By IB Times Staff Reporter | May 6, 2011
Osama bin Laden chose his fifth wife Amal al-Sadah from Yemen, the land of his ancestors. She married the terror leader at the age of 17 and lived with him till his last day. She was with him in his final moments, either willingly trying to act as a human shield or pushed in front by her cowering husband.
But there is more to her than whether she was a willing human shield for Osama or not. When one pieces together various -- and varying -- accounts circulating in the media, a colorful character emerges.
Here is a sneak peek into the life and lineage, choices and beliefs, and destiny and trials of Asma Al -Sadah.
ARRIAGE TO BIN LADEN
The woman, who is 27 years old now, had reportedly married the terror ring leader when she was just 17. Britain's Daily Mail says her marriage to Bin Laden was reportedly arranged to strengthen the terrorist’s links with the Gulf state.
International Channel Watch News says her marriage to Bin Laden was arranged by a prominent Al Qaeda leader in Yemen called Sheikh Mohammed Rashed Saeed Ismail. Ismail, whose brother is in U.S. custody in Guantanamo Bay, reportedly said in 2008 that Amal was one of his students. “I am a matchmaker (marriage) Osama with his wife, Amal al-hard, which is one of my students,” he has reportedly told the Yemen Post.
Ismali zeroed in on Amal, who was from a town called Ibb in southwestern Yemen. According to a Sunday Times report last year, Amal was the daughter of a civil servant. “Coming from a modest Yemeni family, she could live with him the tough life in mountain caves and be someone he could mould. She was also someone who did not mind marrying a man as old as her father, and truly believed that being a dutiful and obedient wife to her husband would grant her a place in heaven,” The Times quoted Ismail.
HOW WERE AMAL'S PARENTS CONVINCED LADEN WAS A SUITABLE BRIDEGROOM?
The task of convincing the parents of Amal that Bin Laden was a suitable bridegroom lay on Ismail too. He told the parents that Bin Laden was looking for a wife and that the bridegroom was "famous and known for his piousness, humbleness, religion, strong belief, generosity and goodness. I told them that he would be a good husband for your daughter.”
LONG ROAD TO BIN LADEN'S HEART
The teenage girl, who Ismail says was very religious, was taken out of Yemen and brought to Pakistan. She stayed a few days in a guest house in Karachi before being taken to Quetta and from there to Kandahar in Afghanistan where bin Laden was stationed 11 years ago. Osama was 43 years when he married her.
"The wedding ceremony in the grounds of a compound was conducted by Mustafa Abu al-Yazid, Al-Qaeda’s then chief financial officer, better known as Sheikh Saeed al-Masri," the Times report says.
“Even at a young age, she (Amal) is very religious and believe in the things that Osama, a man who is very religious and pious-believe,” according to Ismail.
Ismail has reportedly said Amal was briefed about the life in store for her once she marries Bin Laden. He had reportedly told her that Laden had abandoned his fortunes and wealth to fight jihad and that he was sometimes living in caves, fearing for his life.
The report says that one of Bin Laden's body guards arranged for giving a dowry of $5,000 to the bride's family. The marriage was not attended by Amal herself, in keeping with the Sunni tradition.
CHILD WITH LADEN
Amal gifted Bin Laden with a child a few days after he took the lives of 3,000 people by attacking the twin towers of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. The female child was named Safiya. Bin Laden reportedly said the name was inspired by a person that killed a Jewish spy during the Prophet's time. Bin Laden hoped his child will kill "the enemies of Islam".
There hasn't been conclusive proof on whether Amal and Bin Laden have more children. However, it is more or less clearly established that the terror mastermind has at least 20 children from five wives.
LIFE AFTER 9/11
Most of Bin Laden's wives and children were scattered by the time the terrorist leader had put together the fiercest attack of his career, the 9/11 attacks. One of the wives was in Syria, two in Saudi Arabia - which had scrapped Bin Laden's citizenship -- and another was living in Iran.
However, Amal stood by his side all along, and was with him during the last ten years when Bin Laden was the most wanted criminal in the world. And this meant that she was not much in touch with her family back in Yemen. "After 9/11 she was able to contact her mother and family occasionally but since 2003 there have been no further communications,” according to Ismail.
DIPLOMATIC FIGHT BETWEEN US AND PAKISTAN
Now, a new diplomatic fight has broken out between the U.S. and Pakistan over the custody of Amal al Sadah. According to media reports, Pakistan turned down the American demand to interrogate her and even rejected the U.S. request to see her in a military hospital in Rawalpindi where she was being treated. The navy SEALs had shot her in the leg while she was apparently pushed in front by her husband on seeing the commandos.