May 11 2011
Al-Qaeda matchmaker reveals how he was ordered to find a ‘pious, dutiful, and patient’ wife for bin Laden.
UK DAILY MAIL – In a phone call in September 1999, Rashad Mohammed Saeed Ismael claimed the terror chief laid out a list of requirements for his fifth bride. The preacher said he went on to make a match between Bin laden and a young Yemeni girl called Amal Ahmed al-Sadah. Just 17 at the time of the wedding, she has spent much of the past 11 years in hiding with her husband and was shot in the leg during the U.S. raid in Pakistan which resulted in her husband’s death.
Sheikh Rashad, who was one of Bin Laden’s closest aides and at that point based in Afghanistan, said the Al Qaeda leader had been very specific about his requirements for his fifth wife. ‘She must be pious, dutiful, young, well mannered, from a decent family, but above all patient. She will have to endure my exceptional circumstances,’ Rashad recounted to The Guardian.
After pre-marriage celebrations, Amal and her brother travelled to Pakistan and then on to Afghanistan where she finally met her future husband. They were married in Kandahar. In keeping with Yemeni tradition, all guests were male and a lamb was killed at the feet of the groom, who was then 44.
At first Amal, who was described as ‘shy and meek’, lived with Bin Laden’s other wives in the Taliban stronghold. Younger than his other spouses – and many of his sons – acquaintances claimed she was completely ‘out of place’.
After the September 11 attacks in 2001, she fled back to Yemen with her daughter Safiyah. In an interview with Saudi women’s magazine al-Majalla in 2002, she told how the family had been forced to shelter in the hills after the U.S. bombing of Afghanistan began.
She was eventually able to rejoin her husband and has told Pakistani interrogators that they had lived for the past five years in the same room in the compound where he died. Amal is now at the centre of an international tug of war with both the Americans demanding access to her.
Rashad, who is a supporter of Al Qaeda in Yemen, yesterday claimed the fate of Amal, her child and the rest of Bin Laden’s family is now more critical to Al Qaeda than his death.