Anybody who reads the news about the situation surrounding the children, grand-children, and wives of Al Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden, cannot help but feel deeply saddened by the fate of these innocents, particularly after the revelation that a number of them have been detained in Iran for years. This is something that deepens the tragedy surrounding this helpless family which has found itself dispersed as a result of Osama Bin Laden’s personal agenda. These children had no choice in this fate, for they grew up in an atmosphere of tension and fear, and pursuit [by the authorities]. Osama Bin Laden may have chosen his own path and fate, but these unfortunate members of his family did not choose a life of homelessness, panic, and relocation for themselves, rather this was imposed upon them, and they were not able to reject or object to this.
I feel as if the world completely understands the situation that Osama Bin Laden’s family found itself in, and the atmosphere that surrounded it, the difficulties it experienced, and the horrors that it faced. After all of this suffering, these children, grand-children, and wives, have the right to enjoy a stable and safe life, full of love and peace. Regardless of whether they are being detained in Iran or are guests, the time has come for them to regain their freedom and live like any other of Gods creations. There is a difference between Osama Bin Laden and his family, and it is not fair that this family should pay the price for Osama Bin Laden’s behavior; for what could a woman or child who finds themselves in the Tora Bora mountains do to change this grim reality?
Asharq Al-Awsat was the first newspaper to shed light on the presence of six of Osama Bin Laden’s children in Iran, with his daughter Iman being present in the Saudi Embassy in Iran. This story was reported by many news agencies after it was published [by Asharq Al-Awsat] last Wednesday. Prior to this, nobody knew the fate of these children who have been present in Iran since the US invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, and their mother, Najwa al-Ghanem, did not know whether her children were even alive or not during these long years.
Today, and after the location of Bin Laden’s children, grand-children, and one of his wives has become known, the time has come for this family to be reunited, and regain the life that was stolen from them, leaving behind the fear, displacement, and dispersion.