he granted while the family lived in Khartoum. Bin Laden is said to have been deeply hurt by the divorce for he had sworn never to divorce any of his wives.
Osama bin Laden's third wife Khairiah Sabar (a.k.a. Umm Hamza) is a professor of Child Psychology from a distinguished and wealthy family that had opposed her marriage to Bin Laden. But the woman said to be seven years older than Bin Laden had wanted to marry a true Mujaheed (i.e. holy warrior). Khairiah might be considered Osama bin Laden's soul mate because of her ideological commitment to the jihad though she is said to be a frail woman with bad eyesight who frequently miscarried just managing to bear Bin Laden one son named Hamza. In-spite of her delicate physical constitution she traveled with Bin Laden to Sudan and later Afghanistan. She was the best known of Bin Laden's wives in the Al Qaeda community and she was with him when he was killed in Abbottabad.
Bin Laden's fourth wife Siham Sabar (a.k.a Umm Khaled) was also with him at Abbottabad. She is a professor of Arabic language and described as a quiet woman who married Bin Laden in 1987. She bore Bin Laden three daughters and one son.
Osama bin Laden's youngest wife Amal Ahmed Abdulfattah (a.k.a Amal al-Sabah) was the wife alleged to have been shot while trying to protect her husband during the U.S. Navy Seal raid in which he was killed. She married Osama bin Laden in 2000, a match that analysts consider a political match intended to cement ties between Bin Laden and Yemeni tribes loyal to him. Bin Laden paid a bride price of $5000 for the girl who was said to have been brought from her Yemeni hometown of Ibb as suitable wife, being a religious and spiritual girl committed to the Jihad and thought by matchmakers to be well adapted to the type of austere lifestyle Bin Laden lived. She is believed to have been about 14 years old when she married Bin Laden, though she might have been older, for her age is disputed. She bore Bin Laden a daughter called Safia whom reports say saw Bin Laden shot dead by U.S. special forces.
However, the picture of Bin Laden as an oriental Sultan enjoying the indulgence of harem luxury is not accurate, for he lacked the luxury to authenticate such exotic picture of his private life.